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Web www.startsandfits.com
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Parking Math: Tow It Yourself

As of 3:30 this afternoon, our friend from Indiana was still parked on Fifth Avenue between 18th and 19th Streets, collecting more parking tickets after occupying the same one-hour space for a week. How long can this situation continue? Hopefully Starts & Fits's correspondent, Gary Roth, who has a particular interest in parking rates and works in the adjacent building, will keep us updated on how long this car remains parked there. Meanwhile, I'm starting to think the driver of this car is getting off easy. No tow after a week? What's up with that?

Let's start thinking about the costs associated with the ill timed losing of the keys to this vehicle. As you can see at right, the regulations for this space dictate that there is no parking between 8:30 and 9 a.m. six days a week. Parking tickets in New York City are $115. For the week, that's $690 in fines for violating the street cleaning regulations alone, and the car is subjected having a florescent green sticker plastered on the window that reads "This car interfered with the cleaning of the streets" or some such. But beyond the street cleaning regulations, the car is in a 1-hour parking zone good from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. It costs $1 to park for the first hour, but after 10 a.m., you're subject to a $65 ticket per day or $455 per week. But what about the meter?

One is prohibited from parking for more than an hour, period. But in the real world, it's unlikely that you'll be ticketed after the first hour as long as there's still time on the meter. So the driver of this car could conceivably stave off those potential late morning and afternoon tickets by slipping a dollar (in quarters) into the meter every hour during the day. That comes out to a mere $10 per day. A bargain compared with the $65 fine for overstaying at a one-hour space. So assuming the driver is able to manage to go undetected for the half-hour street cleaning period, he or she could feed the meter and try to avoid additional fines. But that's a tremendous inconvenience, so unlikely to happen. But then again, there was a guy selling jewelry at a table he put up next to the car on Saturday. Maybe he could be persuaded to feed the meter on the driver's behalf, for a fee.

Meanwhile, this whole fiasco would have been avoided had the driver lost his or her keys after having first parked around the corner at the ImPark lot on 17th and 18th Streets between Fifth and Sixth. There, parking for 24 hours costs $35.48, or $42 with tax. Unless this minivan-SUV combo or whatever it is is considered "oversize." If that's the case, it's $52 per day including tax. For seven days in there, parking would cost $294 for a regular size vehicle and $364 for an oversize. Both charges are far better than the eight grand you're charged with the hourly fines, but worse than if you manage to succeed with the feeding-the-meter gambit, and a lucky streak on the street cleaning mornings. I suspect that what's happened is that the car has just been stuck there waiting for a week for keys to be mailed from back home in Indiana (why not go for FedEx?). If the parking enforcement been up to snuff, the car has incurred one $115 parking ticket for six mornings, and then a $65 fine for seven days, for a total of $1,145. Ouch.

But why hasn't the city towed this car away? Why hasn't the owner towed it away? What does a tow cost these days? Whatever it is, the driver would have probably saved money by having this car towed over to ImPark. Unless he or she plans on skipping out on the tickets, in which case, the week of parking will have been free.

Here's a recap of the various possibilities and prices for this situation:

$1,145Street cleaning tickets plus overstaying the 1-hour rule
$364Park at ImPark as an oversized vehicle
$294Park at ImPark as a regular vehicle
$70Get lucky between 8:30 and 9 a.m., then feed the meter successfully
Free!Don't feed meter, ignore all tickets

- Parking Has Value, So Why Is It Free? [S&F]
- Welcome to New York [S&F]
- Parking & Vehicles: Violation Codes, Fines, Rules & Regulations [NYC Dept. of Finance]
- Posted at 6:34 PM | Permalink | Comments: 3 | Post a Comment |  

Aaron... I am pleased to report the vehcile has not moved. We are now at ten days. -Gary

By Anonymous, at 3/20/2006 1:38 PM  

Gary, wow. Thanks for the update. How many tickets do you think this car has gotten? Care to place a wager on when it will be towed or driven away?

By AD, at 3/20/2006 3:54 PM  

First of all, the car is still there - it will be two weeks tomorrow. The doorman estimates about 1 ticket per day - so about nine or ten now.

Just wondering, did this Indiana resident send the replacement keys via carrier pigeon or pony express?


By Anonymous, at 3/23/2006 11:25 AM  

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