The parking authority in New York City is notorious for issuing hefty parking tickets and fines. In fact, New York City is the most ticketed city in the US when it comes to the total revenue generated from parking tickets. When parking on the street, make sure you know all about NYC street parking so that your time and money are well spent, rather than spent doing damage control. Though at first NYC street parking seems confusing (alternate side parking? What?), it’s actually not so bad. Follow these simple parking rules and you’re sure to have a great time in New York City.
General NYC Street Parking Rules
For starters, the entire city is a designated tow-away zone. That means that if you are found in violation of any parking rules, you could be towed. NYC is so serious about towing that the NYPD even has their own fleet of tow trucks. This city doesn’t play around. NYC street parking is completely unique. If you’re visiting, many of the signs may look different. If you’re a resident, parking rules can still take you by surprise if you’re not careful. To avoid hefty fines and tickets it’s absolutely crucial to familiarize yourself with the signs and protocols they correspond to.
Here’s how to avoid being towed right off the bat:
- Make sure your vehicle registration and inspection stickers are up to date, if applicable.
- Never, ever double park your vehicle. If there’s already a car parked beside the curb, do not park beside it. Ever.
- Do not park within 15 feet of either side of a fire hydrant. Don’t rely on those nifty painted curbs, either. They lie.
- Be diligent. When you park, be sure you find every sign that’s near you. Signs change when construction occurs. There may be temporary signs posted with different parking regulations than you’re used to for that particular street.
- Pay attention to alternate side parking rules in order to avoid tickets and towing related to street cleanup.
- If there is an arrow on the signs you see, those indicate in which direction the regulation applies.
- On major holidays, you’re able to park in many more areas and don’t need to pay the meter. On other (religious) holidays, alternate side parking is also suspended. See further below for the details on suspensions.
What is alternate side parking?
Alternate side parking is an NYC traffic law that dictates which side of the street cars can be parked on any given day. It exists to allow an efficient flow of traffic, even on days when street cleaning occurs. The dates vary and rules are only suspended on major holidays. To learn more, check out our detailed guide on NYC alternate side parking.
What do all of these parking signs in NYC even mean?
Here are all of the signs you’ll see while trying to find parking in NYC.
- Street cleaning sign
This sign indicates when alternate side parking regularly occurs for that particular block. The sign indicates when vehicles are not allowed to park. The broom on the sign identifies the sign as a location subject to street cleaning regulations. Remember, these regulations are also suspended on several religious holidays.
- No parking anytime sign
If you see this sign, you may not park at this location at any time. You may stop to load and unload packages at curbside and you may drop off and pick up passengers but leave your car at your own risk.
- No parking sign with hours specified
This particular sign indicates an interval within which vehicles are not allowed to park at certain times on certain days.
- No standing anytime sign
This doesn’t mean you physically can’t stand in this area, but it does mean your car can’t. In this area, you may not wait or stop for any reason, not even to load or unload packages. You may load and unload passengers if it’s in a hurry, but no idling.
- No standing sign with hours specified
This particular sign indicates an interval within which vehicles are not allowed to stand at certain times on certain days.
- No stopping sign
If you see this sign, keep driving. You may not stop at this location for any reason. Doesn’t matter if you need to tie your shoe, stretch your legs, take a bite of your lunch: do not do it here. No picking up or dropping off passengers or packages at any time.
- No stopping sign with hours specified
This particular sign indicates an interval within which vehicles are not allowed to stop at certain times on certain days.
- Parking Meter sign
If you see this sign, you may park here but must pay for parking (depending on the times and days listed on the posted sign). Pay at the kiosk and place the receipt in a visible location on your dashboard. You may also pay using the mobile app of the city (“ParkNYC”) by punching in the Zone # visible on the bottom of the sign.
On major legal holidays, NYC parking meters are suspended and you’re able to park here as long as you need to.
- Bus stop sign
If you see this, you’re in a reserved parking area for busses. The sign will indicate which buses stop there, their destination, and the bus stop address. No standing regulations apply, so do not wait or stop to load/unload packages. If you’re quick, you can expeditiously drop off or pick up passengers.
- Taxi stand sign
Only taxis are allowed to wait in these areas. No standing regulations apply. This means you may not wait to stop and unload packages, but you can quickly load or unload people. Just don’t get in the way of taxis as they pull up.
- No standing except for commercial vehicles sign
Unless you’re in a commercial vehicle, you may not stand here. No picking up or dropping off packages or waiting for any reason. You may drop off and pick up passengers if you do it in a hurry.
Where to find Free Parking or Cheap Parking?
Many neighborhood streets offer free and cheap parking if you know where to look, but prices vary block by block. Visit our comprehensive NYC street parking map to see which streets offer free parking and which streets offer metered parking. You’ll also find the cheapest parking garage and parking lot options. Every price is labeled, so you’ll exactly what to expect.
Is Parking Suspended Today?
NYC parking rules are suspended during holidays but you need to be careful since suspensions vary by parking rule.
Alternate Side Parking
Alternate Side Parking NYC is suspended on major legal holidays and on the religious holidays listed here.
No Parking, No Standing, No Stopping
On major holidays, you’re able to stop, stand, and park your car anywhere, unless you’re on a street where those rules are in effect seven days a week (for example, “No Standing Anytime”).
NYC parking meter regulations are also suspended on major legal holidays.
Major Legal Holidays for 2018
New Year’s Day – Mon Jan 1, 2018
Memorial Day – Mon May 28, 2018
Independence Day – Wed Jul 4, 2018
Labor Day – Mon Sep 3, 2018
Thanksgiving Day – Thurs Nov 22, 2018
Christmas Day * – Tues Dec 25, 2018
And that’s it! Just remember to keep your wits about you while you search for NYC street parking. For the most simple parking experience, the SpotAngels app will allow you to find open spots in real-time while on the go and alert you when alternate side parking is happening. The app is free and available on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.