Citation Ticket New Orleans
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

My Experience Parking a Car in New Orleans.

Plus: the answer to a quiz.

When one drives his or her own personal motor vehicle in the familiar area where he or she is based, that person will usually know what are the laws in that area — including those of speeding and parking — but when renting a vehicle in a different location, some of those laws could be less obvious.

My Experience Parking a Car in New Orleans.

Parking New Orleans
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

A quiz was given in this article as to whether the car in the photograph was parked legally or illegally, which was posted here at The Gate yesterday, Tuesday, April 26, 2022. The background story is this: the car in the photograph is a Toyota Corolla which I rented; and I parked it along the curb on Natchez Street at the corner of Magazine Street in New Orleans diagonally across from a hotel property at which I was to check in and stay later that evening, as I was in town for the 2022 Freddie Awards.

Parking New Orleans
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

I saw that the space in which the car was parked was in front of a sign which states that parking is not allowed in a freight zone between the hours of 8:00 in the morning and 6:00 in the evening during the day every day except on Sundays; and the arrow is pointing away from where the car is parked…

Parking New Orleans
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

…but the car itself is parked over the faded white stop line in the street and does exceed the stop sign by a couple of feet as its front end is barely over the equally faded crosswalk line — but it is not blocking most of the crosswalk itself.

Parking New Orleans
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

I sprinted diagonally across the street to the hotel property — of which I intend to write about my experience — and asked the person behind the front desk about whether where I parked was a legal parking space, or if I was insanely lucky.

“Don’t park there,” he warned. “Cops have been notoriously known to give out tickets there.”

Readers of The Gate were not fooled. For example, swag wrote this comment: “In most cities, yes. But this is New Orleans, where it’s illegal to park within 20 feet of intersections, crosswalks or stop signs. One full car length to the crosswalk is a good rule of thumb. At many corners, there’s a triangle painted to indicate the no parking zone, but it’s just as illegal if there’s no paint. The reason the Freight Zone sign is located where it is is that the space between the sign and the corner is illegal always.”

The comment concluded with “I think it’s still just $40 if you pay the fine promptly.”

According to the official Internet web site of the Department of Public Works of the city of New Orleans, parking within 20 feet of intersections, crosswalks, or stop signs will result in the issuance of a citation whose fee is $40.00 — so swag was indeed accurately correct.

Final Boarding Call

Parking New Orleans
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

In case you are wondering, I did not receive a citation — nor was I fined. After heeding the advice given to me by the employee at the hotel property, I decided to wait in the car until someone from the police department or traffic department showed up. When I spotted a woman coming down Natchez Street issuing tickets to other vehicles on the street, I got out of the car to ask her for information about where I was parked. She replied that vehicles which are parked within 20 feet of a stop sign pose a safety hazard to vehicles which turn at the corner; so parking where I was parked would be illegal in New Orleans — even though no signs or markings indicated otherwise.

I am originally from New York; and I have never heard of this parking infraction — and I have parked at or near a stop sign countless times and never was cited for doing so. To double-check, I reviewed page 20 through page 49 of this document of 135 pages of the traffic rules of the Department of Transportation of the City of New York; and I could not find a similar rule of not being permitted to park within 20 feet of a stop sign — unless I accidentally or carelessly missed it.

After talking to the woman, I moved the car several blocks away to a parking spot which was both legal and free. Metered parking in New Orleans can cost up to six dollars for two hours; and parking garages and lots charge a minimum of $6.00 to park for up to 60 minutes or $7.25 for up to 20 minutes.

For an article in the future, I intend to give some tips on how to park in major cities for free — or, for at least a lower cost. Although there rarely is a convenient or magic solution, it can be done.

I did miss a golden opportunity, though: I should have asked the woman how many people had mistaken the signs which exclaim NO PARKING to mean New Orleans Parking and therefore thought parking in those spots would be legal…

Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

  1. I parked in New Orleans for free a few weeks ago, in a metered space that was free overnight. I thought you were going to say that hotels always tell you to park in their parking lot because of some made-up risk. In this case however it seems that they were right, you really would have got a ticket. I like the NO Parking part at the end!

    It never occurred to me to go the Freddie Awards. I should look into attending next time.

    1. Admittedly, Barry Graham, my first thought was that the advice which I was given by the employee of the hotel property was in their best interest financially — but he was absolutely correct about what he said; and I am glad I heeded his warning.

      To his credit, he also never mentioned to me to use the parking services of the hotel.

  2. From my experience as a European, my gut reaction was “yes, of course that is illegal – it’s directly before a crossing, it’s blocking view and is of course dangerous”.

    Here we have a rule of 5 metre no-parking before an intersection and/or a zebra crossing.

    Of course not marked with signes, it’s expected that you learn these things, and check before entering another European country. It’s impossible to put up signs for everything.

    1. I agree that erecting signs for every rule is impossible, Andreas-Johann Ø Ulvestad.

      I will say that even though most rules are based on common sense in terms of safety, a rule occasionally comes along which leaves one scratching his or her head in puzzlement…

  3. Why exactly were you looking at a NYC regulation book for new orleans?

    Was your response going to be but in NYC it is this… and the reply would be you are not in NYC…
    Not all rules flow out of what is or is not the prevailing leading city.

    1. I was looking at the regulations for parking in New York for a future article about not assuming that parking regulations in each city are the same, ALEX L.

      I was born and raised in New York; so those rules are the baseline to which I am familiar — not to connote that all other cities should follow what New York does.

  4. I always assumed it was illegal to park less than a car length of an intersection or a stop sign. And, I have lived in five states and eight cities, of which one was NY state, but not NYC.
    I am astounded NYC does not have a minimum distance for an intersection or stop sign. What a missed opportunity for revenue enhancement.

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