How To Spot A Fake ‘No Parking’ Sign

HOW TO SPOT A FAKE ‘NO PARKING’ SIGN A sign like the one shown here is indicative of “a growing problem” inside the Loop, reports abc13’s Miya Shay, who claims that some homeowners and businesses are resorting to a creative way of keeping would-be parkers off the street: “If you notice,” resident Joanne Witt tells Shay, “[the sign] doesn’t have [a] police phone number and it doesn’t say where it’s going to be towed. I’m assuming it’s just put up to scare people.” And how will you know where you can park? Shay tries to clarify:Legal parking signs by the city are uniform with a red slash across a letter ‘P.’ Signs on fences and utility poles or even physical deterrents like boulders along the street are all illegal because, like it or not, city streets are open to everyone.” [abc13; previously on Swamplot] Photo: abc13, via Facebook

42 Comment

  • Many years ago, I went to visit a friend on the southwest side and parked on the street, not blocking a driveway, snug on the curb. This was a couple of houses down from my friend’s place. The owner of the house I parked in front of ran out and told me I could not park there. I pointed out there was not a sign saying “No parking” and I could indeed park there. He threatened to call the police. I told him go ahead and told him where the cops could find me. Police never came, so either he did not call or the cops laughed at him. My car was still there at the end of the evening. Don’t you just love it when some homeowners think the street in front of their homes is only for their use?

    Also, aren’t city parking signs on freestanding poles anyway?

  • Witt does not mention that she has been at war with this neighbor over parking for several years. They live on a narrow street where parking is difficult and yuppification of the area has brought more and bigger vehicles into a tight area where the streets were not widened when new construction came in. Posting an illegal sign, however, was not the solution to the problem. No one wins here.

  • Boulders in the street are illegal yes, but how far into the ROW can you actually park? You see a lot of the rocks and stuff in Rice Military. I understand why, if you have landscaping or even grass, but how far off the street can you legally pull your car before you are all up on personal property?

    My favorite spot to park, in front of Blackhole on Graustark (SE Corner Graus/Castle). If you wanted parking for the resident you should have downsized your townhome and added more parking spots off the street.

  • It may be technically true that boulders in the city right-of-way are illegal, but good luck getting them removed. Calling the city doesn’t doesn’t do any good as far as I can tell.

  • I don’t see the big deal. The city fails to enforce actual no parking zones and people seem to know this. My street is restricted to residents with parking permits, but the signs are routinely disregarded and parking enforcement rarely patrols the area. We are forced to call 311 and hope a cop shows up to write tickets. I don’t get it either. The city could clean up if they just sent someone by every evening between the hours of 5 and 9.

  • They don’t tack them to telephone poles either.

  • Although the signs are totally fake, I’m sure some unscrupulous tow service may tow your car, then play stupid. They know it costs to much time and money to take them to court.

    Back in the day when I used to drive Hummer H1, I was told by several tow truck operators that they couldn’t tow me even if they wanted to (too heavy, no good way to hook up with a standard rig).

  • So if the boulders on the street are illegal then why hasn’t the city cited all the owners of townhomes that sport them in the streets surrounding Washington?

  • Good for the homeowners for doing what the city CAN’T or WILL NOT. Who cares, honestly. If people weren’t clueless about their surroundings and terrible drivers besides perhaps this wouldn’t be an issue. I lived near a Montrose-area bar and even if the no parking signs were lit up with lights and had sirens going all damn day, clueless souls will still park right in your spot. If you can’t be bothered to pay attention to your surroundings I can’t be bothered to find you in the bar and get you to move. Enjoy the tow.

  • if there’s boulders in the street you guys just need to buy some paint markers and starting having some fun. Not seeing an issue here as it’s neither public or private property

    designs calling out negligent homeowners get extra points.

  • My street has drainage ditches and the grass on nearest the road long ago died and that strip of dirt turns into mud after a rain, which eventually gets more and more horribly uneven after cars park and come and go along this muddy strip. Now it looks like that strip of dirt is blowing away and/or sliding into the ditch after rain. I don’t mind people parking there but this deterioration of the land is beginning to be be unacceptable. Suggestions?

