How to Park Like a New Yorker: A Guide to NYC Parking Rules

It’s no secret that New Yorkers have a reputation for talking fast and moving fast! But if you’ve ever tried to navigate New York City streets in a car, you’ll understand why. It’s not just the hustle and bustle of morning rush hour that results in the need to move so quickly. It’s the parking.

NYC parking rules can be a minefield of confusion. Urgent construction work, street cleaning, and sometimes no reason at all can be the cause of hours spent looking for parking in New York. Not fun!

Over the years, we’ve had to deal with side parking in NYC more than most. As New York natives navigating the country’s busiest streets in moving trucks, Lou and the guys have mastered the ins-and-outs of parking across the five boroughs.

So let us, the experts, tell you everything you need to know about New York City parking rules.

What is Alternate Side Parking in New York?

NYC alt side parking is a feature everyone who owns a vehicle within the city’s limits has to deal with. It’s something our movers also have to be aware of when helping New Yorkers move from one apartment to another.

It means that parked vehicles need to be cleared from specific streets at certain times so the Department of Sanitation can clean the streets. Most New Yorkers will deal with this once or twice per week. If you’ve ever seen a street sweeper spraying water around while humming a loud broom and vacuum system, that’s a neighborhood where alt side parking in NY is in effect.

Fail to move your car, and you’ll receive a parking ticket. But why is this rule specific to New York?

It’s been around since the 1950s because officials wanted to clean up the city. The Department of Sanitation was already working hard to clean the streets, but parked cars remained an obstacle.

In the end, an inability to clean each neighborhood meant alternate side parking in New York came into force. In short, without this law, street sweepers would be unable to prevent massive accumulations of garbage. And if you’ve ever been to NYC in the summer, you know it’s important to keep the garbage piles a non-issue.

NYC Parking Rules: The Basics

We won’t deny it – driving in New York City as a newbie can be chaotic (and honestly, it can be for us natives too). And we’re not talking about the consistent chorus of honking and close calls on the busy FDR Drive. The complexity of NYC parking rules is enough to make your head spin.

If you want to avoid your day being ruined by a Department of Sanitation employee or an NYPD traffic cop, take the time to learn these NYC parking basics.

Alternate Side Parking Hours

This pesky law is in effect throughout the whole year although there are a few exceptions to this rule, such as major holidays. All streets with scheduled sweeping times will have ASP signs visible on the sidewalk. It’s your responsibility to move your vehicle and this is New York – you won’t get away with claiming you didn’t know (even if it’s true).

If you’re fancy and you have valet parking or an off-site garage, you’re lucky enough to be able to avoid these rules. However, anyone who has to deal with on-street parking could find their vehicle fined or, worse, if it acts as an obstruction, towed.

The average street sweeper in NYC runs like clockwork. The Department of Sanitation is a tightly run operation to keep things moving. Our main piece of advice is to set a recurring reminder on your phone (with a loud alarm) and never assume the street sweeper will be late.

Note that metered streets are swept daily, so don’t be tempted to leave your car there overnight. Only non-metered streets are swept on specific days. 

Finally, sweeping times have been limited to 90 minutes, whereas they were previously three hours until the 2000 reforms. New York City has some exceptions regarding specific neighborhoods that will be swept less, such as Red Hook in Brooklyn and Washington Heights in Manhattan.

Once again, it’s your responsibility to make yourself aware of how this works. A ticket may not be that expensive, but getting your car towed and having to reclaim it is costly and time consuming.

How Do I Know When Alternate Side Parking is in Effect?

Alternate side parking is not the same in every neighborhood. If your buddy lives across town, his timings will differ from yours. NYC alternate side parking today in your neighborhood means someone else in a different neighborhood gets to rest easy knowing their car doesn’t need to be moved. 

There are several ways to know whether alternate side parking is in effect in your area. Use the app and Twitter resources we mentioned above or look for the following: 

  • Parking signs will always have sweeping times
  • Special ASP signs
  • Giant street sweepers and/or nobody parked on the street

What about when they’re done? The Department of Sanitation has a 90-minute to a three-hour window to complete their sweeping. Generally, they’re pretty efficient at what they do, so you’re free to repark your car without worrying about getting fined or towed when that window ends.

Alternate Side Parking: Suspensions

To make matters even more confusing, there are suspensions of NYC alt side parking every year. These dates may differ every so often. Make yourself aware of the calendar for that year to avoid being caught out.

So, what are the reasons why these particular NYC parking rules could be suspended?

Holidays

Holidays are the main times when alternate side parking may be suspended. Most holidays fall on the exact dates every year, such as Christmas and New Year. You’ll need to look out for holidays that don’t fall on the same date annually, such as Labor Day and Easter.

You can find a calendar of the different holidays on the Department of Transportation’s website. There are also several apps and other avenues that can give you automatic notifications of holidays.

Snowstorms

New York usually receives a few big snowstorms every year. Snow on the ground doesn’t always mean that the alternate side parking rules have been suspended, however.

Look for weather alerts. Watch the local news, check out the Twitter account or subscribe to alerts for instant updates on whether a major snowstorm is heading in and what it could mean for NYC alt side parking.

