Able-Bodied Andrew Checks His Privilege

One of the benefits of the apartment complex
in which I reside is a private parking lot with my own assigned space. Recently, the lot was resurfaced so my neighbors
and I had to park on the street for a couple days. I got home late one of those nights but managed
to find an open spot not too terribly far down the road. The next morning, I walked out to my car and
was greeted with a parking citation. Why? Because this is where I parked. That, I learned, is what’s called a sidewalk
access ramp and parking in front of one is a violation of California Vehicle Code 22500(L)
which carries a fine of $302.50. Yeah. Ouch. So why did I park in front of a sidewalk access
ramp? Was it so dark I couldn’t see it? Nope. In fact, there’s a streetlight right above
it. I’ve lived here for a few years now and
often go on runs around the neighborhood so I’ve passed this little dip in the curb
many, many times. I knew it was there; I just didn’t recognize
it for what it was and as such, didn’t realize I shouldn’t park there. In fact, on my runs, I’d occasionally find
myself ideally wondering, “What is that? Why’s it there? It doesn’t go anywhere. It leads into a brick wall. Did it used to be a driveway or something? It’s far too narrow. Hmm. Oh well. Dum de do be do!” Which is pretty embarrassing because it should
have immediately occurred to me that “Oh, well, obviously that’s for people who can’t
step up onto the curb as easily as I can. Duh.” Luckily, in addition to being able-bodied
to the point that I initially failed to conceive of what a sidewalk access ramp is for, I’m
also privileged enough to be in a financial position where a $300 fine won’t ruin me. Oh, I’ll have to rework my budget a bit
and I won’t be able to buy new workout shoes for a while – which is unfortunate because…
yeesh! – but I’ll still be able to make rent and stock my fridge with food. I shouldn’t have parked in front of a sidewalk
access ramp and not recognizing one as such is no excuse. Lesson learned. That said, I still appealed the citation because… $300? Seriously?! As I said, it’s not going to ruin me but
it’s still greatly disruptive and, in my ever so humble opinion, completely unfair. I explained in my appeal that there is no
sign indicating that one should not park there and it is the only sidewalk access ramp in
my entire neighborhood that is completely unmarked. The rest of them have textured, yellow-painted
ramps that clearly communicate “don’t park here.” Perhaps that’s why this particular sidewalk
access ramp has someone parked in front of it all the time. All. The. Time. I explained why I parked on the street that
night and that I was only parked there from about 11 in the evening until 9:30 the following
morning. I explained that I understood I was in the
wrong and that I was happy to pay a fine but $300, while not ruinous, was a financial burden
and not a reasonable fine amount for what I did. Think about it. What are the potential consequences of parking
in front of a sidewalk access ramp on a wide, dead-end residential street? Well, a differently-abled person could have
been out for a morning constitutional and had to travel an additional 35 paces in the
street in order to reach the driveway on either side of that sidewalk access ramp. I mean, yeah, people who can’t easily step
up onto curbs shouldn’t have to walk 35 paces down the street to the next driveway
just because my dumb ass was blocking the ramp so… yeah, shame on me. I agree there should be a consequence but
again… $300? Now think about the potential consequences
of parking in a fire lane or in front of a hydrant. The time emergency services spends moving
my vehicle is time it’s not spending servicing an emergency. And if the fire department needs to access
a fire hydrant it’s probably because something’s on fire so blocking it at the wrong time could
easily result in greater property damage and possibly even the deaths of one or more people! And yet, the fine for blocking a hydrant is
only $77.50. Parking in a fire lane is even cheaper at
$52.50. Hell, parking in a fire station driveway,
blocking the fire trucks that need to leave to go put out fires and stuff is also only
$52.50! So surely $302.50 is an unreasonable fine
amount for inconveniencing a pedestrian, an action that couldn’t predictably result
in destruction and death. I explained all this but the city of San Diego
immediately said no and the speed of its response coupled with the fact that it didn’t address
or even reference any of the points I raised in my appeal makes me feel like they didn’t
even read it. And that hurts. It cuts deep. Again, I don’t mind paying a fine; I should
pay a fine. I was in the wrong and my ignorance is no
excuse but $300 is completely absurd and instead of being a teaching moment, this citation
makes me pissy and indignant which is why I wrote what I did on the check I sent to
the city treasurer. Childish? Absolutely. Does that mean I’m going to park in a red
zone next time I can’t find anywhere else to park on the street. …no. But I’m certainly going to think about it. So take my $300, San Diego. Take it and put it… to good use. If I may be so bold as to offer a suggestion,
consider picking up one of these self-adhesive, yellow dome sheets and applying it to this
sidewalk access ramp. Not just so it matches all the other sidewalk
access ramps in my neighborhood, not just so it complies with the standards set by the
Americans with Disabilities Act, and not just so it’s more obvious to super thick numbskulls
like myself to not park in front of it, but so that it’s more visible to those who actually
need to use it. Not everyone’s eyesight is perfect after
all and besides… that self-adhesive sheet is only $190 so with my $300, you can definitely
afford it.

