13 Feb 2010

The Chair in “Your” Parking Space: Illegal

A DC Alert recently went out announcing the snow emergency will be lifted at 5 pm today. At that time, drivers will once again be permitted to park their vehicles on marked snow emergency routes.

Also of note is the following reminder: “While residents continue to dig out from the back-to-back snow storms, they are reminded that it is not legal in the District to reserve a parking space on a public street with cones, chairs or anything else that would obstruct someone else from using the space. Instead, residents are encouraged to work together to ensure there is enough parking available for everyone.”

Ahem, people, it’s time to gather up your folding chairs.

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22 responses to “The Chair in “Your” Parking Space: Illegal”

  1. mch says:

    Respectfully, no.

  2. kob says:

    It can take a half a day to dig out your car, something I’m not inclined to do. But if I had to take my car out, you can bet I would put a lawn chair there.

  3. Kelly says:

    I’ve never actually used a chair to hold “my” parking space in the snow, largely because I have the luxury of not relying on my car as my primary mode of transportation, so tend to just leave it parked during snow.

    However, having spent close to 10 years living in Pittsburgh, where parking chairs are common and almost always respected by one’s neighbors and visitors, I find them to be one of those cute, quirky things that builds character in our communities.

  4. whoa_now says:

    here is my problem with the chairs…most people who are out looking for parking spots…HAD to dig out their car..so yes it took you three hours to dig out of the snow so you could drive to harris teeter…but guess what it took me three hours to dig out and now I need a parking spot…because i wasn’t selfish and put a chair in the spot i dug out..so yes it sucks…but I’m taking that spot.

  5. Mollie says:

    I’m so glad that the folks in my section of the Hill have respectfully avoided parking in spaces that they didn’t dig out.

    Regardless of the illegality of reserving spaces, it’s uncool to take someone’s space at a time like this. I’ve avoided taking the car out much but each time I do, I come back and find my space. And I think, again, how awesome my neighbors are. Considering I’m carting two small kids (one in a car seat) over ice and snow, it helps that I don’t have to walk blocks to get inside.

  6. @whoa_now, but if everyone reserved their spaces – which is customary in cities up north, where I suspect a lot of the pro-reservers are originally from, wouldn’t that alleviate that issue?

    I get it’s not custom here, so I don’t do it, but I find it irritating that the folks who are so damn against the practice feel like they need to explain why it’s “wrong” or “anti-social” or “not neighborly” to people who probably just grew up that way b/c where they’re from, that’s just how things were done.

  7. With that said, I know a girl who dug out her spot — only to have hers taken. When she took someone else’s, she found her car keyed the next morning. Eek.

  8. Ben says:

    I had this exact same problem during last week’s midweek storm. I lost my spot right before the whiteout conditions after spending the better part of the afternoon digging out spots for me and my fiancee. I didn’t claim it with a chair, but there was a sign indicating it was a reserved spot. When the storm was over, I caught the lazy slob and chewed him out. I wish the tow truck would’ve come.

  9. hilly says:

    well, I find reserving a parking spot with a chair bizarre. I grew up overseas, so I didn’t realize it is actually “done” and accepted practice up north.

    To me, it seems to be the epitome of lazy, self-centered, rudeness. Why is that “your” spot? Why don’t you just leave a chair there during the day all year round? We have all had to dig out. We all need to move our car and realize that we will lose the spot when we leave. I took my husband’s car to work for days so I wouldn’t lose my own.

    It is the same mentality of people who think they are “special” and that rules of behavior don’t apply to them for some reason – like double parking to run in CVS. What makes you think you’re so special that the rules/laws don’t apply to you??

  10. Andy says:

    Well, there is digging out a spot and there is digging out a spot. One method entails completely clearing a parking space to ease entering an exiting. The other is a lazy job that took no more than 30 minutes. This method leaves a narrow clearing sufficient only for one to move their car to a spot completely clear of snow.

  11. Ben says:

    …and as the snow was beginning, I helped some of my neighbors dig out three other spots that were vacant and iced with an inch of refrozen snow. We all had our spots and could have been inside with a hot toddy. That was the thanks I got? Karma’s a bitch.

  12. Erik says:

    From my perspective, this is the real issue (hinted at above): People who do a piss poor job of clearing out their space, but then come back and take someone else’s space that is fully cleaned.

    This would include the guy who brushed the snow off his jeep and then drove over the snow b/c his car could and then when he came back he parked in a space that was completely cleaned off. My Camry is going to have a much tougher time getting into his space than he is getting into mine b/c I actually shoveled mine out.

    If everyone would be conscientious and fully clean out all of their space then there would be no need to reserve one when you leave. As long as their are lazy prats who do just enough to get their car out and then take someone else’s space when they return, I’ll be reserving a spot.

  13. Elizabeth Festa says:

    FYI–tradition or not, this is from MPD-1D Commander Kamperin, who encourages residents to contact DDOT and DPW and has forwarded reserved parking complaints I to Mayors Ward 6 MOCRS to coordinate with those agencies. “Items placed on public space should be moved. I hope residents can assist with this- if we do this we will have to likely seize items of value left on public space, do a report and place it on our property book. If necessary we will but instead of pulling officers off the street I would suggest residents put them up on curb space or call 311 and have DPW/DDOT pick up as abandoned. Thanks.”

