What Is Tandem Parking?

published Jul 12, 2022
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If you’ve been looking at newly built townhomes or urban apartments and condos, you might’ve come across the phrase “tandem parking.” The unique parking feature is a creative way for multiple cars to fit into a tight residential spot, allowing for off-street parking where it may otherwise be in short supply. But that’s not all you need to know about tandem parking — read on to learn more. 

What is the definition of tandem parking?

Tandem parking is a style of parking where instead of vehicles parking side-by-side in a lot or driveway, they sit one in front of the other, according to Erin O’Brien, Realtor at Harry Norman. “This causes the first car pulled into the space or garage to be blocked in by the second.” 

Unlike double parking (which is both illegal and annoying in most areas) which features one car parked alongside a curb and a second car parked next to it in the street, tandem parking involves parking vehicles fender to bumper.

How does tandem parking work?

To make tandem parking situations work, you’ll need an area the width of a regular parking space or garage but double the length, says O’Brien. “Remember the old parking jam game where you must move one car out of the way to advance? Similarly, the car that pulled in last must move for the other car to leave the first spot.”

How do you deal with tandem parking?

O’Brien says dealing with tandem parking may take some getting used to. “Communication is key,” she says. “Does your roommate or loved one work from home while you need to hit the road before the rush hour commute? Do they have a kickball or trivia league they attend every Wednesday at 7 p.m., while you like to catch up on your shows at that time?” 

Learning one another’s schedules and routines is a must if you want to minimize any headaches that may come with a tandem parking situation. “Knowing when you need to park closer to the door (and vice versa) can save you time and energy down the road.” 

What about emergencies?

Unfortunately, tandem parking can cause some extra maneuvering in the event of an emergency or a spur of the moment change of plans, which is why O’Brien recommends keeping a spare set of keys out so your housemate or partner can easily move your car in a pinch. 

Try before you buy (or rent).

If you’re looking into buying or renting a unit with a tandem parking space or garage, O’Brien highly recommends trying to park both cars in the space before signing the papers. “I have seen it plenty of times where one person drives an SUV that hangs out a foot too long, therefore making them park on the street,” she says. “If that is the case, make sure to read up on the street or community parking rules, to ensure your car isn’t booted or towed.”

While tandem parking can be an adjustment, she says you shouldn’t let it sway you from renting or buying your dream home! “Good communication, a parking schedule, and a backup plan can go a long way.”