Life in The Really Slow Lane – How to Save Your Parking Spot

In the big city, there is no greater joy than finding a parking spot right in front of the place you’re going. Circling for what feels like hours downtown to find a place – any place! – to park is right up there with being stuck in freeway traffic at rush hour. It’s all such a waste!

How much time is wasted and how much money in lost productivity, by the lack of parking? Surely, when machines rule the world, they’ll solve the problem, but for right now, it’s still up to us.

It is, of course, illegal to reserve a parking space on the street for oneself, even in front of one’s own home. It shouldn’t be, but it is. After all, you are required to keep the sidewalk safe and clear. Shouldn’t you have priority access to the parking as well?

But the fact that it SHOULD be legal to save a spot under certain circumstances creates room for a few maneuvers that serve that purpose, notwithstanding their less-than-legal nature.

Snow days

One of the situations no one would quibble with is this: If you shoveled the snow away to create a parking spot, you should have the right to park there. Technically, anyone can take that space you just shoveled, but no one would deny your inherent right to plant your Mazda Business Contract Hire there. So how do you keep the spot available while you run the shovel back to the house and jump in your Used Cars to park?

Put up a sign! Make it funny. Make it sarcastic. But above all, make it visible. Big, orange with black letters works well. (White and black blend in too well with the snow and pavement.)

You can also put out a chair, a garbage can, or that most official of implements – an orange traffic cone. Everybody knows what that means. And it will fool most people, just not the police.

As much as you may be tempted, don’t try to stop anyone who moves your stuff to make way to park. People get into fights over parking spaces.

What to do when the police arrive

When our friends the Boys in Blue pull up to take issue with your claim to the spot, you can take a couple of different tacks. The first is feigned ignorance. “Honestly, officer, I didn’t know it was illegal. It shouldn’t be, don’t you agree? I shoveled the snow; I should be allowed to reserve the space.”

This should at the very least get you off with a warning and avoid the ticket. After all, you performed a public service in shoveling the snow and who could disagree with the basic justice of your having earned the right to the space, at least for a while.

The second approach, depending upon your skill, might be to pretend it was a joke. “I know it’s not allowed. I was only joking.”

It helps if your sign is funny.

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