Last Updated on June 26, 2017 by Lawrence Berezin
Park in NYC after learning the fundamental rules of the curb
Is the art of picking a safe space to park in NYC an acquired trait? Or Is your DNA wired to speed read, process confusing data, and make sound decisions 100% of the time?
In case you’re like me, and we’ve got to learn all this stuff, here are some key points to remember before attempting to park safely in NYC.
1. All NYC is a tow away zone
No notice required. We can thank Albany for this dangerous state of affairs.
Back in the 1950’s, the NY State legislature in their infinite wisdom voted in favor of allowing Captain Hook to grab your chariot for any safety or parking rules violation.
The discretion to ruin your day and empty your wallet was given to warriors and cops. Oh boy…that’s comforting.
The only way to fix this sorry state of affairs is to learn the rules and obey them as best you can.
2. You are prohibited from stopping, standing, and parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant
That’s right, 15 feet in all directions from the pump. Don’t expect to find a yellow painted curb to designate the distance. Yellow paint on a curb has no significance whatsoever in parking in NYC.
There is an exception to the “no park” fire hydrant zone:
- Between sunrise and sunset
- A passenger vehicle (but not a commercial vehicle)
- Can stop, stand, or park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant
- As long as a licensed driver remains seated behind the wheel (not in the passenger seat or rear seat)
- With the keys
- Ready to move upon request to do so by a person of authority
3. Leaving a note on your car doesn’t mean a thing if you’re standing or parking illegally
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the excuse, “I only ran into the store for a second, and left a note on the windshield for the warrior.”
Maybe a note from “Epstein’s Mother” may hold some weight. But an epistle from you, in essence, telling the warrior that you empowered yourself to waive the parking rules while you run into the store for just a minute, isn’t going to hold much weight in Parking Ticket Land.
Believe-you-me, no self-respecting warrior will grant you amnesty.
4. The length of a bus stop varies from block to block
Here are some of the comments I’ve heard from wonderful members of the driving public:
- “I parked at least 8 feet from the bus stop shelter” [But, the average bus is 42-45 feet long]
- “I parked all the way down the block from the bus stop sign, and still got a bus stop ticket”[But, parking way down the block is not a defense to a bus stop violation]
- ” I picked up my friend and we only waited at the bus stop for a minute to decide where to go next” [ But, you’ve got to exit a bus stop zone, immediately or sooner]
- “My friend was getting into my car with her 2 bags, and we still got a bus stop ticket” [But, a bus stop zone is a no standing zone. You can only pick up or discharge people, not their property, in a bus stop zone]
Learning is relentless repetition, so here it goes:
- A bus stop zone starts at the bus stop sign
- Extends in the direction of the arrow(s)
- Until the next parking sign
- Or if none, the end of the block
You are permitted to stand in a bus stop zone:
- Stop temporarily
- Expeditiously pick up or discharge
- Not property
- Leave immediately
- Not interfere with a bus entering or exiting the bus stop zone
5. You can legally park in front of a pedestrian ramp (curb cut), if:
- It is not at a 4-corner intersection
- it lives mid-block
- On the long ‘T’
- Of a ‘T’ intersection
- No marked crosswalk
- Traffic control device
- Stop signs
- Regulating traffic
6. A driveway is a no standing zone
You are permitted to stop temporarily to drop off or pick up a passenger in a no standing zone. But:
- You can’t stay longer than a “New York Minute”
- You cannot drop off or pick up a passenger and her stuff
[If you like the image below, pin it…Thanks, Larry]
I’m totally convinced we can beat the Evil Empire at its own game. But, it takes commitment to learning the rules and transferring your knowledge to the real life drama of parking in NYC.
I’m wit chu!
L Rudolph says
Boy do I wish I had read this article five plus years ago. I parked near a driveway (neighbor’s) so that only about six inches of my bumper was extending into it. They had about four stolen Con Edison (electric company) cones in the PUBLIC street saving spaces for their three cars. But, get this, the alleged “driveway” was only 7 2 inches wide with no garage in the back.
