Who is this map for?
This map shows the times of legal parking for those of us in the city who drive cars and non commercial trucks and park on the street. The Clocks and Barbed Wire show when you can park for Free or when Metered Parking is in effect. In order to make this first Parking Map as simple and readable as possible, Parking Meter limits or cost or the Standing and Stopping, short-term Commercial Vehicle rules were not included. These factors may be plotted in the future in a separate map if it is shown there is enough demand for it.
Do you have an App?
Absolutely, we have an iPhone App! It's available (under $7) at the iTunes App Store. That price includes updates! (Like everything else in this great city, parking regulations do change.)
We hope to have an Android version in the coming year.
How do you read these clocks?
Try out the Tutorial Most of your questions can be answered there and you get to look at some actual examples. In a nutshell, Red means No Parking. Blue means Metered Parking. Barbed Wire, pretty much how it looks, is No Parking Anytime. The Days of the Week Panel attached to the clock is exactly that: the days of the week the clock hours are in effect.
You read the red or blue wedges like a sweep of a clock hand. (Clock sweeps are continuous in a "clockwise" direction.) The "A or "P" in the center tells you if the clock sweep starts in the AM or PM. Then just read the hours of the clock sweep and you have your time values for that clock and for that Side of Street the clock touches.
The large clocks are the most important and tell you the overall Parking Rules for a Side of Street. The smaller clocks are exceptions to the rules of the larger clocks and depict Parking Rules for smaller parts of a block. It's a little retro so it takes a little getting used to, but once you have it, it is the easiest way to read the Parking Rules for a Side of Street at a glance.
Do the different Parking Garage symbols show cost?
This is a street parking map, but even armed with this information, finding parking can sometimes take too long. As an added convenience, a layer showing the approximate locations of Off Street Parking facilities is included. (It can happen to the best of us.) Some attempt was made to distinguish between a "Garage" (all dark green), a "Lot" (1/2 dark green), a combination of the two (3/4 dark green), and even a "Municipal Parking Garage" (1/4 dark green), but other than that, no assumptions can be made about the different costs.
Are the Barbed Wire Bits drawn to scale?
Yes and no. The Barbed Wire bits are intended to mirror the size of a No Parking Anytime section of a Side of Street, but for space reasons, and for the sake of keeping the clocks as large and readable as possible, they are not exactly to scale. By the same reasoning, the positioning of all the symbols is not always exact, but close enough to enable you to judge legal parking availability down a particular block. And once you have decided to look for parking on a particular block the exact placement will not really matter as long as the actual Parking Rules are as defined on the map.
Why are there not bus symbols for all the bus stops?
The important thing to remember is this is a Parking Map. Not a bus map or a strictly accurate driving map. A Bus symbol was useful because it is a small symbol and doesn't take up much space but represents a length of a block (around 100 feet) that we are familiar with. The use of Bus symbols corresponded with Parking Regulations for buses, but it could have been any kind of bus: a Handicapped Bus stop or a Bus Layover area, for example. By the same token, if an area with Bus Parking Rules is on a Side of Street that prohibits parking at anytime, anywhere, that Side of Street might have been represented by a full block Barbed Wire symbol and would not need a Bus symbol. If the whole Side of Street's Parking Rules were prohibited only because of buses, then it would be shown with multiple Bus symbols.
I got a ticket, but your map said I could park?
ALWAYS CHECK THE PHYSICAL SIGNS ON THE BLOCK!
This can't be said often enough. Parking Rules change in ways little and big. There have been no across-the-board changes in the last few years, but some years ago Mayor Dinkins eliminated street cleaning on Wednesdays and, during Mayor Giulani's administration, the Alternate Side of Street days were changed to alternate more efficiently. I forget the administration when the ASP hours were shortened, but that also was a sweeping change (get it?). On a smaller scale, there is a growing trend to extend Parking Meter Rules to Saturdays and right now an increase in Parking Meter rates is in effect.
The rules do evolve and we will be posting these updates as soon as we can, but there is a time lag between when signs are posted and when a private company or citizen can legally request that data. This one-of-a-kind, groundbreaking map represents Parking Rules with our latest updates (online updates are more time consuming and do follow behind App updates). With each update, this map moves closer to perfection, but an NYC parking map cannot always be 100% perfect unless it is made by the DOT itself. And even then, there will be some inaccuracies (See Accuracy question below.), so do check those signs before you walk away.
On another note, you might try contesting the ticket to get a reduced fine. The DOT's unofficial policy of offering a reduced fine for every ticket that is contested has been suspended, but you never know.
Why do your symbols show No Parking times and not just the times parking is legal?
We considered making this a map of green clock sweeps that show when you can park, but no matter what this map says, before you leave your car you have to check the signs actually on the block. And if the map is showing times you can park and you are comparing that to the signs on the block that tell you when you can't park, you end up comparing the two from opposite directions making this more simplified view confusing all over again. So, the map shows the Parking Rules the way they are shown by the signs posted on the block.
How accurate is this map?
Very accurate. That said, the DOT database of parking signs contains hundreds of thousands of current sign entries and holds sign information from at least as far back as 1953. In this vast table of data, you have variations in street names, variations in the existence of streets, changes in sign wording, complex intersections where reading which street is the one crossing another depends on what map or coordinate system you are using. With so many people inputting so much data over such a long period of time, there is bound to be some human error. Plus the nature of Parking Regulations themselves can be very confusing with the meaning of a particular sign changing depending on what other signs are around it. Add my human error in the mapping and interpretation of so many signs and the natural evolution of Parking Regulations in a city so large, and I think you have to allow for a 5% to 10% possibility of error. However, much of that 5% to 10% will not render the map's symbols on any particular Side of Street completely useless, just slightly off. And this map will only get more and more accurate as updates are posted.
The site is not working for me. What can I do?
For optimum performance of our web site and features, please refer to the following guidelines:
Why do some blocks have no symbols?
A few blocks have no symbols because there are temporary Parking Rules in effect (like for construction) and the future regulations are not certain or because no amount of my searching the tables forwards and backwards, to and from, comparing different maps, or even trying to use Google's 360 degree camera could find the relevant information. A Side of Street with Unconfirmed Parking Rules is shown with a magenta colored curb.
How do all those map tools on the Members Page work?
The Help Button on the Members Page should "pop" into view the comprehensive explanation of the map tools shown below. If it doesn't, you should disable any popup blocker in your browser preferences. In general, this site works better without a popup blocker in effect.
Not find what you
were looking for?
The Tutorial may have the answer you need. Also check out the About Us page, or post a query in our Parking Talk forum.