  • Unfortunately, many developers and homeowners have just claimed the public easement between the street and their homes as private property (see Afton Oaks). Add to that the fact that many homes, both new and old, don’t have a garage or off-street parking. In my mind, street parking is first-come, first served unless there are deed restrictions prohibiting it. Welcome to the land of no zoning!

  • Half of the problem is taking a street that is designed for 30 single family houses on a block and turning the single family lots into clusters of 4-6 townhomes with barely a two car garage for each. Inevitably, someone has an extra car or has friends over and the street parking gets clogged.

    The other half is the fact that the fourth largest city in the United States and one of the fastest growing cities and economies in the world still has essentially the same street infrastructure that it did in 1920: 18′ wide roads with open ditch drainage. If you have cars parked on both sides of the streets, residents with driveways frequently can barely squeeze out onto the street. And forget it if an emergency vehicle needs to get through.

  • A phone number on the sign is only required on private property. These signs are indicating no parking on public property.

  • @Linn – lobby your city council member to have the ditches filled with pipe and possibly curbs added. Solicit your neighbors to help.

  • Mother Hydra, the article is about illegal signs, not about D-bags who ignore the legal ones. Two different things.

  • I have a hard time understanding how anyone who would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a home wouldn’t worry about their parking situation until after they buy their house. If they didn’t know it would be a problem they obviously chose poorly when picking out a Realtor.

  • If for-profit businesses wanted parking for their customers, they should have downsized the size of their business and added more parking spots off the street.

  • Montrose folks always amuse me… They’re for density but against townhomes, new multi-family, and new businesses that serve them. They want City feel but whine about noise, traffic, and parking problems. They want better streets, public transport, and more infrastructure but whine when the rents rise around them to pay for such things (through taxes).

    I’m looking forward to the day in very near future when all the weirdos, hipsters, and hippocrates are priced out of Montrose and can take their whining to the next up-and-coming neighborhood.

    P.S. They also whine because nobody listens to their whining.

  • What about this no parking sign in Houston?

  • I’m looking forward to the day in very near future when all the … hippocrates are priced out of Montrose.
    But who will take care of us when we’re sick?

  • Rice Military street parking is out of control as others have pointed out—this is what happens when too many townhomes are crammed onto small streets built for just a few houses. Then everyone fills their two-“car” garages crammed full of CrossFit gear, college yearbooks, kayaks, and arcade games and has to park their BMW in the street, as do their bros who come over to kick it. Multiply this times 1000 and you have Rice Military.

  • Commonsense, I feel like I’ve posted this before in response to one of your many overgeneralized comments, but you do know that more than one person lives in Montrose and there is no official spokesperson for Montrose. Same is true for the Heights. I mean, one person in Montrose can be angry about the lack of offstreet parking and another person can be ok with it. There is no official Montrose or Heights position, get it?

  • @Jason C, dang, hoisted by my own spellcheck. It’s hard to drive and blog (while it’s still legal).

    @mel. I’m sure there are opposite views, but the prevailing view, especially as shown on Swamplot can be generalized by my previous comment.

  • @commonsense,
    Hippocrates? What is a hippocrate? I don’t get the use of this name in this context.

  • Jason C

    lol! that made my day! so true, thank you sir

  • I live on a street that is just wide enough for a car and half to pass each other on the road, so inevitably someone has to drive on the grass or in the ditch. I happen to live on the side that has the grass section of ROW. For the past 2 years that I have lived their I have not once scene the city come by and mow that section or repair the ruts that someone has left behind. Since I live in Rice Military I dont have the pleasure I having CURBS like Montrose, so I have boulders set in place to keep the drunks from parking on the side walk and that still happens on a biweekly basis.

    On our street we have legal No Parking signs and there will be cars parked there and I have scene cops drive by and do nothing. I guess it’s not worth the time, and I guess the city doesnt need the revenue.

  • I often can find good parking on those parking boulders infront of people’s homes. Someone told me they were going to call a tow truck on me… I responded by saying I’ll let the tow truck know when I leave so they can move the illegal rocks away.

