Last Updated on October 15, 2021 by Lawrence Berezin
Grasping the meaning of an NYC parking sign requires “Babbel” on Steroids.
Knowing the meaning of NYC parking signs is as tricky as figuring out a professional football team’s defensive scheme. For example, a quarterback has 3-4 seconds or fewer to read a defense and deliver a pass to an open receiver.
Likewise, the driving public has 3 seconds or fewer to answer the question, “Can I stop here without getting a parking ticket?”
NYC Parking checklist
A pro football coach teaches his quarterback to check down his receivers. If they cover the primary receiver, a quarterback knows where to look for each secondary receiver. Here is a checklist to help you read NYC signs and park safely:
Red, you’re dead
As a general rule, a red sign is a poison to the parking public. It says NO PARKING, NO STANDING, or NO STOPPING… Keep driving! ANY TIME
If a sign has one “except,” and you’re driving a private passenger vehicle, it means, move along, little doggie. For example, a common “except” is No Standing “except” commercial vehicles. Or, No Standing “except” trucks loading or unloading. Or, No parking “except authorized vehicles.”
As a general rule, when you see a sign that says, NO PARKING, with two (2) “except,” look first at the days/hours after the second “except.” It designates the day/hours they permit you to park.
For example, NO STANDING, “except” commercial vehicles, 10 AM to 4 PM M- Fri “except” Sunday means all motor vehicles may park without fear of receiving a costly NYC parking ticket on the day after the second “except,” which in this example, is Sunday.
Only commercial vehicles can park between the hours of 10 AM to 4 PM on Monday through Friday.
All MOTOR VEHICLES may PARK ON MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY BEFORE 10 AM AND AFTER 4 PM.
Addendum attached to Gotcha Poll.-ALL motor vehicles can park all day Saturday and Sunday.
The three-headed monster on the gotcha pole
It takes five years for a pro quarterback to master his trade. Likewise, It takes about the same time for the driving public to understand the rules displayed by three signs on one pole. Here are some tips:
- Read the signs from top to bottom. The top sign is likely the most restrictive.
- Look for the “red you’re dead” sign and obey it! If it says no parking, anytime, no need to read any further. Move along, little doggie.
- Look for the one (1) “except” sign because it eliminates legal parking during certain days/hours for private passenger vehicles
- If you take over 4-5 seconds to decide whether you can park safely, your pocket is collapsing, and you risk a “sack” by a parking ticket warrior charging you with double parking. My advice is to move along little doggie.
Don’t forget the arrows
The arrow on the bottom of a sign designates the direction(s) of the parking space(s) regulated by the rule displayed on the sign. Suppose the arrow point left; the rule showed all the parking spaces to the left; UNTIL the next parking sign or the end of the block.
Remember, one parking sign at the far end of the block may regulate your parking space. “The sign was far away” is not a defense to an NYC parking ticket.
Here’s an ambush
I wrote a blog post about the baffling truck loading only sign, and I suggest checking it out to learn the meaning of this newish sign. The bottom line is that when a sign does not display the days and hours, the rule affects all days and all hours.
My question is, “can a passenger vehicle park during the days and hours the red no standing sign is in effect? How about a commercial vehicle? Do this combination of a red no standing sign and a truck loading only sign mean that neither a commercial vehicle nor a passenger vehicle can park during the days and hours the red no standing sign is in effect?
The rule is in effect all days and all times
The rule regulates the curb space in both directions
You have to obey the stricter rule.
Larry’s First Update: As we all know by now, the Evil Empire has completed a significant project by replacing all the old, totally confusing signs with new, redesigned signs that are just plain confusing. We don’t have to interpret the “double except,” but the single except still applies (No standing, except Sundays).
I think the redesigned signs are easier to understand than the old signs. However, when multiple rules appear on gotcha poles, it is a major challenge to park safely. As you drive by the pole, you must read the signs, process the rules, and decide whether or not to park there. If you stop too long, you’ll lose the space or get a parking ticket.
Here’s a link to the DOT NYC Parking Regulations Map.
Have you ever been charged with a parking violation when you couldn’t see the sign? You may wish to read one of our hidden sign defense success stories.
You may wish to check out the redesigned sign guide below to compare total confusion with plain confusion.
I’m rooting for all of us.
Larry’s Guide to Redesigned Parking Signs.