Dear PoPville – How Much Notice is Required before posting an Emergency No Parking sign?


“Dear PoPville,

Last night I luckily walked by my car parked on 15th St NW and saw that an Emergency No Parking sign that had been posted requiring me to move my car today. My car is in a non-street sweeping zone, so I planned to leave it there for weeks and check periodically for no parking signs (about weekly) since it’s a few blocks from where I live. I had just walked by on Saturday night and there were no signs.

But this sign showed up at most 3 days before (with one day being a sunday). I know there have been posts about these signs before, but is there a requirement for how far in advance No Parking signs must be posted? Are people really required to check their car’s location every 2-3 days for such signs? And thus never allowed to leave it on the street if out of town for a few days for personal or business reasons, home sick, godforbid in the hospital, or a range of other reasons? In this case it’s the city doing work on 15th street putting up the sign with very little notice.”

From DDOT:

“District law requires that signs be posted 24 hours in advance at metered spaces and 72 hours in advance at non-metered spaces.”

Do you think that’s a reasonable amount of time?

29 Comment

  • Three days seems like very reasonable notice time for these emergency signs.

    It’s the city’s fault that you need to leave your car street-parked for week-long stretches. And I don’t say that because I’m not sympathetic — I, too, street park my car and get nervous when I go out of town. Which is why I ask friends to keep an eye on it for me.

  • Three days seems completely reasonable to me. Exempting vacations, if you’re not driving your car every three days, why do you even have one?

    • i only drive my car every few weeks when i want to get out of town or go away for the weekends. but i do move it every few days because of street sweeping. can’t wait for October 31!

      • I wish the city had parking garages for residents like jerseygirl, it would free up a good chunk of street parking for those who use it more regularly.

        • Or, ticket or tow it as abandoned. If she needs long-term storage for an automobile, then she should pay to store it privately off-street.

          • spookiness, why should it be ticketed or towed if it’s legally parked? Because you don’t think she drives it enough?

          • i live on a one block long street that dead ends and there are always empty parking spots there, as well as within a 2-3 block radius. i pay for zoned/residential parking (which i know is massively subsidized) so i don’t see why my legally parking my car for a week or two at a time is any less valid than anyone else parking there just because they use their car more often? if i lived in an area where the was actually a parking crunch (like when i lived in manhattan) i would happily pay for a garage. but there are always always empty spots where i live, so don’t hate. geez.

          • @jerseygirl haters gonna hate, pay them no mind. He’s probably jealous you can afford a car and is just lashing out.

        • Not sure where she lives, but Parking at DCUsa isn’t all that expensive. I had a friend who lived with me short term a while ago and parked there while she was at my place. It was fairly reasonable.

  • 72 hours is completely reasonable. Especially since so many people flat out ignore these signs.

  • 24 hours seems completely reasonable. You are parking in a public space. 3 days notice is just icing on the cake. If leaving your car unchecked for a week at a time is a high priority, I suggest purchasing a dedicated parking space.

  • Three days is plenty reasonable. It’s a public parking spot, not your private garage. If you need a private spot, either rent one, buy one, or get rid of your car and join one of the many car sharing services available to DC residents.

  • 3 days seems about right to me. Since street parking is just borrowing the space from the city it might be a good idea to check in more often then every few weeks, but you are not required to do so. The city will happily move your car to another street for you, all for a few hundreds of dollars in fines.

  • They were posted the MORNING of the 17th Street Festival. Everyone got tickets.

    The rules on this are NOT enforced and there is no plan in place to make sure they were put up with proper time

    • alissaaa

      I was once ticketed when someone moving tried to put up their signs 24 hours in advance (in regular zoned parking which requires 72 hours notice). I contested the ticket and won with no trouble, even though I technically couldn’t prove that the person had put up the signs late other than saying I had parked there the previous day and there were no signs.

  • Three days is reasonable, but the problem is that a lot of people posting these signs don’t put them up three days in advance, but they are enforced like they were posted for the requisite amount of time. And if you’re fighting a ticket when this happens there is really no way to prove it.

    This speaks to the process and the enforcement, not the rule, but it really drives me nuts when people put them up late.

