Street parking rant


#1

I mostly need to rant about something, but I guess I have a few questions at the end.

I own a new Jeep that is my primary transportation, but I also own an old Ford F250 pickup that I’ve been slowly working on that I drive occasionally. The truck has a 460 V8 and is modified a bit, so it only gets about 5 mpg. Needless to say I don’t put a whole lot of miles on the truck. The problem is where I park the truck. I have a single garage in the duplex I live in, but the garage door is too low (only about 6’6" and the truck is about 6’10"), so I can’t park it in the garage. I could park the truck behind my Jeep, but then I would have to back the truck out every day to get my Jeep out. I’d prefer not to do this because it is inconvenient, and also multiple cold starts per day without significant driving seems like it wouldn’t be great for the engine. So I park it in the street next to my driveway.

A little info about the street- I live on the corner of a busy street and a quiet neighborhood street. My driveway is off the quiet street, and I park on the quiet street. I can’t park on the busy street in front of my house because there is a bus stop in front of my house. The quiet street is normal width, and parking is allowed on both sides, with the exception of the first 15 feet off the busy street (sign says "no parking here to corner:). There are only 4 driveways on my block (street is about 200 yards long). I park along the side of my house and next to my driveway. I drive the truck once or twice per week, usually to work and back.

So today a police officer comes to my door and says that someone has complained about where my truck is parked. Apparently the person is a friend of the chief of police and quite wealthy. The police officer acknowledged that I am parked legally, and accepted my word that I move the car at least once per week (vehicles must be moved once per week per city law). However, he said that the “no parking here to corner” sign could be interpreted (incorrectly, per his admission) to mean “no parking from here to the corner 200 yards away rather than the corner 15 feet away”. Thus, by that interpretation, I could hypothetically park in the 15 feet between the sign and the curb if I had a smart car or a scion iQ, but the rest of the block is off limits.

So long story short, he said that I was parked legally, but he still asked me to move the truck anyway because one rich old lady apparently objected to me parking there. The thing that really annoys me is that I feel my truck is being singled out because it is an old truck. I feel like if it were a new Audi rather than an old pickup this would be a non-issue. Basically, the old rich person doesn’t want to see my truck because pickups are for hicks and not for upstanding well-heeled suburbanites. I keep the truck looking presentable and my property is well-kept. I’m not exactly the criminal type (I’m a resident physician at a local hospital and I work about 70 hours per week so I’m not having loud parties or otherwise being a bad neighbor). I know the truck looks somewhat out of place in a suburban neighborhood, but I’ve had a few neighbors compliment the truck so it isn’t a complete eyesore. I just feel like my vehicle is being singled out not because it is parked illegally or inconveniencing anyone, but simply because it is an old hillbillymobile and that is unacceptable per se. I genuinely feel that the issue is class and money rather than a parking problem.

So here (finally) are the questions-

  1. am I wrong (morally, ethically, or whatever) to park an old, admittedly somewhat ugly, truck on the street where it is not blocking anything and parking for others is ample? A few considerations- parking is ample on the street; I don’t actually need the truck and I keep it only for my enjoyment; I could hypothetically park in my driveway although it would be very inconvenient for me and my neighbor who shares the driveway.

  2. what the heck do I do? Should I just keep parking there? I’m just a bit confused since the cop said I was parked legally and appeared to be obeying the laws. However, he seemed to indicate that my vehicle sort of maybe could possibly be interpreted as parked illegally, so I doubt this is the end of it. So far I plan to just park it on opposite sides of the street (maybe one side Friday through Monday and the other Tuesday to Thursday, or something like that). I also have considered just selling it, although I’d prefer to keep it. Another option would be to move, and that is an option I’ve been considering anyway for other reasons, but that would be a pain. Any ideas?


#2

Oh boy. No you aren’t wrong and that’s the lamest stupidist interpretation of “no parking here to corner” I’ve ever heard. He was just trying to figure out a way to get off the hook. Now, you have every right to park it in front of your house or in front of someone else’s house for that matter, but I have to tell you, I also get a little irritated if the quality of the iron on the street isn’t up to my expectations. I would never complain to anyone or call the police, but just to be honest I don’t like it. I don’t like any cars on the street but I still complained to the Mayor when they tried to restrict street parking. Now what’s really irritating is my new neighbor has a commercial truck in his driveway and there is nothing any of us can do about it as long as its on concrete.

So guess I’m just if you could move it around a little that might help or park it at the hospital for a while. I sure wouldn’t like someone parking in front of my house though for any length of time. People should park in front of their own houses. Just trying to be honest.


#3

I can’t offer much advice but maybe taking a few pics of the parked pickup and and telling the cop to go ahead and write the ticket would have been the option I chose.

If the truck is legally tagged and operable then to heck with what anyone else thinks. Sounds like the old rich lady just wants something to whine about. Maybe there’s a few city regulations that she’s in violation of…


#4

Difficult situation. Is there any parking any where else in town you can park?

