Last Updated on November 3, 2022 by Lawrence Berezin
How to fight back against neighbors for illegally saving parking spaces
A frustrated friend of New York Parking Ticket recently asked how to fight back against a neighbor illegally saving parking spaces on her block.
I did some research and found a terrific article from a fascinating website about the evil tactics of NYC parking vigilantes. A Channel 7 News investigative reporter recently publicized this lousy behavior.
Anyone who’s ever driven in New York City knows the value of a good parking spot and how impossible it is to keep. While that may be true for law-abiding citizens, the truly desperate or greedy are going to great lengths to keep the good spots to themselves. Forget the meter-maid; Tappy Phillips is walking the beat with Seven On Your Side.
The tale of parking vigilantes
They are known as ‘parking vigilantes.’ Their prey is the prime parking spots all over the five boroughs, and when they’re finished staking their claim, it’s free parking for them and no parking for you. That is until Seven on Your Side confronted some of these renegades on their turf.
It can be a ribbon of yellow paint, an official-looking sign, or a makeshift barricade.
Lissette Samuels, Frustrated Driver: “They do all kinds of things, so you don’t park your car here, and then you can’t find parking. All those methods are illegal methods that the ‘parking vigilantes’ employ to stake their claim to prime spots.
Samuels: “They make their own rules.”
Lissette Samuels is in parking purgatory. She says she’s unable to park when she comes to work because of homemade “no parking signs,” yellow-painted curbs, and even barricades tied down by bricks.
Samuels: “I just came here to go to work and park my car. That’s it, but I don’t need this harassment, and you know they think they own the streets.”
A comment from the NYC DOT
Iris Weinshall, NYC Department of Transportation: “To put up barricades, to paint the sidewalk is not a very equitable way of dealing with the situation.”
The head of the city’s Department of Transportation says it’s illegal to paint the curb or put up barriers to prevent people from parking. Weinshall says if they aren’t removed in a month, homeowners who live in front of the spots could face fines up to $2,000.
Weinshall: “This should not be done to the city streets. The city streets are for everybody.”
We agreed, so I tracked down the “baron” of one of the illegal barricades.
Tappy Phillips, Eyewitness News: “What are they for? Are they for saving the parking spaces?”
“Parking Baron”: “Actually, they are because we have quite a few cars.”
Phillips: “But it’s not legal to block any part of the street for your parking. Did you know that?
“Parking Baron”: “No, I didn’t know that.”
That wasn’t the only place we found ‘to curb controversy.’ In front of one of Central Park West’s most exclusive addresses, we found an official-looking sign prohibiting parking.
The doorman is making extra bucks.
Phillips: “Can you please move the sign so I can park?”
Doorman: “I can’t. You have to speak to my boss.”
Phillips: “This is a public street.”
Doorman: “You can speak to my boss.”
So the doorman got the building manager, and after he saw our camera…
Phillips: “Why is this here? Why is this sign here?”
Building manager’s response
Mr. Healey, Building Manager: “I have no problem with that… if you like, we’ll move the sign for you… We’re asking for courtesy because we want to create a right of way, that’s all.”
Phillips: “But you don’t have the right to block off a street.”
As for our Bronx parking renegades? We found their barricades were gone by Tuesday, and we were there when they painted over curbs.
The key here is always to let the street signs be your guide. Homemade signs and even yellow paint don’t mean anything if the street signs don’t back them up. The DOT has its parking posse, but they rely on people like you to report problems.
Tappy Phillips, Seven On Your Side
Jimmy Justice’s mantra is “If you see something, say something.” When you are injured by the bad behavior of a parking vigilante, take action.
- Report the violation to the Police
- Notify the DOT
- Call 311
- Say something
There is a rule that prohibits illegally saving parking spaces, 4-08(n)(7) states:
(7) Unofficial reserving of parking space. It shall be unlawful for any person to commit or attempt to reserve a parking space, or prevent any vehicle from parking on a public street through their presence in the roadway, the use of hand signals, or by placing any box, can, crate, hand cart, dolly or any other device, including unauthorized pavement, curb or street markings or signs in the roadway.
Have you been a victim of the bad behavior of parking vigilantes? What action did you take? Were you satisfied with the results? Please comment. Your opinion matter to all of us!
Are you relying on Lady Luck to get away with parking in front of a driveway? A cop or warrior and Captain Hook are likely to be called by the property owner. In other words, your bad behavior will cost you a ticket and a tow. Don’t block someone else’s driveway!
Meanwhile, here’s how to get rid of driveway blockers.