  • There used to be a law that all street-parked cars had to be moved every 72 hours. I was surprised to learn that was repealed. Anyway, here’s a helpful list of DC automobile-related infractions: And yea, I agree that 72 hours is a reasonable warning that somebody else needs to use the space for a moving truck, dumpster delivery, etc.

    • I’m also surprised that 72-hour parking limit law was repealed. I thought it was there to protect people from returning to their cars after more than 72 hours to find a ticket because a “no parking” sign had been placed in the meantime.

      I also thought that there was a law that “no parking” signs couldn’t be enforced if they were posted less than 72 hours before the posted start time.

    • It blows my mind that this law was repealed. This would be an instant moneymaker for the city, considering that parking enforcement has the technology to drive around and scan the license plates.

  • FWIW, when I was moving a few years ago, I was putting up the signs 72 hours in advance. By coincidence, an officer who was charged with making sure they were up came by just as I was finishing. He was able to verify that I had them up in time.

    So at least in some instances, they do send officers to verify that the signs are up 72 hours in advance.

    Of course, someone ignored it and parked square in the middle of the no parking zone. They got a ticket for $500!

  • From DDOT: “District law requires that signs be posted 24 hours in advance at metered spaces and 72 hours in advance at non-metered spaces.”

    Also, to address your concern about people being sick or in the hospital, you can dispute tickets for emergency medical situations.

  • 72 hours would be very reasonable if it was actually respected. My car was parked legally on the 1200 block of R Street NW in front of the Unity Church and was towed because of a funeral service at the church that was organized by the Taylor Funeral Home. I checked on my car the night before it was towed and saw no postings for emergency service. I spoke with the Taylor Funeral home the day after my car was towed and they said they posted signs the day before the funeral. Even if that was the case (which i wasn’t), posting signs the day before an event does not fall within the 72 hour guideline for emergency parking restrictions. The person I spoke to at Taylor was surprisingly candid and mentioned that five other cars on the block were towed along with mine. So, clearly the signs weren’t posted in time. Basically, dude who was supposed to post the signs didn’t do his job (honest mistake or laziness, either way not a big deal), but the city decided to punish the owners of legally parked cars anyway (is a big deal).

    In the end, I had to pay $250 for the towing and $50 to the city. DC would be an awesome place to live if the city government could just be moderately less incompetent and crooked.

  • the city required 48 hours. So they cut you a break by putting it up early. I am always amazed that people don’t check on their cars in this city at least once a day. Could have been broken into, ticketed, stolen and about 50 other thing.

    • What are you talking about, “the city required 48 hours”?

      As PoP noted in the opening post, “District law requires that signs be posted 24 hours in advance at metered spaces and 72 hours in advance at non-metered spaces.”

  • So today, rather an hour ago we came back from Fogo De Chao in Center City, they were having some event near by, but since my dad has a disabled placard we were able to get a decent parking spot, and we checked to make sure we could park there, and there were no No Parking signs. We go in Fogo De Chao, eat and come back, and there is a ticket, we check and we see a lady just now putting up a sign!!!! She yelled at my Dad saying that the valet took the sign down, but don’t you need prior notice before it goes up again?

  • I don’t think 72 hours is enough but I’ll take it over no notice. What I have a problem with is the number of signs that can be posted. Both to secure one particularly enclosed space- sometimes they can easily be asking for 5 parking spaces for a moving truck. And also the number of signs that are post in a two block radius over at once and over a short amount of time. This severely limits parking for those that live in the area.

  • People like this get absolutely no pity from me whatsoever. If you only use a car every couple weeks, sell it and do car sharing or rent a private space for it. I have some of the only parking spots for blocks near my house that do *not* have street sweeping, and literally for the entire summer every year they are long-term storage for other people who don’t even live on my block who are too damned lazy to park at their own homes and move the car once a week. This, of course, means those spaces are never available for those of us who actually LIVE there. I have a neighbor who once actually got some of the “no parking – moving truck” signs and put them up purely to get the cars ticketed and towed that had not moved in months. I thought that was brilliant, and it was effective – once they got towed, they stopped abandoning their cars on our block.
    Street parking is meant to turn over so everyone gets a bite at the apple. If you aren’t moving your car, park it somewhere off the street!

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