Snow storms often bring out the worst in neighbors who have street parking on side streets where the snow plows don't come. The age old fight is does a person who spends time digging out a parking space for their car get to claim it as their own until the snow melts or is it fair game for anyone to take as soon as they leave? Here's what the law says.
Taking a Spot is Not Against the Law
While neighborhood customs may vary, no city actually has a law that says a parking space is reserved for the person who shovels snow out of it. As long as it's a legal spot on a city street that anyone can park in it when there is no snow, anyone can legally park there after a snow storm.
Parking Spot Markers Might Be Allowed
While spot saving might not be in the law, it is a very strong custom in some areas. Often, the unofficial rule is that if someone digs their car out in the morning, they can leave a lawn chair, cone, or other marker as a way of reserving the spot so they don't have to shovel a new spot when they get back home in the evening.
Many cities at least passively tolerate this practice by setting an official or unofficial deadline by which the markers might be removed. After a few days, the spot markers must be removed or they might be considered litter or obstructing a roadway and subject to a fine.
There's Not Much You Can Do If Someone Takes Your Spot
If a lazy neighbor who was away when the snow fell pulls into your shoveled spot instead of digging out their own, there isn't much you can do about it. Cities just don't want to get involved in these kinds of disputes.
You can knock on their door and ask them to move, or leave them a note saying it wasn't a nice thing to do, but be careful not to cross the line into harassment. Also be careful about what you say because someone who is unstable might react violently.
While some people go so far as making a sign saying they will break the windows of any car who takes their spot, remember that this kind of revenge will likely get you sent directly to jail.
To learn more about the parking laws in your area or to get help fighting a fine, contact a local lawyer today.