'You Don't Own The Street' And Other Parking Vexations: [Block Talk]

ACROSS AMERICA — It may bug and irritate you that your neighbor’s holiday guests have taken the on-street parking and there is no place near your house for your guests.

But there’s no need to go full-on Grinch, according to readers who answered our informal survey for Block Talk, Patch’s neighborhood etiquette column, about how to handle competition for on-street parking during the holidays

Public streets are fair game. Police will tell you this if you complain. So might Patch reader Mike.

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“You don’t own the street,” Mike said, adding that people who try to enforce parking rules that exist only in their imaginations “are entitled jerks.”

Mike lives in an apartment complex and gets a parking spot in his lease. If someone takes it, he turns the matter over to the apartment manager to resolve.

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“I live in an apartment and my neighbor does this all the time,” lamented Tara. “She has a spot, insists on taking mine, and then has a friend come over. I have just let it go. What can I do? It is the street.

“I feel it’s rude, though, because I have lived here for 12 years she has been here for six months,” she said. “People do not have common courtesy.”

It’s not just the woman in the neighboring apartment who lacks manners, it’s her homeowner neighbors, Tara said.

“They know we live in an apartment on a residential street, and yet they will take ours and not use their driveway. No common decency anymore.”

She added, “I get mad, but just keep driving until I find an open spot.”

Montgomeryville-Lansdale (Pennsylvania) Patch reader Bill doesn’t get agitated and parks around the corner if he can’t claim parking near where he lives. But, he said, “If it’s an assigned spot, have them towed.”

Rose, who also lives in an apartment in a residential area, has it figured out.

“I don’t move my car,” she said. “Nobody takes my spot.

“It is also not fair,” Rose continued. “Private houses have a garage and driveways, and they park their car on the street, taking up two spots. How do you handle that?”

People who park in a way that prevents others from claiming open spaces are in a special class of entitlement that lacks altruism and team spirit, some readers said.

“My neighborhood parking is very tight, but in some areas, you can fit two cars comfortably, and I hate neighbors who park their little car dead center so no one else can park,” said Hatboro-Horsham (Pennsylvania) Patch reader Lynn.

Considerate neighbors and their guests park as close to the end of an open space as they can to leave room for another car, readers said.

Parking is restricted to one side of the street in Betty’s neighborhood. People learn to adjust, even if begrudgingly, the Naugatuck (Connecticut) Patch reader said.

“There’s nothing you can do; it’s public parking,” Betty said. People and their guests park “wherever they can” and “think they own” the street, and as a result, “we have no room,” she said.

It’s not just the holidays that are a problem for Sunset Park (New York) Patch reader Lois. Finding a different parking space is a regular thing for her.

“I live across the street from a bowling alley,” Lois said. “It sucks. They have no parking lot.”

Here are some ideas to address parking before it becomes a problem:

Most towns and cities have ordinances specifying how long a car can remain parked in the same spot without moving before it’s considered abandoned. If a car has been parked on the street. If that’s the case, a call to the code enforcement office may solve the problem.

About Block Talk

Block Talk is a regular Patch series on neighborhood etiquette — and readers provide the answers. If you have a topic you’d like for us to consider, email beth.dalbey@patch.com with “Block Talk” as the subject line.

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