12 thoughts on “Able-Bodied Andrew Checks His Privilege

  • A couple things:

    1. This is a re-upload that fixes an editing error where one of the masks used to obscure a license plate drifted out of place. Thanks to DejaVoodeux for calling it to my attention!

    2. I've been sitting on the script for this video for a little over a year now. The reason I didn't produce it until now is because the parking citation happened at the same time I started my Patreon to help offset the sudden $100 per month increase in my rent and it felt wrong to follow that up with a video noting I just took an additional hit to my pocketbook.

    3. The California Vehicle Code for "Fire Station Driveway" is actually for parking "within 15 feet of the driveway entrance to a fire station" not necessarily parking in the driveway itself but San Diego Municipal Code 86.0113 also fines you $52.50 for parking in a private driveway so I left the script the way it was.

    4. I have since purchased new workout shoes!

  • And inelegant solution but here are the comments from the previous upload of this video:

    Jonn McNally
    Love this! No leniency at all by San Diego is ludicrous, you are right to be miffed. This is an insult to Academia! This is entrapment if they don't make it more obvious that you can't park there, especially since so many other people park there. It's a trap!

    That ramp is so small, who would even need to use it? It doesn't look like a wheelchair could even use it without flubbing up and getting a wheel stuck or falling over, or at all. You are definitely not being treated with the same respect you showed them.

    0:28 Andrews black box runs away

    wow $302
    ▼Andrew Eisen
    And 50 cents!

    Wow that's some Grade A BS. How does one even determine what amount these should cost?

    The real question is, how much do they make per month from this one alone? Extra whale tax. Maybe they can't afford to have it lower (or properly mark the spot).
    ▼Andrew Eisen
    I'll admit, there's a cynical side of me that suggests this ramp is purposefully unmarked and will forever remain that way for the citation revenue.

  • Sadly chances are they have it unmarked is specifically to catch people so they can dole out tickets. They then can use the other access ramps that are marked as a way to say "oh sorry we missed one" if ever confronted by someone in a high position.

  • Yeowch, that's a ridiculous cost. I really wonder how it came to be that way – intense lobbying from disabled groups perhaps?

    Rant warning: These types of fines always bother me, regardless of the exact price point. If you're rich enough, you don't even notice the cost. But if you're too poor to pay it right away, you have to take out a payday loan to pay it (making you liable for interest) or put off paying it until you're called into court to explain why, and then have to take a day off of work for that. So it's a punishment that very disproportionately hurts poor people, but what's new there? I really wish they'd go with the option of making all fines be a set fraction of your annual income. Although this still tends to disproportionately affect the poor, who have thinner cushions, it's not nearly as bad.

    Okay, rant over. Resume your regularly-scheduled Andrewing.

  • Well the chances of fire hydrant being used are next to none, while sidewalk access can be used pretty frequently. Also they will probably ram your car the fuck out if it's any serious emergencies and its blocking access, while grandpa in wheelchair will just yell at clouds. $300 is still pretty steep.
    Do a Dark Souls playthrough next month or when thats coming out I'll donate just to see baddie nintendo fan raging 😛

  • I feel like you got royally screwed there. Like, it's an outrageous fine, you clearly weren't trying to knowingly break the law, It doesn't seem like your appeal was even read, the ramp isn't even properly marked so other people are making the same mistake you are (have you possibly considered making a big stink on the ramp not being marked? Like if they wanna be anal about that ramp… Probably a complete waste of time, but maybe it can at least be properly marked so that something like this can be prevented in the future… ), and you weren't even trying to fight the ticket itself, just the amount…

    A quick look on Google and it appears that the fine in Florida would be about $100 though it may vary depending on the county. That's still kinda a lot, but better than California!

  • I'm trying to figure out why there's just a random ramp into the road there when there's no crosswalk or anything to go along with it. What is the point of placing that there? "Here you go blind people, enter the road here and get run over by traffic!" Is that what they were thinking? I don't get it!

  • And yeah, $300 compared to $50 for far greater offenses, is blatantly because they know less people will park in front of a hydrant or in a fire lane because they're clearly marked, whereas this ramp isn't marked at all. Thus people park there all the time and they're milking those they catch for as much as possible. As Admiral Ackbar would say, it's a trap.

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