How can I stop getting all these f#&%*ing parking tickets!?

Updated Jul 25 2017
meggyfin
Charleston parking ticket
By: TheDigitelCC BY 2.0

I just got my third $75 parking ticket, since moving to my new digs. I've gone from designated parking space, and never worrying about street cleaning times, to forgetting that I park on the damn street now! There's got to be a way to stop getting parking tickets in this day and age of tech and broke millennials.

So I reached out to some friends to ask what they do to avoid astronomical parking ticket fees. Here were some of their suggestions, and then I'd love to hear yours…

Set phone reminders

I set a weekly alarm to remind myself of the parking restrictions. On Mondays and Tuesdays my alarm goes off thirty minutes before street cleaning time, and, if I'm home, I go out and move my car. But parking is super-easy-to-find on my street. If yours is jam-packed, you might want to set the alarm for the day before or something. -Amy

Rent a parking spot

I used to rent a garage to where I could park my car. It sucked that it was blocks away from my apartment, but it was awesome to always have a parking space without the hassle of mounting ticket fees. -Erik

There's an app for that

You should look into something like that app by Metromile that will apparently inform you about street cleaning! -Jessica

What else!?

Any other option that I'm missing. Let's game plan this parking bullshit, Homies.

What are the ways you employ to stop getting parking tickets?

  1. Before leaving your car look around for any signs on the street and then obey them.

    Don't rely on apps or automated alerts alone. Set your own calendar reminders.

  2. Take a picture of the street cleaning sign and for the love of God make sure you look at the sign on the side you parked on (this is how I get 100% of my parking tickets, not looking at the right sign) and just set your own reminders for the night before or a reasonable amount of time.

  3. I use an app called SpotAngels! It depends on crowd-sourced data though, so it works great in a city like San Francisco, but you might have to take pictures of the parking regulation signs on your street and upload them to the app to make the alerts more accurate.

  4. Read, read and re-read the signs. Even if you have to stand there for 2 minutes like a dummy, staring until you're sure you process it all. I live in San Francisco, where there are usually at least 3 different signs with different types of restrictions for each parking spot. I've had my share of tickets, towing, and the whole mess. It's about habit-building. Always set an alarm on your phone when you park too. I agree with above – weekly alarms are great, but you need to set immediate ones yourself too, to ingrain the habit and make it something that's on your mind as a present-tense matter. I relate this habit to jangling my keys in my hand (for an auditory-sensation factor) before I ever close my trunk or car door, to make sure I didn't lock them inside. Habits are funny like that – think about what kind of learner you are (visual, auditory…etc) and make sure you put elements of that sensation into your routine.

  5. Re-read your meters. In my town, meters on the street but near the University are university controlled so there are zones with different times they're enforced and how many times you can refill them. City meters hours and time spans vary by the part of downtown are labelled by color on the pole thank heavens. But each vendor for the meters has their own app systems. Make sure before you walk away that you put money in the right spot and the right app.

    Street parking overnight, check your tires in the morning even if you're staying longer. If you see chalk lines, a cop or a meter maid just marked your tires to see if you car moves in areas where the street parking should rotate often or someone complains. If your tires are marked move your car to another spot or roll it forward. Some areas of town have 24 hr rule on spots and this how they check.

    • Rolling forward or "shuffling" to avoid the hourly time limits may be illegal in some areas, as it defeats the intent of the law. Check first rather than assume.

  6. I live in a crowded residential area with lots of public transportation. People around me with no cars rent out their driveways. I've never done it, but I have coworkers who have gone around knocking on doors and leaving fliers to see if the residents rent out their spots.
    P.S. I feel you…I've lived in the same apt for ten years and still get parking
    tickets when I'm off in the summers.

  7. Do you live near big-box stores that have large parking lots?
    I do, so when I have friends visiting, I tell them to park there. As long as its during the store's business hours, I've never had a problem. I doubt they'd check, or have any way of proving you aren't in the store because the lot is so damn big.
    The downside is my stores close at 10pm. There aren't any signs posted about *not* parking overnight….but I don't trust it. Thankfully I've never had overnight guests.

  8. As a recent parking officer, my advice is similar to everyone else: READ the signs every time you park somewhere; don't assume they're the same on every street or part of the street.

    If there are hourly parking times, don't assume that "shuffling" the car one space forward will get you out of a ticket. In many areas (including the city where I worked) this is illegal, since it defeats the point of the law, which is to give others an equal chance to park on the street. Check your local ordinances before making assumptions and getting a ticket.

    Set reminders on your phone to that you remember to go out and move your car to another area.

    When in doubt, CALL your local parking authority and ask questions about what the rules are, how they work, and how to best comply to avoid a ticket. Trust me, (most) parking officers would rather help you avoid a ticket by educating you about the rules, than ruin your day with a heavy ticket.

    • I got a ticket for this in Oakland, California. You can't park anywhere on the same block in the same day unless you switch sides of the street.

  9. Might seem drastic, but I changed my mode of transportation. I lived on a narrow street with no parking and new condos being built all around with only minimal parking going in. There were no "pay per month" lots nearby and it was taking me an additional 30-45 frustrating minutes to hunt for parking, find a spot I could fit in, and walk to my place from said spot.

    Eventually something had to give. I couldn't change my home. I liked my job even though it required a commute. My car was a Subaru Outback, aging, and (while reliable) had some upcoming expenses that would not be cheap.

    Solution – sold the car. Bought a Fiat and a motorcycle (I know, 2 vehicles!) and haven't looked back. As I use the bike more it is becoming harder to justify having the Fiat, so maybe I'll eventually go to 2-wheels and a rental-car service if needed, but for now I have a car I can squeeze into tight spots and a bike I can squeeze into even tighter spots if needed.

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