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March 3, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Parking restriction signs

FrontBackPaul Schreiber sends in pictures of two parking restriction signs in Mountain View, California:

I was trying to park my car on a Saturday on Castro Street. The sign on the left was in front of my car and the sign on the right was behind my car. Am I supposed to obey the sign in front of our car or the sign behind it?


Just because I can:


Oh, yeah, the comment. Maybe half days?

Posted by: =David at March 3, 2006 01:57 AM

Well, if you park your car there on Saturdays, be prepared that they might cut it in half and take the front half away...

Posted by: Andreas at March 3, 2006 04:27 AM

Usually, the one that is in front of your car....

...but if it is between 8 AM and 5 PM, then it doesn't matter :-)

OTOH, here in Schenectady, NY, many of the "No Parking" signs have an arrow to tell you which direction they are talking about, and/or provide additional detail, such as "No parking here to corner". they could do better.

Posted by: Glenn Lasher at March 3, 2006 06:52 AM

after 5pm can you not park there at all, or park as long as you like?

Posted by: Victor Z at March 3, 2006 07:30 AM

And likewise, on Sundays and holidays, is there no parking at all, is it 1 hour all day instead of just 8 to 5, or is there parking 8 to 5 only but you can stay there longer than 1 hour?

Most parking signs like this really confuse me. Two of them like that just makes things worse.

Posted by: pcooper at March 3, 2006 07:56 AM

So much ambiguity!

Posted by: john russell at March 3, 2006 09:58 AM

To be safe I would always follow the sign in front. It is difficult to tell from the photos but can you see the rear sign while in the car?

Posted by: Dennis at March 3, 2006 11:32 AM


I would assume that he saw the "rear" sign first and chose to park based on it's wording. He might not have been able to see the "front" sign yet, since it was slightly farther away, almost identical, and the only difference is in the tiny text.

Posted by: engunneer at March 3, 2006 12:01 PM

Undoubtedly the first sign (the one in the rear) is relevant. The signs usually denote the _beginning_ of the zone for which they are valid. It's the same as speed limit signs...

Posted by: pinus at March 3, 2006 01:56 PM

I also hate it when they say things like

1 hour parking except weekends and legal holidays except between 9-5 except the first sundy of every month except January and March.

Posted by: _____ at March 3, 2006 03:01 PM

Just drive to the impound yard and park in there. Avoid the middleman since your car will wind up in there anyway.

Posted by: LuckyMan at March 3, 2006 03:17 PM

I'd generally suggest following whichever was the more restrictive of the signs. That way you're covered. When I see such signs and am on an ambiguous day, such as Saturday in this case, I tend to chicken out altogether and try to find parking in an area that's marked more clearly.

Posted by: Shari at March 3, 2006 03:55 PM

_@_v - pop the hood leave on the hazard light and pour out a can of old motor oil and pretend your car just "happened" to break down...

Posted by: shesnailie_@_v at March 3, 2006 05:14 PM

pcooper: I've always wondered that about signs like this as well. It's hard to tell what the 'except' excepts!

Posted by: codeman38 at March 3, 2006 05:40 PM


The sign simply says that you are allowed to park there for one hour from 8am to 5pm.

Is this the best you could come up with?

Posted by: anykey at March 3, 2006 06:05 PM

wait, anykey, but which sign is valid, the one that's on the frontal area of car, or rear?

Posted by: Skoo at March 3, 2006 06:13 PM

man, anykey must be new at this

Posted by: VIL at March 3, 2006 06:30 PM


I really feel stupid now!

Yes, this is somewhat broken now that I notice that the signs are different.

btw, I've been reading this site for a while, and am not new at this.

Posted by: anykey at March 3, 2006 11:03 PM

That's for sure, VIL.

As for the excepts, what do they except? Park here as long as you want, or don't park?

Posted by: Brian at March 3, 2006 11:03 PM

Shari there are no ambiguous days of the week.

For instance, Saturday always comes between Friday and Sunday.

The signs indicate different rules for different spaces. Whether they are justified by surrounding businesses etc. is unknown.

Stop holding up traffic and park already!

If you follow the signs as posted and still get a ticket, take a personal day from work and go to traffic court. It's a free pass to a day of stand up comedy.

Posted by: longhair at March 4, 2006 02:05 AM

The sign in front of you applies to parking beyond that sign, since it indicates where that restriction begins. The sign behind you would apply to your parking spot, since it applies all the way up to the next sign. Same as speed limits, if the one behind you says 45, and the one in front says 70, then you're in a 45 zone until you pass the 70 sign.

Posted by: John at March 5, 2006 07:08 PM

Look at it this way, if you park on Saturday, you have a 50% chance of getting nailed! Even if you do, they can only take half of your car!

Posted by: NiCK at March 6, 2006 01:48 AM

One thing I forgot to mention. There were three signs. Two of which matched, one of which was different. (I can't remember what the third sign said.)

No doubt there were other signs further down the street, but we were hungry and didn't investigate.

Posted by: paul at March 8, 2006 03:04 AM

You people are a bunch of morons. it is ONE HOUR TOTAL parking DURING THOSE HOURS. If you park there before or after those times THE SIGN DOES NOT APPLY.

Posted by: Joe at May 4, 2006 12:34 PM

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