As a resident, I moved to a small town and rented a room from an old lady. My family wasn’t with me and everybody figured I am a single guy, I am also foreigner, so overall was not very welcome there. I tried and made friends with the little old landlord lady. Helped her with her medical problems, bills and also sometimes fixed stuff for her. Things got better but never perfect. A few of the neighbors landed in the hospital at times and were happy with my care-so overall things got smooth.

I am wondering if you figured who this rich lady is and paid a visit to her for whatever excuse, maybe in scrubs and let her know you could be of help things might change.

There is a lot of talk in this country about not “profiling”, but everybody still does it. So a guy with a big truck and then a Jeep gets profiled a certain way. So does a middle eastern guy who is also 6 ft tall and sometimes a bit grumpy.


#5

I had a colleague who purchased a house in an upscale, snooty neighborhood. He was using his riding mower to mow the lawn and was informed that in his neighborhood, he was expected to use a John Deere mower. My colleague’s mower was a house brand of some sort and was not green. He applied a coat of green paint to the mower. I had another colleague who parked across the street from the building where we had offices. The area was the most upscale neighborhood in town. One of the residents went to the president of the university to complain about the car being parked in the neighborhood and this colleague was called in. Since my colleague had tenure, he told the president on no uncertain terms that he was parked in a legal place and where he parked the car was none of the president’s business.

I have a next door neighbor who has a beautiful, big Pace Arrow RV. He had it in a storage area in the winter, but it was vandalized. He asked if I objected if he parked it in his own driveway. I told him I had no problem with that as long as he didn’t complain about my 30 year old Oldsmobile in my driveway. Ultimately, his son bought my Oldsmobile. A physician whose back lot is bordered by the street that goes past my house asked permission to build a wood-working shop with an entrance off our street. I told him that I didn’t have a problem, but would rather he put in an auto salvage yard so that I would have access to parts for my cars. I have had other neighbors ask me if the RV or the woodworking shop bothered me. I told them I had no problem with either one. My only problem with my neighbor with the RV is that he broke an agreement we made. I agreed not to mow my yard until he mowed his and he would not mow his yard until I mowed mine. We thought we could at least make it to mid July. Unfortunately, he caved in first to his wife and mowed his yard. Mrs. Triedaq then made me get our mower out.


#6

Park the jeep behind the truck, I am wondering if parking off the driveway has any bearing.


#7

This discussion falls hand in hand with the one about BMW drivers.
You get into ‘‘these kind of people’’ and this is what you get.
Don’t know why money makes so many act like this but it sure seems related.

Conversely ;
I live in a culdesac of what migh be considered money. married doctors next door , then a pediatric doctor next, then a veteranarian, then the owner of the lpg gas palce, then the owner of a paving company, then a hvac contractor, then another doctor, next is another nurse ( my wife is too ) and a couple more.
nobody…
NOBODY
complains about each other’s multiple vehicles.
one is always parked in the drainage trough between houses. Two of us have an old truck parked with our daily drivers. One has many many ‘‘toys’’ like travel trailer , boat, ATVs, other trailers plus his three daily drivers. One has at least two un-driveable project trucks. Most of us have too many vehicles for our garages or just don’t use the garages.
Yet it’s not a problem for anyone at all because we …work together !.. not complain at each other.


#8

The street is public property so if you know where this lady lives and its not too far, just go park in front of her house.


#9

You should feel free to park your truck wherever it is legal to park it. It’s good to be considerate of the neighbors too, within reason, so if there is another spot to park that isn’t inconvenient to you, and doesn’t place your truck or its possession in danger, park there instead. In any event, keep you truck clean in appearance, at least most of the dirt and dust hosed off once a week, don’t leave a pile of junk in the truck bed, and use a broom or leaf-blower to remove leaves and other debris in the area where you park. Don’t allow debris to accumulate under the truck and create a neighborhood eyesore. Be sure to obey all the parking laws, like proximity to the curb, not parking on the sidewalk, facing the right direction, clearing all driveways, etc. Expect that the police – well they may not play 100% fair with you given the situation – so they may be out to write you a ticket for any reason they can think of. Taking photos is a good idea, documenting the truck is legally parked and the area and truck are clean, as above. Also write out detailed notes of every conversation you have with the police and others (like the complaining neighbor) on this topic, time and date stamped, name of person you talked to, any witnesses, etc. In case you need to refer to the exact language used at some future date, like in traffic court. When in court, if you pull out a notebook to reference when talking about your case, that puts you in good standing with the judge and increases your chance of a fair hearing.

Also, you can turn the situation around too. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Is the rich lady who’s complaining obeying all the city’s laws? Not just parking, but all the city ordinances? Does she leave her trash cans out too long after the pick up day? Does she allow her trees and shrubs to grow out of bounds and obstruct pedestrian traffic or impede sight lines needed for traffic safety? Does she keep her yard neat? All can be effective ammo if you get into a fight with her. If you find you are effective at this kind of battle, consider taking up patent law! … lol … seriously, best of luck.


#10

You’re with-in your rights. Park there. You have every right to do so the same as an Audi R8 would. Let them take you to court and have the judge rule in your favor. You’re an outstanding citizen so don’t let the hag get to you. You should start your truck everyday because it is good for it. If you don’t your seals will dry out and you’ll be spending money fixing leaks. good luck. Stand your ground.