  • @ Jason C. – post #21.. nailed it

  • Rice Military is a parking nightmare in part because SuperNeighborhood 22 has failed miserably at addressing the problem through the COH channels that can provide real solutions. They have spent an incredible amount of time and resources trying to shut down clubs and promoting the privatization of public streets with Parking Permits; instead of fighting for the return of some of the millions of dollars of tax revenue that the area generates with its incredibly increased property values and sales taxes, to rebuild streets using the existing R.O.W.s that would actually address the problem long-term. They also lobbied the COH to take hundreds of parking spaces out of service by arbitrarily placing “official” No Parking signs willy-nilly all over the area; in another ill-advised effort to discourage clubgoers. It’s laughable to see an entire block off-limits to parking of any kind; while parking is allowed in the next block of the same street. If Rice Military residents would actually demand that COH appropriate CIP bond funds to the area, this problem would be addressed with real solutions; rebuilt streets, curbs, sidewalks, etc. – instead of bandaids like permits. Without loud, constant demand (calling, writing, petitioning City Council and the Mayor) the COH will do nothing. The squeaky wheels get the grease; nothing else works in this town.

  • I’ve reported several of these to 311 and they’ve removed the offending sign within a week or two.

    If it doesn’t have a city sticker on the bat, it’s easy to get removed.

  • It’s not HPD’s job to write parking citations, that honor belongs to Parking Management.

    Believe it or not, HPD is busy enough keeping up with actual calls for service involving crime to deal with an illegally parked car.

    Just sayin.

  • Just for the record, the sign in the photo above is in Cottage Grove. Streets there are very narrow, there are no curbs or shoulders, and if you are a visitor and manage to find a place to park, you can easily end up mired in mud on a wet day or worse, slide into the moat that passes for a drainage ditch.

  • One of our neighbors brought around a request to have the drainage pipes installed and curbs and gutters put in. She said the city told her it would take about 10 years.

    Meanwhile, it is indeed a challenge to back out of your driveway if there are cars parked on both sides; hence the boulders.

    Finally, a lot of builders and remodelers in the Heights have introduced ‘front yard parking’ with brick pavers; looking for special washing machine niches on front porches next.

  • The city ROW dept. has jurisdiction over this stuff, but has no ticket writing authority….so nothing happens. Boulders, pickets, big oleanders these are all local homeowners favorites. I’ve taken down pickets and rolled boulders into the ditch from time to time. The police once told me to stop. Its a joke. It wouldn’t be a joke if you had to swerve to miss a child and slammed into one of those boulders. That would be an interesting law suit.

  • @Linn: Try crushed granite.

    @Commonsense: You’re still overgeneralizing. Even Swamplotters aren’t all homogeneous.

  • @Darby Mom; Ten years is about right for normal CIP bond issues. Constant pressure is the only way to move things up the list; and projects get moved up routinely for those who demand it – especially through the Super Neighborhood Councils. Even if it took ten years; if you had started 5 yrs ago when parking issues really started to take-off with the club scene, you’d be half-way there. As it stands, in another five years, most of the clubs will have moved on to the next hotspot; and we’ll be left with a bunch of useless signs and permits to go along with our ditches and sidewalk-less streets.

  • Fake or not, if you park there you could still end up paying $250 to get your car out.

  • @ REX

    Is the sign a legal sign? If not than it’s GRAFITTI and whomever was towed has a juicy tort case against the towing company AND the person who called the towing company.

  • Still amazes me that the 4th largest city still has country style open drainage ditches. Just upgrade the streets with proper drainage, sidewalks and curbing. We are a major city damn it!

  • Rice Military is a nightmare..but those boulders are ridiculous. It’s own city property we all own..I completely understand not wanting your yard trenched by some drunk idiot or Asian driver, but come on people the boulders are hideous and they make your yard looks almost as bad as a trenching..if you move to Rice Military you know what to expect..and as for hipsters moving out of sure he meant the gays..and dude we rebuild that S-hole, we own that neighborhood, we will never leave, Cletus

  • Asian drivers, seriously? I live in Montrose and I’m all for public transportation and density, but when I see one of those homemade “Resident Parking Only” signs on the public street, I usually just laugh and park there anyway. (Although only when there’s nothing else available, I’m not a TOTAL douche) I treat it the same way as I do when the guy in cubicle B gets all in a huff trying to protect his chair.