Last Updated on September 16, 2017 by Lawrence Berezin
Mis-reading NYC parking signs will cost you a bunch of money
Ralph is visiting our fair city from Topeka Kansas. It’s his first time in New York City.
Ralph is very excited to sight-see and rented a car to drive around the city. His first stop was the World Trade Center. Ralph found an empty parking space right on the boulevard of broken dreams and eased his chariot to the curb. “Wow,” he thought. This was easy.
Fast forward 10 days. Ralph is sitting in his hotel room at 1 p.m. with the shades closed and lights out. There are 16 parking tickets strewn across his bed. Ralph is flying out of NYC tomorrow and vows never to return.
It was like leading a Kansas lamb to the slaughter.
Has this ever happened to you?
Can you read these NYC parking signs correctly?
These confusing parking signs victimized a wonderful client of New York Parking Ticket (and I’m sure many other members of the driving public). She thought parking on Sunday was permitted, and there wasn’t any arrow on the bottom red NYC parking signs. She was wrong.
What in the name of safe parking does the lower, red, sliver of a parking sign mean? “Other times no standing?” And there’s no arrow.
The No Parking Rule displayed on the top white parking sign is in effect all days, EXCEPT Sunday. However, the lower, red sign prohibits standing before 8 a.m., after 6 p.m. and all day Sunday.
When a parking sign doesn’t have an arrow it means that the rule regulates the curb space in BOTH directions. Grimace.
I wrote about this ambush in a prior blog post. These two signs are super rainmakers for the Evil Empire. The driving public cried, “confusing” because the red sign prohibited standing between April 1 and September 1, while the white sign prohibited parking for street cleaning between 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
No, always, every time trumps yes in Parking Ticket Land. Don’t get caught because you engaged in some wishful sign reading. No’s are unlimited and cumulative.
The top red sign says no between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. all days (including Sunday) between April 1 and September 1. Before April 1 and After September 1, pretend the top red sign doesn’t exist.
The bottom white street cleaning sign is simple. It says no parking on Tuesdays between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. This rule is in effect all year around.
Two no’s don’t make a yes.
Our wonderful client received a parking ticket for parking in a space regulated by the invisible sign hidden by the tree.
The hidden sign defense is a practical defense to an NYC parking ticket. The challenge is convincing a parking ticket judge that you couldn’t see the parking sign.
A picture is worth a thousand words. And, a picture that cries out, “you can’t see me,” is worth $115.
Our wonderful client parked his car at 11:30 p.m. looked down the block and didn’t see the Taxi Relief Stand sign way in the distance. The next morning, his parking space was empty. His car was towed. Did we win? Yessiree!
We won because the warrior misdescribed the place of occurrence, not because our client couldn’t see the Taxi Relief Stand way in the distance.
Be warned, there only has to be one parking sign anywhere on the entire block. If the arrow on the parking sign points to your parking space, you’re toast. It matters not that:
- It’s dark out
- It’s raining cats and dogs
- You are disabled
- You are just plain tired
You’re going to lose the fight.
Tip: Raise all meritorious defenses. If you have more than one “winning” defense, raise ’em all.
I recommend that you tell a story and include some information that may not rise to the level of a winning defense, but make help you persuade a judge to dismiss the parking ticket. For example, in this case, I told the judge that our client parked his car at 11:30 p.m. and looked up and down the block for a parking sign. I accompanied our story with the above exhibit.
While it wasn’t a defense, the story and picture demonstrated that no one would have seen the taxi relief stand sign (and our client’s car was towed when he parked in front of #319). I’m convinced it helped us persuade the judge to dismiss the parking ticket for a misdescribed place of occurrence.
Now we know why the mean streets of NYC are so noisy.
Truth be told, how many of us never, ever got an NYC parking ticket? The guy in the back row with his hand up is 14 years old, so he doesn’t count.
I urge you not to:
- Engage in wishful thinking when you read a parking sign
- Think that two “No’s” make a “Yes.” A no is a no and they are cumulative
- Think a yes trumps a no. The stricter parking rules always wins
- Think your car can’t be regulated by more than one parking sign
- Think the closer sign trumps the parking sign way off in the distance. Closer only counts in horseshoes
John Ng says
I parked on street yesterday, the alternative side parking rule is Thursday 8:30-10. However my car was moved due to construction (I saw the pavement of the road is rough when I tried to pick up my car yesterday), and it was moved to a spot where it is a municipal parking spot, and No Standing from 4-7 pm. I got two tickets (one for not paying parking ticket, and another one for the No Standing because I noticed my car was missing till late evening around 8:30 pm), and it was towed to a impound.
Here is the frustrated part. The police officer told me the car is at 7734 78th Avenue in Forest Hills, yesterday night when I called the precinct. I circled the whole block 5+ times yesterday and I couldn’t find it. The officer gave me the same address 3 times and eventually gave me the towing company’s phone number, which repeat the same address to me (the guy at the towing company even tell me to report the car stolen, which I did, but the officer refused to accept my case). Eventually the office told me, after two hours of the search on street, my car is at the impound. I talked to the traffic cop at the impound today and he suggested me to ask the towing company for the towing sheet (which specify where and what car was moved). Of course the guys at the towing company hung up on me when I told him my intention, and the police precinct refused to release the towing sheet to me also.
I know my chance to fight these tickets off is slim to none as I don’t have proof that my car was moved due to construction (only the NYPD and the towing company has it, and of course NYPD is not going to release it to me, and so is the towing company). However, is there anything else I can do? Thank you for reading this long sad story, at least I got my car back now.
Lawrence Berezin says
I am sad to report (after dedicating 6 years, 7-days-per-week, with two months off for my heart attack) that I will no longer be answering questions on Larry’s Blog. You’ll find a treasure trove of information in the 746 Blog Posts and growing, F.A.Q.’s, and comments.
If you need help, you may wish to check out of service offerings. Here’s a link.
My favorite confusing sign is the AM street cleaning sign on the avenue which reads
which reads just like
… bingo! Ticket on Wednesday …
It is not worth it to fight a parking ticket, if you have to go to court.
Lawrence Berezin says
I agree (in many cases, but not all). For example, what if your chariot got a boot ($185), a tow ($185) and a no standing ticket ($115). I would fight it in person if I lived in NYC and thought by personally appearing it would give me a better chance to win a dismissal.
I fight ’em all online.