#11

just starting the truck and letting it idle is worse than leaving it to sit for extended periods of time.


#12

I’d just continue with the status quo and see what neighbor’s next move is.

Maybe she’ll just let it go when her efforts are fruitless. The next most likely scenario is she’ll escalate. This would require some sort if response from you, but cross that bridge when you come to it, IF you come to it.


#13

Technically, no parking signs near a corner are for very good reasons. It inhibits vision and can easily cause an accident. Now, you have a very large vehicle so even though it can be parked back a ways, it could still be causing a problem. You think there is just one person ? There could be a bunch who are really inconvenienced if close to the corner. I would then park it anywhere but well away from the corner in front of your lot where it is legal and not push the envelope…and not given it a second thought. If your lot is say, 50 feet wide, park it in the last 20 feet. That will show you are considerate. After that, you have no other obligations to neighbors who have too much time on their hands. I would go to the town office and get an interpretation of the no parking sign, in writing, then show it to anyone who cares, inluding the cop as it appears he has too much time on his hands too. The conversation of parking 200 yards from the other end is ludicrous on his part.


#14

Being the trouble-maker that I am, I’d be tempted to park the truck in front of the house where the person lives that filed the complaint.

That being said, is there a place on your property where you can create a second driveway? One of my mother’s neighbors replaced a section of fence with a gate and put down gravel to create a special parking place for his boat in his backyard.


#15

This is bullying, and the old lady is using the police to bully you. I would continue to park in any legal spot you want. No one can stop you from doing so. Don’t cave in to this despicable behavior. If the police stop back with the same request, tell them you are being bullied and that you will not stand for it. If it continues, go to an elected representative for your area and register a complaint. There is nothing they love more than putting overreaching government employees in their place. She will humiliate the police chief in a most public way and he will think at least twice before doing it again. The only concession I might make is to alternate parking at the end of the no parking zone with parking a space or two behind that one. You might even take pictures to document the movement. Another possibility is to contact a local TV station with the complaint. Unless Mean Old Lady owns the station, they will be pleased to embarrass both her and the police chief. They might even get him fired if this continues, and he would deserve that. Oh, and if she owns the station, go to a competitor and see how fast they jump on it.


#16

If I were you, I would look into whether your state has an open records law that might extend to police records. If so, get the name of the complainant and then write them a nice letter to describe your situation and ask if they would give you a little tolerance until you can leave the neighborhood whether you will or not. That will likely keep them quiet as it should be enough to make it known that you know for certain who they are and where they live.

Meanwhile, keep doing what you are doing, that is legally parking your vehicle but moving it often enough to stay within the law. The cop has done his job, has talked to you as requested. If he gives you a ticket, it had better be good enough to stand up in court. I have a suspicion that a cop would prefer to not issue a ticket that does not stand up in court as that becomes part of his performance record. Make sure that your vehicle is in legal condition with all lights functioning including the rear license plate light, no broken windshield and no bald tires. Make it difficult for the cop to find an excuse to make you pay a fine or waste your time going to court for no law broken.

If your pickup is rusty, it might not hurt to get a rattle can of paint to cover up the rust until you get around to doing better one day.


#17

I also think that the officer did not want to talk to you, but considered it a command performance. And no amount of nice-talk changes the onerous undertones of visit from the police with “a word to the wise”. Any escalation on the OPs part should only occur if the police continue to pester him.


#18

Given that everything @Elpatrino1977 says is true, it is not a police matter. All that’s required of the police is an occasional drive by to see if OP’s car is legally parked and moved in accordance with local ordinances. To have them go any further is a big waste of their time. The police are not here to bully one person on behalf of another. They are there to serve and protect everyone equally. If I were OP, I would have a stern talk with the chief. The town IMHO, could be held liable if you get another unsolicited, unrequire visit from the police on behalf of one person over another.


#19

That old lady would have loved a guy I knew a long time ago who is now deceased. He started a trucking company on nothing and became successful, and wealthy, at it. He was usually dressed in overalls and covered in diesel grime in spite of his money. His wife talked him into buying an upscale home in the NW part of OK City.

The first week in the 'hood some neighbors were complaining about his 10 year old Chevy pickup being parked in the driveway.
A week after that some neighbors were offended because he had the audacity to mow his own yard on the weekend instead of hiring it out to a yard service.

A bit ticked by now, he drove an old White Freighliner cabover that had been retired from fleet service home one Friday night and parked that out front. The truck had about 2 million miles on it, most of the paint on the front was long gone, and it puked more oil than a tanker grounded on a reef.

The neighbors were about ready to string him up over that one when many woke up on Sat. morning to find that heap sitting out in the street leaking oil all over the asphalt…

He said that it did cause his neighbors to rethink their priorities… :slight_smile:


#20

The police officer admitted you were legally parked. If someone is complaining, that’s unfortunate. Per George San Jose above, I would document everything, visit the police department and let them know about the problem, and also speak to a lawyer. If your truck is parked legally and it’s not an eyesore, the police officer is out of line.