You gotta learn the whys and wherefores behind NYC parking ticket rules
I love this quotation…
The same holds true about NYC parking ticket rules, regulations and laws. If you simply memorize the rules, regulations and laws, you’ll have a difficult time recalling them during your search for safe curb space. Especially when you’re reading one of those gotcha polls with multiple parking signs, and only 3-5 seconds to decide whether it’s legal to park.
Let’s try to gain an understanding of the reasons behind the parking rules. In other words, the why’s and wherefore’s.
Why is the parking rule blue, daddy?
“I don’t know, eat your vegetables!”
“Because they’re good for you.”
You got the picture, right?!
1. Why can I stop, drop, and go in a No standing or No parking zone?
A sure-fired way to learn the why’s and wherefore’s is by checking out the definition section of the rules (See, RCNY 4-01).
Standing is defined as:
Parking is defined as:
Learning these two definitions will answer a whole bunch of parking ticket questions. For example,
- Am I “standing” when I’m stopped temporarily to drop off a passenger, and skedaddle? No. It’s built right into the definition of standing that when you stop, drop, and go, you’re not standing. Period.
- Can I leave my car unattended to run into the store for a NY minute? Nope. The definition answers your question. You are standing whether your chariot is occupied or not. It follows that if you leave your car unattended in a No standing zone, you are engaged in the prohibited behavior…Standing ($115). The only time you’re not standing is when you stop, drop (or pick up) and go
- Can I wait for my husband to finish shopping, after I drop him off? No. The definition allows a member of the driving public to stop “temporarily” … “while actually engaged in receiving or discharging passengers.” Waiting for your husband to finish his shopping will not be construed as being actually engaged in receiving a passenger.
- If I a driver exits their vehicle while standing next to the curb with the motor off, isn’t she parking? Yes, but she’s actually stopping, standing, and parking because she’s not actively engaged in dropping off or picking up a passenger. Amazing, one person, one car, and three possible parking violations. Yikes
2. Why can’t I pick up a passenger and her luggage in a bus stop zone?
Let’s check out the rule:
The rule contains a bunch of useful information:
- A bus stop violation is a No standing violation. This tells us that you can only drop or pick up people, and not their stuff in a bus stop zone
- The rule contains the words temporarily and expeditiously. Is this significant? Sure is. You’ll find that every word contained in a rule of law has meaning, and was written in the rule for a purpose. Temporarily means an action or behavior that is supposed to be completed in a finite time. While expeditiously means, prompt fast, speedy, and rapid. In other words, you’re permitted to stop in a bus stop zone for a finite period of time, the parameters of which are speedy and rapid.
I discussed these concepts with a parking ticket judge who told me that they interpret expeditiously to depend on the circumstances. For example, if you’re dropping off your 98 year-old Aunt Tilly, expeditiously will be interpreted differently than if you’re dropping off your teenage daughter.
3. Why does the length of a bus stop vary from city block to city block?
There is no mention of the length of a bus stop in the rule. So, where do we find the answer to this conundrum. You’ll find it by understanding how parking signs regulate the curb space.
We all know that a parking sign regulates the parking spaces in the direction of the arrow on the parking sign, until the next parking sign, or end of the block. The same holds true for a bus stop zone. The bus stop parking sign regulates the curb space until the next parking sign, or if none, the end of the block. The same way any parking sign rules the curb.
In other words, the length of a bus stop zone is determined by the arrow on a bus stop sign and the distance from the next parking sign, or if none, the curb. Simple?!
Don’t trust memory alone to solve all the conundrums in Parking Ticket Land. Take the time to drill a little deeper to understand the why’s and wherefore’s…Especially when you’re formulating a defense to a NYC parking ticket.