Ask the Parking Guru: What's the Quickest Way To Decode Parking Signs?


Dear David,
I really like your book and your posts!  I have a problem that you may not have addressed before. I sometimes find myself in parking denial.  If I find a parking space, any space, that is available, I will park there.  I feed the meter, but I don't look at the signs, ever.  I have about $700 in tickets this year so far. To tell you the truth, I'm anxious just talking about it.  I think that I just find all of the information and rules to follow so overwhelming.  Do you have any tips for how to quickly and easily read all of the signs and figure out if a parking spot is okay to park in?

Queen of Denial



Dear QoD,
I'm glad you wrote.  First of all, you are not alone.  That's how the City makes over $100 million per year on parking tickets alone. But, the first step to solving your problem is knowing that you have one.  I have a very simple series of steps that I go through when I park to see if it is a legal spot.
1. I first look at the curb and see what color it is.  Red is bad. Gray is excellent. As you know from the book, yellow, white, and blue can be your best friends or worst enemies.

2. Read the restrictions posted on the meter, if there is one...amount of time allowed, and times that you are allowed to park.

3. Walk in front of and behind your car on the sidewalk for 100 feet (about 8 car lengths or so) or to the nearest cross street, read any parking restriction signs that you come across, and see if they apply to you.

4. Know what time it is, and what day of the week it is.

That's it. Really. Using the graphic above, I'll show you how easy it is to determine whether or not you can park in a spot with 4 restrictive signs on one post within 100 feet of your car. Ok, it's 7 am on a Friday, can you park here?  And, if so, for how long?
Let's take it from the top.
1) No parking allowed left of the sign. Ever. 

2) No parking allowed to the right or left of the sign from 2 am to 4 am for street sweeping.
3) Parking is allowed to the right of the sign between 9 am and 7 pm, but for only one hour.
4) No parking to the right of the sign between 3 pm and 6 pm
Answer: You may park to the right of the signpost at 7 am for 3 hours until 10 am.
For a plethora of do-it-yourself tips, tricks, methods, strategies, click here.  Or, to make therapy appointment, click here.

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