Last Updated on October 12, 2021 by Lawrence Berezin
Have crosswalks and stop lines ever ambushed you?
What is it about crosswalks and stop lines? Why is this combination so costly and confusing? Moreover, if you guess wrong, it will cost you $115.
Roadway markings have the power to:
- Transform a legal curb cut into an illegal pedestrian ramp (marked crosswalk)
- Prohibit parking even if a parking sign allows parking (safety zone)
- Give a pedestrian safe passage across a busy NYC intersection (crosswalk)
What is a stop line?
A picture is worth a thousand words…
A stop line is a single white line painted across the travel lane that signals where to stop your car before reaching a crosswalk. It creates a buffer zone between the stop line and crosswalk so pedestrians can safely cross the street.
“The stop lines (or bar) only apply to moving vehicles and do not define a crosswalk.” Transit Sam at Downtown Express.
The stop line in the above image is correctly painted because it does not extend from curb to curb. A stop line should only be painted across the traffic lane.
The image below has four stop lines. Two stop lines extend across the travel lane of a two-direction roadway. At the same time, two stop lines extend across the entire roadway because it is a one-way street with travel lanes in only one direction.
Is the white SUV below parked in the crosswalk?
Close call. If any part of the car breaks the plane of the marked crosswalk, the driver is toast. What do you think? Would you risk parking like this?
Are both cars in the image below parked legally?
Yesiree! The white car parked safely in the buffer zone without touching the crosswalk line—the blue car parked on the stop line, perfectly legal.
Well done, white car and blue car!
Can a bike lane be located in front of a stop line?
Is the vehicle below parked in an unmarked crosswalk?
Check out this parking job.
The rules prohibit parking in a marked or an UNMARKED crosswalk. The front of the car in the above image breaks the plane of the stop line, but does the front bumper break the plane of the unmarked crosswalk? (In my humble opinion, no, because there is a small area of curb space between the unmarked crosswalk and stop line…Risky business parking there!
(i) Marked crosswalk. That part of a roadway is defined by two parallel lines or highlighted by a pattern of lines (perpendicular, parallel or diagonal, used either separately or in combination) that should guide pedestrians into proper crossing paths.
(ii) Unmarked crosswalk. That part of a roadway, other than a marked crosswalk which is included within the extensions of the sidewalk lines between opposite sides of the roadway at an intersection, if (A) the roadway crosses through the intersection and not ending at the intersection, and/or (B) all traffic on the opposing roadway is controlled by a traffic control device. Cruising.”
I urge you to master the meaning of road markings, or you will be hit with costly parking tickets. Remember:
- You can park at a curb cut if there isn’t a marked crosswalk (and traffic control devices or traffic signs regulating traffic on the long street)
- It is never, ever legal to park in a safety zone, even if there is a parking sign permitting parking. A safety zone trumps a parking sign in Parking Ticket Land
- It is legal to stop, stand, or park in the buffer zone between stop lines and crosswalks
- If your wheel rests on one of the parallel lines of a crosswalk you are toast
- If any part of your chariot breaks the plane of a crosswalk, (such as your bumper), you are toast
Knowledge is power…Park safely