Emergency

Occasionally, major emergencies may also impact the city’s cleaning schedule. Major natural disasters can also be responsible for an emergency suspension of NYC parking rules.

One of the most recent examples was Hurricane Ida. The tropical storm washed over New York and New Jersey, shutting down most of the city’s transportation and causing mass flooding in certain areas.

If there’s an emergency you’ve been told to hunker down, chances are you don’t need to worry too much about alternate side parking.

How to Get Notified About Upcoming Suspensions

It’s tough to know when suspensions are right around the corner. They may appear with only a day or two’s notice in some cases. But if there’s an NYC parking suspension in force, there are fast and easy ways to find out. 

So, what are some options for finding out about upcoming suspensions?

  • Email Notifications – You can subscribe to the city’s specialized email alert service. Give them your email, and they’ll send you a message if alt parking rules in your area are being suspended in the near future.
  • ThirdParty Apps – There is also a selection of third-party apps that have also come onto the market for Android and iPhone that can tell you about any suspensions. One of the most popular is the city’s NYC311 app
  • Twitter – The city has a regularly updated Twitter feed containing information about any alternate side parking rules you need to be aware of.
  • Online NYC Parking Map – Check out the Department of Transportation’s online NYC parking map for a complete overview of where these parking rules are in effect. It updates in real-time, so you’ll find it here if you need to know about alternate side parking in Brooklyn, Queens, or whichever neighborhood you’re spending time in that day.

With so many resources, it’s easy to stay on top of when parking rules are in effect or when they’ve been suspended. 

NYC Alternate Side Parking FAQs

Even experienced New Yorkers sometimes find it confusing to understand the various parking rules associated with the cleaning up of the city. As movers in the country’s most populous city, we’ve seen it all. We’re now experts in NYC parking rules, so here are answers to some of the most common questions we had when we were first starting out. 

How much is a parking ticket for an ASP violation?

Parking tickets for ASP violations range from $45 to $60. However, if your vehicle is blocking the road, the Department of Sanitation will have your vehicle towed. If this happens, it could cost you hundreds of dollars to get it back. Plus, you’ll have to pay the ASP violation ticket anyway.

Practically all New Yorkers have experienced these parking tickets in the past, but if you prepare in advance, you can avoid the chances of getting stung.

Can you park after the street sweeper has gone by?

This is perhaps the most significant point of confusion of all. Plenty of people have seen the street sweeper go past and then moved their cars back onto the street. Naturally, you’d assume they’re done, right? Wrong. Doing this can also invite a parking ticket.

Legally, you cannot park your car during the alternate side parking window. The reason for this isn’t bureaucratic but practical. Occasionally, a street sweeper will go over a street more than once. It’s more common in autumn when fallen leaves can clog the vacuums. 

Moral of the story: Don’t move your car back into place until the window has passed.

What are the other parking rules in NYC you should know about?

Failing to repark your car appropriately could also get you slapped with a fine, but there are so many more rules you need to be aware of when it comes to New York alternate side parking. Some of the main parking signs to keep an eye out for:

  • No Stopping – In these locations, you cannot stop to pick someone up, unload goods, or wait in your car.
  • No Standing – No standing signs allow you to drop off or pick up passengers, but you can’t wait in your car or start unloading.
  • No Parking – These signs allow you to drop off or pick up passengers or goods, but you’re not allowed to wait in your car or leave it.

You also need to be aware that you can’t park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant or double park. Parking enforcement officers are always on the prowl in New York. Remember, towing is always fair game when you commit a parking violation here.

How will the 2022 reforms change things?

Reforms to the way alternate side parking works are already scheduled for 2022. These could catch you out if you’re still running on the old rules, so brush up on the new laws.

The biggest change you need to be aware of is that if a street has ASP restrictions on more than a single day, it’ll always be cleaned only on the last day of the week. For example, if one side of the street has ASP restrictions on Mondays and Thursdays, it’ll only be swept on Thursday.

There are no changes to commercial streets or streets that were already only scheduled to be cleaned once per week.

How do I know if I received an ASP ticket?

Enforcement officers in New York are free to ticket a car every three hours for practically any violation. While you don’t have to worry about repeat ticketing in terms of the ASP regulations, you need to know how to pay it.

These tickets work in precisely the same way as any other parking ticket. You’ll receive a letter in the mail with information on how to pay it, or you can simply read the physical ticket itself. In most cases, you’ll be able to cover the cost of your unpaid parking ticket online.

Moving? Leave It to the Experts 

New York is the greatest city in the world, but its parking situation is less than ideal. And if you think it’s a headache on a regular day, try figuring out how to park a moving truck on a busy street on street cleaning day. No thanks! Moving is stressful enough – instead of freaking out about parking on your big day, leave it to Lou.  

Lou Moves You is your local moving company, built and run by New York natives. We’ve lived in this great city our whole lives and at this point, we know the NYC parking rules by heart. We’ll always manage ASP restrictions to ensure your move goes off without a hitch and without a parking ticket.  

So don’t stress about parking and leave it to the chillest movers in NYC. Contact Lou for your free quote today.