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Why is there so much wrong-way parking?

Original post made by Daniel B. on Sep 3, 2006

Why do so many people park their cars on the wrong side of the road? Don't they know that it is illegal and dangerous? The law requires the right tire to be within 18" of the right curb. You have to drive on the wrong side of the road to park and leave if you park wrong-way, putting people in danger. Last weekend I was biking with my daughter and a driver cut across onto our side of the road and was heading straight for us! He stopped before he ran us over, but it was terrifying! When I asked him why he did that, he said that he didn't want to have to cross the street. This guy is knowingly breaking the law and endangering his neighbors because he is too lazy to walk across the street. What a jerk! After that I started looking around town carefully and I see a lot of cars parked on the wrong side of the street all over town. Why don't the police write tickets for this? It is an obvious violation and an easy one to enforce.

Comments (16)

Posted by I See It Frequently, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2006 at 1:47 pm

It's is dangerous. It seems be a new trend. It seems to come from that "I'm important/I'm in a hurry, so the law doesn't apply to me" type of person. I see residents doing it OVERNIGHT. Check out Seale Ave. sometime - it's a street full of the worst offenders.

I called the police dept. once and was merely told that yes, it was illegal. No one ever got back to me to tell me what the police were doing about it, even though I requested a callback.


Posted by Wesley, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 3, 2006 at 3:28 pm

Maybe they don't know it is illegal, but that is no excuse. Too many people are woefully ignorant about the driving laws. The fact that you have to drive the wrong way to do it should be a clue that it is not right! The attitude behind this selfish behavior is at the root of a lot of other driving problems, too. People just don't seem to care if they are breaking the law, as long as what they are doing is convenient for them. It seems that our police have lost control over our streets.


Posted by safe driver??, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 3, 2006 at 4:41 pm

Against the law, yes. Dangerous?? Getting the car into or out of the parking place, provided the driver uses his indicator and obeys all rules of the road, giving way to other traffic and pedestrians, how can it be called dangerous? Obviously when looking for a parking place in a very busy parking area it is often too late to drive round the block and come back in the right direction as the spot may have gone. I can't see a parked car in any direction as long as it is sensibly parked in a proper space ever being called dangerous, it is the getting it there and out that may be dangerous.


Posted by Daniel B., a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 3, 2006 at 8:35 pm

The point is that you can't get into a parking place on the wrong side without breaking the rules of the road. You agree that it is illegal, but you seem to think that it is OK if you are in a hurry to get a parking place in a busy area. That is the attitude that leads to this problem! I can't imagine driving on the wrong side of the road in a busy area, no matter how desperate I am to find a parking place. I would rather walk a few blocks.


Posted by Irked, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 4, 2006 at 9:28 am

Wrong-way parking in Palo Alto has been one of my pet peeves in this town for over 25 years. I can't tell you how many times a wrong-way parker has pulled out of a spot without looking and come close to hitting me.

I've prevented it by keeping an eye on the wrong-way parkers and assuming they're going to do something stupid that I will have to avoid. I am seldom disappointed.

I ask neighbors who park the wrong way to obey the laws. It's amazing how few are aware that parking the wrong way is illegal. About 10 years ago or so, on a very slow day, I convinced a P.A. cop to come over to my neighborhood and raise some money by ticketing all the wrong-way parkers. He told me he gave out 16 tickets within 2 blocks of my house that day. I encouraged him to enhance the city's coffers by continuing to give out tickets.


Posted by the voice of reason, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 4, 2006 at 2:33 pm

Is is illegal..yes, Do the police have time to ticket...no. If you were not aware, a couple of years ago, due to budget cuts, community service officers that would handle parking issues like this were cut. Our police officers are understaffed and overworked. Would I like them to ticket...sure, but I understand that they are busy stopping real crime. I wish people would take the time to learn the facts rather then just blame the cops for everything. Move to another city and you will see that most people do not even get half the service from police that we do.


Posted by Wesley, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 4, 2006 at 3:11 pm

Of course the police would not be needed if drivers behaved in the first place. But with no punishment for breaking the law, there is no incentive to obey except for conscience and morality, both of which are in short supply. As I said before, the police have lost control of our streets. People know they can break the law and get away with it. We end up paying more for insurance and medical bills as our streets become more dangerous. The police spend a lot of time writing up and reconstructing crashes instead of preventing them. In the big picture it doesn't save money to cut back this way.


Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 4, 2006 at 10:21 pm

Turning into a driveway, or backing into the street, or making a u-turn are all more hazardous than wrong way parking. Like any other manuver in a residential area, if done carefully and with observance and consideration for other traffic it should not be illegal. You drive with extra caution in any residential street.


Posted by Daniel B., a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 5, 2006 at 8:20 am

Walter, one of the problems with wrong-way parking is that the driver can't see when leaving because he/she is on the curb side. If there is another car parked in front, the driver can't see approaching traffic until the front of the car is completely out in the lane. That is very different from normal driving situations. I agree that people should drive with caution, but they don't. That is the root of the problem. They drive with haste instead.


Posted by Carol, a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 5, 2006 at 11:18 am

I agree that drivers should drive carefully in residential and business neighbourhoods, but I also think that pedestrians should walk with their eyes alert to all that is going on. I have seen so many pedestrians, joggers, skate boarders, etc. etc. step in front of cars without looking in all sorts of situations. Children should be taught that roads are for cars and if they plan to cross, then they must be aware that they can stop much quicker than a car doing 25, or whatever. Walkers and all other non-vehicular traffic are sharing the road, not assuming that they have a mandate for stepping in front of a car and expecting it to stop. In the long run, isn't it better to be safe and alive rather than being hit by a car and being in the right???


Posted by lol, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 5, 2006 at 12:20 pm

i like how my OPINION which did not directly insult anyone was deleted, but the moderator let the Diana Diamond Pit Bull post go on for days of people verbally insulting each other.

this forum should be changed from Town Square to Opportunity for me to whine about every little thing in life Square


Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 5, 2006 at 5:32 pm

How about backing out of a driveway when a car is at the curb? There are always some operations where you move on faith, ere the 25 limit in residential streets.


Posted by Sally, a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 8, 2006 at 8:43 am

You people all complain too much. Find something better to focus your attention on like, how come there are so many young kids smoking outside of "Pizza my Heart" on University. That's a more serious issue. It's people like you guys who annoy the rest of us.

For example, my brother-in-law parking his car in front of my parents house for a while because he and my sister moved to NYC and couldn't take it. Well apparently it's a law that you can't leave a car sitting in one spot for too long. Some bored couple on the corner called the police and got it ticketed. Well, my mother didn't have time to deal with it because she was tending to my father who had cancer and who has now passed. Then it got towed. The reason was probably because the car was a bit older and didn't mesh well with the other Mercedes and BMW's ont he block. Sometimes I wonder how this community got to be so stuck-up.


Posted by tim, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 9, 2006 at 8:51 pm

I had a very serious accident with a motorist parked on the wrong side of the road which has impacted me for life. I have gone through surgeries and months of rehab because some idiot was too lazy to cross the street. Basicly, your vision is impared when you are parked behind someone while faced the wrong way. That and when you pull out you are basicly blindly setting yourself up for a HEAD ON COLLISION.

Daniel put it best:

"Walter, one of the problems with wrong-way parking is that the driver can't see when leaving because he/she is on the curb side. If there is another car parked in front, the driver can't see approaching traffic until the front of the car is completely out in the lane. That is very different from normal driving situations. I agree that people should drive with caution, but they don't. That is the root of the problem. They drive with haste instead."


Posted by J. Johnson, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2006 at 5:04 am

If you see a car parked the wrong way, call the police and let them know.

And leave it at that.

No sense getting in a bigger twist over it.


Posted by People who Need People, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Apr 25, 2008 at 1:15 am

People who are as sheltered as the original poster, need full-time babysitters for both themselves and their children.(Perhaps even their bicycles...) Most parking "violators" have enough expendable income to pay any number of parking tickets thrown at them, and would heartily appreciate it if whining "town hall wannabe activists" would stop draining our already slim police resources trying to get the world to cater to their every whim. Get a job, and stop sponging off of the breadwinners of your households. If you've already got a job, spend more time there. You've GOT to be neglecting some of your duties by now. Besides, what're ya going to do when the kids are away at college? Oh yeah, respond to the original post voicing your utmost support for "the cause."(Despite the fact that you have no bearing on the issue now that your kids are away)
"Nasty evil-doing-park-the-wrong-wayers!! A scourge upon this fair township! Fear thee not, good citizen, I shall rectify it by speaking very loudly at the next city council meeting! Tickets upon them all! Crossing streets with neither a care nor concern for traffic regulations! For Shame! This shall not stand my dear neighbors! This shaLL... NOT... STAND!""
(Commercial Break)
"Have you been injured in an Auto Accident?" If so call..."


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