(Parking sign blog post updated again on August 9, 2020)
Comprehending an NYC parking sign requires “Babbel” on Steroids
Understanding an NYC parking sign is as difficult as figuring out a professional football team’s defensive scheme. For example, a quarterback has 3 seconds or fewer to read a defense and deliver a pass to his open receiver.
While the driving public has 3 seconds or fewer to answer the question, “Can I park here without getting a parking ticket?”
NYC Parking sign checklist
A pro football coach teaches his quarterback to check down his receivers. If they cover the primary receiver, he knows where to look for each secondary receiver.
Here is a checklist to help you read an NYC parking sign and park safely.
- Red, you’re dead: As a general rule, a red parking sign is a poison to the parking public. It says, NO PARKING, NO STANDING, or NO STOPPING…ANY TIME. Keep driving!
- One (1) “EXCEPT”: 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.”
- Two (2) “EXCEPTS”: As a general rule, when you see a parking 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 an NYC parking ticket and parking fine on the day after the second “except,” which in this example, is Sunday; and furthermore:
- 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. It takes about the same time for the driving public to understand the rules displayed by three parking 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” parking sign because it eliminates legal parking during certain days/hours for private passenger vehicle
- 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 parking sign. For example, if the arrow points to your left, the rule displayed on the parking sign regulates 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 a parking sign ambush
I wrote a blog post about the baffling truck loading only sign. I suggest to check it out to learn the meaning of this newish sign. Bottom line is that when a parking sign does not display the days and hours the rule is in effect, 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? Does this combination of a red no standing sign and a truck loading only sign mean that neither a commercial vehicle or a passenger vehicle can park during the days and hours the red no standing sign is in effect?
Larry’s First Update: As we all know by now, the Evil Empire has completed a major project by replacing all the old, totally confusing parking signs with fresh parking signs that are just plain confusing. We are no longer challenged to interpret the “double except” but the single except still applies (No standing, except Sundays).
Here’s a link to the DOT NYC Parking Sign Regulations Map.
You may wish to check out the redesigned sign guide below to compare total confusion with the just plain confusion.
I’m rooting for all of us.