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New 311 app feature allows users to report double-parkers

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A new feature on the 311 app allows users to report double-parked cars and other vehicle obstructions. (Jessica Christian/2017 S.F. Examiner)

San Francisco’s 311 app is the newest way to combat illegally parked cars.

On April 9, The City launched a new feature in the smartphone application that allows users to report double-parked cars with photos and request enforcement.

Double-parked cars blocking bike lanes and traffic lanes and cars blocking driveways or parked illegally on sidewalks are all fair game for the new tool, said Nancy Alfaro, director of 311.

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“Mayor [Mark] Farrell has been really highly concerned with congestion,” Alfaro said. “Reporting these issues through the app could help with that.”

Alfaro stressed that people should still call the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency if they want to report illegal parking by phone. Though the phone option has been available for years, the SFMTA said using the 311 app to report illegal parking may help in the long-term.

The SFMTA’s Parking Enforcement and Traffic unit can use 311 data to pinpoint “chronic hot spots” of reported double-parking violations and assign targeted patrols, SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said in a statement.

“Active enforcement and increased parking control officer presence at hotspots will deter illegal parking and improve everyone’s trip,” he said.

The news was especially well-received by bicyclists.

Jamison Wieser wrote on Twitter to complain about a double-parked truck blocking a bicycle lane on Market Street on Thursday. “You gonna just keep ignoring it?” he tweeted to the SFMTA.

The agency told Wieser he could use the app, to which he replied, “Yay! Thank you.”

And when cyclist Dale Munroe used the 311 app to report a double-parked truck in a bike lane on Second and South Park streets, along with a photo, SFMTA parking enforcement officers closed the case in under an hour.

“It actually works?!” Munroe wrote on Twitter.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition worked with The City to ensure the feature was included in the app.

“We’ve been heearing about this from members — and relaying public frustations to City staff — for years, and we’re grateful to see them take action,” said Brian Wiedenmeier, the coalition’s executive director, in a statement.

Farrell said cyclists aren’t the only ones who want to curb the scourge of double-parkers.

“Illegal double parking causes significant congestion in San Francisco,” he wrote in a statement, which is impacting travel time and “frustrating everyone across our city.”

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