Trying to find parking can be difficult. VERY difficult. As a towing company, we know this as well as anybody else; most of our calls are to move vehicles that are parked somewhere they shouldn’t be. The struggle to find parking in cramped downtown spaces is bad enough in any city you’ll go to, but add in the university like we have in San Marcos and your car can start to feel like a burden.
What can you do to make finding parking a little easier? It helps to be familiar with everything you need to look out for—all the signs, restrictions, and rules that tell you where you should avoid parking. This list will help familiarize you with a few of the parking obstacles you should watch out for.
Restricted Parking Signs
Not all parking spaces or lots are created equal. If you find an open spot along a downtown street or a new parking lot you’re unfamiliar with, keep a close eye out for signs that restrict parking. Some lots require permits to use, while other spaces are only available to the public during posted hours. Others still can restrict the amount of time you can leave your vehicle in a given parking spot, and of course don’t forget about handicapped parking.
All parking restrictions are required by law to be clearly posted on signs, so keep a close eye out and read every sign!
No Parking Signs
Rather than designating parking spaces reserved for certain times or people, these signs indicate areas where no one should park at any time. They could be posted along curbs that need to be open for emergency vehicle access, or they could simply be posted on a private lot whose owner wants to keep unauthorized vehicles off of. Often, curbside “no parking” signs will include arrows indicating which areas of the curb are off-limits and which are.
Pay extra attention to these signs, as they are usually strictly enforced with heavy fines. It’s better to take a few more minutes to find a legal parking spot rather than risking leaving your vehicle in a no parking zone.
To be accessible by firefighters when they’re needed, fire hydrants are required to be clear of any obstacles along the curb within a certain range. Within this range, no one is allowed to park, idle, or pick up/drop off at any time. While this range can vary depending on the state you’re in, it’s usually around 15 feet to the left and right of the hydrant.
There may be signs or a red curb to indicate this no-parking zone, but sometimes you might find hydrants without any no-parking indication nearby. You should still avoid parking here! Always watch out for fire hydrants, as it’s illegal to park near them even if no indication is given.
That brings us to the final parking obstacle you should look out for: color-coded curbs. No doubt you’ve seen these and have a general idea of what you should look out for, but we hope to clear up some of the details here.
Red curbs mean absolutely no parking, idling, or pick ups/drop offs (although buses can stop here). White, on the other hand, means you cannot park but can idle just long enough to pick up or drop someone off, while yellow curbs will have signs posted indicating how long someone can idle nearby. The only colored curb where parking is permitted is green, but these are strictly short-term! Signs should be posted, but it’s usually a 10 minutes or less rule with green curbs. So watch out for these colors and avoid them all if you’re looking to park for a while!
Most of this information is pretty simple or self-explanatory, so you shouldn’t have much trouble understanding these parking restrictions. The difficult part is always remembering to look out for them. Whenever you park your vehicle, take a minute to look around to make sure there are no signs or colored curbs you didn’t notice pulling in. This extra step could save you some hefty fines.
Alternatively, if you’re on the other side of this story and find a vehicle parked in your lot without authorization, give us a call and we’ll take care of it! May good parking fortune fall upon both spot seekers and lot owners!