Thursday, August 14, 2014

It’s a City Thing: Alternate Side Parking

This was one of the most confusing things to me as a newbie to city life.  In order to keep the streets clean, the Department of Sanitation cleans most of the streets once a week, and many of them twice a week or even daily.  This all sounds great…until you realize that all of the cars parked on those streets have to go somewhere while the street is being cleaned.  Thus, in New York City, we have alternate side parking.


Every street has posted the day(s) and times of the street cleaning.  And during those times you cannot be parked on that side of the street.  Since there isn’t an abundance of parking anyway in NYC, we simply move our cars to the other side of the street until the street sweeping is finished.  Yes – we double park – for an hour and a half.  And if you don’t?  It’s a $45 fine.


In our current neighborhood street cleaning is Monday on one side, and Tuesday on the other side, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.  That means that on Sunday night when we get home from church, we attempt to park on a Tuesday side in order to avoid moving the car on Monday.  I have alarms set on my phone to remind me to move the car, because I have forgotten (and paid the price).

Even if the street sweeper has already come down the street, you cannot put your car back until the end of the posted time period.  Well…you can, but you will probably get a ticket.  In some neighborhoods where parking is bad people just go out and sit in their car for an hour and a half, to ensure they get their parking spot back.  And some people just don’t seem to mind getting a ticket every week.  I have seen the parking cops waiting to hand out tickets during street cleaning hours, and we have gotten a ticket for being just a couple of minutes late to move the car.

Sometimes I go to do certain errands during street cleaning hours, because then I know I can double park my car instead of wasting time searching for a spot.  As long as the errand takes less than the posted time, no ticket.  But sometimes it sounds like this…


…always try not to get parked in!

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