Ambiguous Special Events Signs That Don't Match Normal Parking Signs, Plus a Quiz

Ambiguous Special Events Signs That Don't Match Normal Parking Signs, Plus a Quiz


Before we get to this week's question, I have a preliminary question for you. I would love to see how this savvy audience interprets this. It's 6:45 pm on Wednesday 8/22/12.  Can you park in front of the pic above legally and without worry?

A) No, this sign is interpreted as no parking from 10 am Wednesday to 6 pm Thursday.

B) Yes, this sign is interpreted as no parking only from 10 am to 6 pm on those two days.

C) Of course the answer is "B." If it were "A," that would make it a 32-hour permit. Permits are given for 24 hour blocks.

Leave your answer in the comments section. 

Dear Parking Guru,

On 8/22 I went to a friend's house for dinner. There were signs (see above) in front of the house where I parked which I interpreted to mean "No Parking 10 am-6 pm" each of those days, and it was 6:45 pm so I parked there. But at 8 pm I was towed and had to spend almost $500 to get my car back. I found out that the people had gotten a special events permit for the open house they were holding the following day. The way that the sign was written, there was no reason to think I would be in anyone's way at 6:45 pm that night and I had no notion that they meant no parking for a full 32 hours. Do you think the judge will understand that it was unclear they wanted the space clear for the next 24 hours?


Dear Distraught,

I find it confusing that you got a ticket. I am with you. The sign is written in the same format as all street signs are written and should be interpreted as such. The days are in one grouping and the hours are in a separate grouping just like all other street signs. For example, on 2-Hour Parking signs, the days are grouped together and the times are grouped together as in the example below.

This sign is commonly and legally interpreted that you can't park here from 9 am to 6 pm on M, T, W, T, F.  It doesn't mean you can't park here for the 105 hours between 9 am Monday and 6pm Friday. The times are in one grouping 10am to 12pm, and the days,"Mon Thru Fri", are in another grouping.

If the parking police wanted to properly indicate that there was no parking for the 32 hours between 10 am on 8/22 and 6 pm on 8/23, the sign should
have been written:

No Parking From:
10 am 8/22
6 pm 8/23


No Parking Anytime
8/22 to 8/23
Like the one below, and then simply take down the sign after their event was over at 6 pm.  

I think you have a good argument if you show the examples of how other street signs are written and commonly/legally interpreted and how they match the way this one was written and interpreted by you...and me...and probably everyone else. We can see what others think too, and if it's clear, that would definitely help the judge see your point. But even without that, your interpretation seems quite correct. I would also find out who wrote this sign.  Was it the home owner? A new officer? A member of Ambiguity Anonymous?

Sorry about the tow... It is a serious chunk of change.

For more parking tips, tricks, and secrets, and to learn how to avoid paying for an erroneously given ticket, click here. To be guided by voice to the nearest available legal parking spot, hands free, click here.

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