  14. whoa_now says:

    my last comment: spot saving is bullshit if you live a densly populated area of DC. I live on the hill…I live on a block that has more cars than spots. Numerous people dug out, myself included. I actually helped others dig out..do I want a medal, no…I’d like a spot, but I know that often times I can’t park on my block anyway. The Hill is residential, mostly, meaning anyone who is driving and parking(on my block) lives around the area(overpopulated as it is)…guess what: they had to dig out their cars too, their effort was no less than mine, they are entitled to a empty parking spot regardless if I dug it out….now if I got home and saw a VA/MD license in the spot I dug out, I’d be upset..but I’d also know that the spot is not mine when I’m not there. I’m not selfish. we are going on a week with shit still in spots..get over your spoiled way of life. Do I park in spots with cones/chairs/etc: I haven’t yet, even parking many blocks away because the very spot I dug out was protected by a wooden lawn chair…but it will start today.

    No one made you move your car…you dug out your car, not the spot.

  15. Donny says:

    Don’t get so excited. Just do as I do and place the object on the sidewalk and park or if your SUV can squash it in place…..just park. The most you get is some lazy fat ass mouthing off but if that gets to be too much just bust him in the teeth and walk away.

  16. Anonymous says:

    “If everyone would be conscientious and fully clean out all of their space then there would be no need to reserve one when you leave. As long as their are lazy prats who do just enough to get their car out and then take someone else’s space when they return, I’ll be reserving a spot.”

    Unless you are talking about removing all of the snow between your car and the ones in front of it and behind it (something I have not seen anyone do), I don’t see how this would be the case. Snow in between cars eats up several spots on a block.

    And how is saving a spot “spoiled” or “selfish”? Why is it not spoiled or selfish to think you are entitled to a spot that you did not dig out? The only difference is what result you think is right.

  17. When you resort to threatening to slash someone’s tire for taking your spot, you have gone too far. From City Desk: “A Capitol Hill resident sent City Paper a pic of a sign she found on the 1200 block of I Street NE that threatens just that. Attached to a recycling container, the signage apparently is meant to reserve a snow-free parking spot the writer likely killed himself (like the rest of us) to dig out. “Park here and you better have a good spare. You’ll need it! Promise,” warns the text.”
    Full post can be found here: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2010/02/18/parking-spot-hog-park-here-and-you-better-have-a-spare/

  18. Anonymous says:

    Reality Check

    Its great “if” you have a neighborhood where everyone respects the work you put in and doesn’t take a space you worked hours to clear.

    (The reality – There are some real jerks out there and they are selfish and don’t care )

    My Solution

    Don’t damage anyone’s property, don’t fight, don’t argue.

    Make them work as hard as you did. Get your shovel and put the snow back for them. It’s a bit of work but they can now dig out and have just as much fun as you did. :o)

  19. Anonymous 2 says:

    If they take my spot, they can spend the next morning refilling their tires with air.

  20. Jeff says:

    I live in Philadelphia, and it’s been this way since the beginning of time. However when owning a car and a liscense, you take up the responsibilty of clearing your car of the elements and getting it back on the road, as does everyone else. You own the house it’s your responsibilty to shovel the sidewalk, are you gonna put a cone on your sidewalk? In the city the parking is limited all year round, how is it any different with snow on the ground. I work the night shift and these last two storms I had to shovel my car out of the parking lot at work only to come back to my block to find it empty and filled with chairs. I fullfilled my responsibilty of getting my car back on the road and so did you. How does this entitle you to that spot? After countless rounds of the adjacent blocks , I found a shabby narrow spot half shoveled with no chair or can. Parked, went to bed returned 12 hours later to have a person parked behind me to block me in. Now I’m going to be late. What entitles you to make me late for work, I didn’t bring this storm upon you. So after some 4 wheel drive and manuvering I managed to squeeze by him. I’m sure he was highly upset he didn’t get to scouled me for not knowing that was his precious spot. The fact is, you live where you live, you drive what you drive, and that’s life. Parking is first come first serve and nothing changes that.

    And for all you tire slashers out there, get a life. Someday somebody will find you and slash more than your tires. No one deserves to be scared for thier life or property because you got to park right out front of your door and they’re first option was to park at the rite aid 5 blocks away only to get towed.

    Nothing anyone says will change this tradition however. Everyone says they do it because eveyone else does it, and it’s that mob mentality that allows you to believe that you are allowed to do this. Star giving people citation for theft with your fake badge as well.

  21. Jeff, thanks for rounding this conversation out with the voice of reason. There are culprits with cones proudly still on their porches and they make me wince. Almost as much as the now ridiculous Hummers that, happily, are going now out of business.

  22. Ahmad says:

    if you are truthful with yourself, you will know that reserving a parking spot is wrong. if you admit that and do it anyway trying to save your efforts, then I woud understand. but if you argue that doing so is right then that is scary and sad when you can’t distinguish what is right and what is wrong!

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