The cops gave me a ticket even though I explained the rules but didn’t even glance at the cones (btw, the homeowner just happened to be employed by Con Edison…wonder where he got those cones!?) I lost that one only cuz we were moving at the time and I wasn’t able to fight it. But I did beat the one before it by contacting the City Council Woman who was excellent and extremely understanding, not to mention appalled at the way the whole thing was handled. This, unfortunately, was right after the cops in NYC were blamed for choking a black man in Staten Island to death, so racial tension was really high. The ‘neighbors ‘ who owned the ‘driveway’ were Hispanic and we are not. Guess the NYPD was given the word to not “make waves” when it came to anything interracial. Maybe I should sue for reparations (LOL)?
Lawrence Berezin says
Hi, Mr. R,
Shamefully bad behavior.
Hopefully, it will stop.
Good day Mr. Lawrence,
We got a car last year so learning about parking rules, etc. Never thought we’d have such issues in our own driveway. We park in a private space and leave the street empty. It’s directly adjacent to our neighbor’s. There’s no curb to differentiate.
The previous owner painted a yellow line and was very strict and even harassed us if any car parked there even for a couple minutes. Most of the times, cars didn’t belong to us but we got the doorbells rung. Being good neighbors, we tried to let it go.
A new landlord bought the house and I don’t believe lives there. Our neighbor, not the landlord, has 2 cars, “GREY” and “RED.” RED is the private car of an NYPD officer I believe. There is a private space GREY (his sister’s) usually parks and RED parks in front of that private driveway. Back of RED often spills into our driveway. As little as a few inches to as much as a quarter of the car.
Apparently, this has been going on/off for at least, 3 years. But my mom/aka landlord didn’t tell me. She use to rent the space to tenants or local friends of tenants. And there were multiple issues of them blocking the driveway, ignoring attempts to move the car with reasons of either sleeping, no one being home…
I’ve addressed owner of RED who agreed initially it is inconvenient but continued to park there. Asked us to just “ring my bell and I’ll move it.” We’ve asked multiple times to park inside when private space is empty. Ignored our request multiple times including yesterday. RED car intentionally parked on street when private park space was available all day. We didn’t address bc we didn’t need to move our car. We’re trying really hard to be good neighbors. But that’s not working.
Due to multiple attempts to cooperate and failure to, we feel our neighbor is abusing his power of being NYPD. He is inconsistent. And previous time, when we asked his sister, GREY car to please move because it was clearly blocking our driveway, we suggested to park in a legal spot, she yelled at us.
It’s causing a lot of stress on us as well as my mom who is elderly. We just want to be able to go in/out of our driveway without obstacles, without having to obtain permission from neighbors who intentionally park too close. If we scratch their car because it’s too close, we’ll be at fault.
Trying to get guidance on what can be done fairly and legally. We respect our neighbors and NYPD but it feels like it’s abuse of power. I know my mom feels intimidated. She’s Asian and her English isn’t strong but does not want me struggling either. Neighbor is Latino. My husband is Latino so racially, hopefully, not an issue. Except many people feel Asians are submissive and won’t escalate. Often, taken advantage of because of this. Any suggestions you can provide would be helpful. Thank you so much for your time. Have a blessed day.
Lawrence Berezin says
Our home is where we go to escape stress and anxiety. So, I totally understand how upsetting this type of predicament is.
Please send me some photos so I can see exactly how the homes and driveway are configured (Also include the address so I can check out the location on Google Maps).
You can send this to [email protected]
I’ll take a look and offer my thoughts.
What if anything I can do to stop my next-door neighbor’s tenant from parking in our shared driving? We have informed them numerous times (almost on a daily basis) but they totally ignore us.
Lawrence Berezin says
I’m sorry to hear about your selfish neighbor.
I’m afraid I don’t have a solution for this nightmare because I don’t know the NY law on shared driveways. I would consult with a lawyer to find out my options if it were me.
I did some research, and it seems like the first step is to determine the legal status of the driveway. Are you the primary owner of the driveway, and an easement
is granted to your neighbor? Once you assess ownership and easement rights, you will know what rights you have to get this inconsiderate neighbor out of the driveway.