When I moved to Brooklyn, my car came along with me. Within my first week or so, I was hit with several parking tickets – I even woke up one fine morning to find that my car had been towed. Now, in all honesty, the best way to avoid a parking ticket is to simply not have a car. But certain jobs and lifestyles require one to have an automobile readily available, and this blog post, my friends, is for you.
Survey the area: First, get to know the parking rules in your neighborhood, because this is where you’ll likely be parking most often. Take note that some spots have parking restrictions every day, whereas others require you to move your car only once a week. Find out where you can park at what time, and figure out which areas work best with your schedule.
Read and re-read the sings: This especially comes in handy when you’re parking in an unfamiliar neighborhood. Even if you only plan to park somewhere for ten minutes, read the sign – you may have to move your car in five. Always double- or triple-check the signs, and make sure you know what day it is.
Know the unwritten rules: Some rules are not written on signs – they’re simply meant to be known and understood. And in these cases, ignorance is certainly not bliss. In NYC, don’t park in crosswalks, don’t park in front of garages or driveways, and don’t park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant. Seriously.
Don’t think that you’re the exception: Don’t ever make up your own parking spot, even if it’s just for three minutes. I’m not going to say I’ve never done it in the past… in New York though? Nooo way. The law enforcement here is on it – and you must know that you will be reprimanded.
Set alarms: This is truly the most helpful rule of all. Every single time you park your car, set a reminder in your phone. Oftentimes, even when we’re sure we’ll remember, something ends up getting crazy in our lives, and we forget to move the darn car. I like to put the reminder in my phone as an event. I label it “MOVE CAR”, set the time to 30 minutes prior to the actual move time, and include the current location. This way, I’ll never forget where I parked. Just in case you forget to set this event, it’s even helpful to set a recurring nightly reminder to check if you know where your car is. This might sound excessive, but honestly, it’s worth it.
Avoid non-parking tickets: Parking tickets aren’t the only kinds of tickets brought about by having a car. Make sure you know when your inspection is due, as well as when your registration needs to be renewed. Set alarms in your phone a few weeks prior to these due dates, and be certain to get them taken care of. Also, always follow the rules of the road… obviously. Don’t speed, don’t text and drive, don’t tweet and drive, don’t Instagram and drive, don’t even read the BLDG 25 Blog and drive. Your life is so much more valuable, and that blog post will be waiting for you as soon as you’re safely parked.
Pay your tickets: If you do happen to get a ticket, make sure you pay it on time. If you let your fines accumulate, your car becomes subject to being towed without notice – even if you’re legally parked at the time.
Put simply, what it really comes down to is knowing the rules and setting reminders. Once you have those two things taken care of, having a car in a city becomes much less of a fiasco. Well, until you can’t actually find a spot in which to park. But that’s a story for a different day.
+ If you have any more tips for having a car in an urban area, please share!