Alice, Can I Park on a Residential Street (Even if the Homeowners Don’t Like It)?

updated May 4, 2019
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Dear Alice,

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I used to occasionally (twice a week) park on a residential street near the building where I work. I would park there for the full work day where parking is completely legal and the street is wide and not busy. Free, all-day parking is scarce in our town and this is one of the few spots that I’ve found.

Recently, I received an angry note on my windshield stating that I was causing distress to residents and workers (e.g. mailman and landscaping personnel) by parking on the street during the day, and I’ve been hesitant to park there ever since. While I understand the resident’s annoyance at having cars parked in front of their home all day long, I believe they’ve greatly exaggerated the “distress” that my behavior has caused. As I’ve mentioned, the street is wide and never busy, and all of the homes have their own driveways, so I’m not taking away parking spaces from the residents. Moreover, I’ve never seen the street completely filled with parked cars— there are usually quite a few empty spots.

Legally, there is nothing wrong with what I did, but do you think I was overstepping acceptable behavior?


Parking Police

Dear PP,

I’m not sure I understand why the residents of this neighborhood would be so bothered (much less “distressed”) by your car parked in front of their homes. It sounds to me like there’s plenty of room for everyone.

I’d be willing to bet that very few people have even noticed your car and it sounds like only one person decided to scold you for your parking faux pas. Perhaps he or she is concerned about a slippery slope situation; that if word of his or her street’s free parking gets out, the neighborhood will be inundated. If that’s the case, there are plenty of legal channels the residents can consider to get their street awarded permit parking.

Either way, twice a week is not excessive and it’s completely within your rights to park there. We live in a society where roads and sidewalks are public space and these home owners know the deal. I’d say you can continue to park there and shouldn’t give it a second thought.



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