Last Updated on July 18, 2022 by Lawrence Berezin
Parking signs need to be clear and unambiguous
A wonderful friend of the New York City Parking Ticket sent me a photo of these two Abbott and Costello parking signs on a gotcha pole. Sadly, he got a parking ticket for violating this symbol of parking injustice.
Would you park your passenger car on Sunday in a space regulated by this gotcha pole?
Here’s what the Evil Empire might argue.
Parking sign gobbledygook analyzed
Top Sign: Restricts parking to buses with permits every day except Sunday but only between 7 am – 7 pm. This means that all vehicles can park in spaces regulated by the top sign before 7 am and after 7 pm and all day on Sundays.
Bottom Sign: However, confusion is generated by adding the bottom sign to the gotcha pole. This sign limits parking on Sundays to buses with permits between 7 am – 7 pm. In other words, it conflicts with the top sign by adding a limitation for passenger vehicles on Sundays.
The Evil Empire would consider the top sign and the bottom sign together. And conclude that parking is allowed only for buses with permits on weekdays and Sundays during certain hours in both directions.
Ergo, if you park your passenger vehicle on any given Sunday at 11 am, you are eligible for a parking ticket. On the other hand, you are free to park your passenger vehicle on Sundays at 8 pm,
Here’s what I would argue in defense of our friend:
One of the longstanding maxims for interpreting parking rules is that a more restrictive parking rule trumps a less restrictive rule. I would argue that restricting parking on weekdays during certain hours but not on Sundays is more restrictive than limiting parking on Sundays only during certain hours.
Therefore, it was legal to park a passenger car on Sundays at any hour. And, if not legal, then the combination of these two signs was incomprehensible and, therefore, unenforceable.
If it were me, I’m afraid I would keep moving. These two mystifying parking signs are a parking ticket waiting for a car. When a basketball referee makes a bad call, it is still more difficult to overturn. Likewise, when a driver opts to park in a space regulated by confusing rules and gets a costly parking ticket, it is tougher to get a judge to dismiss the ticket.
What do you think? Who wins this fight? Do you buy my defense?