The thrilling sensation that New York drivers often experience when they stumble upon an empty parking spot in New York City can be fleeting. Nine times out of ten, this feeling of jubilation and accomplishment is quickly replaced with one of confusion and frustration once they catch sight of posted restrictions. Trying to decipher a jumble of rules, restrictions, limits and possible fines from behind the wheel of an unfamiliar isn’t easy; in fact, it’s down right frustrating.
Even after last year’s signage overhaul, which saw thousands of the city’s crowded and colorful signs replaced with easier-to-understand options, navigating NYC’s confusing parking restrictions can cause even the bravest of travelers more than their fair share of apprehensions. With parking at such a high demand and meter maids standing by eagerly waiting to ticket your vehicle, the only way to stay sane when circling the block in search of a spot is to educate yourself on some of the finer points to parking in the city. So take some time to read up on parking protocol before heading out in one of our New York City car rentals – it’s the only way to master the art of parking like a local.
Local Tip #1 – Beware Alternate Side Parking
Many streets in New York City have alternate side regulations. This is a traffic law that dictates on which side of the street cars can be parked on a given day. In New York City, alternate street parking rule is a year round restriction that helps assist with regular street cleaning practices. Clearly marked with a signed featuring a “P” crossed by a broom, alternate side parking is only suspended on religious holidays or during severe weather. Pay close attention to the times noted on alternate side parking signs; while some areas have three-hour restrictions, this is not a universal rule.
Local Tip #2 – You Will Get a Ticket
It’s not a question of if; it’s a question of when. It might sound a bit extreme, but the only way to avoid a parking ticket is to never get behind the wheel of your New York car rental… or use SpotHero (more on that later). If you notice a parking citation plastered to your windshield, don’t assume that your rental agency will handle it. If you fail to pay it before returning your rental vehicle, the agency will make it their mission to track you down. Only now, instead of having to just pay the parking fine, you’ll have to pay the rental agency an additional processing fee. Read the instructions on the back of the ticket for more information on how to pay the fine. You can also contact the Parking Violations Helpline if you require additional assistance at 718-422-7800.
Local Tip #3 – It’s Going to Cost You
Parking in New York City certainly isn’t cheap. Remember that the next time you’re out and about in your rental car and cruising around looking for a spot. Metered rates can range from $1 an hour in the Bronx, Brooklyn Queens and Staten Island to upwards of $3.50 an hour in Manhattan (below 96th Street). PARK Smart areas boast even pricier meter rates during peak parking hours. For example, parking in Greenwich Village from 6 to 10 pm will cost you $5 an hour, whereas the going rate is $3.50 at all other times.
Garages? Well, they aren’t a whole lot cheaper either. Plus you’ll have to stomach the city’s sky-high parking garage tax. Taxes aren’t always clearly marked on garage signage so don’t be surprised if your final bill turns out to be dramatically more expensive than you’d initially thought. The full tax rate is comprised of a 6% New York City sales tax, a 4% New York State sales tax, and a 0.375% Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District surcharge. Top that off with an additional 8% city surtax and the total tax rate to park your car is an insane 18.375%. Ouch.
Scared that you’re destined to be ticketed during your upcoming New York City car rental? Sounds like you could use a little extra help from SpotHero. Find a spot, reserve your time and park your car quickly and easily with SpotHero’s nifty web and smartphone booking system. Compare hundreds of discounted parking options in garages across the city, all of which are available and waiting for you to book.
So stop squinting at those curbside signs and forget about hidden surcharges. Book with SpotHero and park with precision during your upcoming trip to the Big Apple.