Eyes on the Street: Next-Gen No Standing Signs in Inwood

Southwest corner of Park Terrace West and W. 218th Street. Photos: Brad Aaron

The city recently replaced four parking spots at Park Terrace West and W. 218th Street, in Inwood, with a no standing zone. The 34th Precinct reportedly requested the change to give drivers exiting Park Terrace West, a northbound one-way street, a better view of east-west traffic on 218th.

Inevitably, car owners accustomed to parking at the intersection complained, and those complaints, many of which were posted on a neighborhood email list, led to a story by DNAinfo. Here’s a taste:

At least seven residents said they were ticketed or towed after the new signs went up late last month.  Local parenting email list InwoodKids was recently flooded with parent complaints about the new parking regulations.

Inwood mother Beth More said she and her husband were ticketed and towed in the new zone on Jan. 5 after arriving home from the holidays.

“We had no idea the new signs were posted,” she told DNAinfo. “In fact, we were sure our car was stolen at first and never even thought to look up.”

The couple has appealed the $75 parking ticket and will fight for reimbursement of the $185 tow charge.

“I, like many others in the neighborhood, question if this really was a matter of safety or simply an opportunity for the city and police precinct to ticket more,” she said.

Several city and police sources said summonses issued just days after the new signs were installed are likely to be dismissed.

In case the no standing signs still don’t get the message across — a possibility, considering the illegally parked car out of frame in the above photo — on Sunday I saw a couple of homemade posters warning drivers not to park near the intersection.

I have driven this corner. I also walk it regularly. As a driver it was very difficult to detect whether cars on 218th were approaching without either inching into the Park Terrace West crossing or nosing into cross traffic. As a pedestrian I also appreciate that drivers have better sightlines. While it’s understandable that some were angry about being caught off guard, the idea that the city would look to raise revenue by clearing four parking spots at a blind intersection — and installing the proper signage, no less — smacks of Agenda 21-level paranoia.

Southeast corner, with no standing sign in the background.

How’s this for DIY messaging: Summons for parking in a no standing zone: $115. Fee to park almost anywhere else in Inwood: $0. Preserving life and limb through improved visibility: Priceless.

  • Ben from Bed Stuy

    Signs are a good beginning. A safer and more permanent version of the same thing, called daylighting, can be seen everywhere in Portland…daylighting is done permanently using concrete curb extensions, which are then filled with trees, shrubs, bike parking, etc. This serves several purposes – making it easier to see approaching traffic, plus it adds landscaping and bike parking to a crowded city streetscape.

  • Signwriter

    I think it’s a good initiative! we should pay more attention to our urban environment. Signage
    is a smart and efficient tool in order to ‘organize’ the city, make people interact and live together. Making come along motorists and pedestrians is a big deal in our crowded cities.

  • > While it’s understandable that some were angry about being caught off guard…

    Do not dismiss that concern. The city should put up some temporary fliers in the week before the change, just like those a good neighbor posted, or like they post when they close a block for filming—give people some notice! You’re taking their car and levying heavy fines! That’s a disaster for a lot of people, I can’t imagine what it’s like for people with kids. If you want people to appreciate smart transit and road policy, you have to communicate. Otherwise, yeah, it does look to them like an easy way to raise some money for screwing people, who wouldn’t feel fucked when they don’t notice the new sign?  

  • Anonymous

    The notion that the city would create a new no standing zone just to raise revenue seems ridiculous to me. Just by enforcing existing rules, it is trivial to find more violations than the city has the time to enforce. And yet the city chooses not to do it! Just to give one example, there are lots of places in the city where illegal double parking is the rule rather than the exception. If the city were interested in milking double parking for money, it could do it any day. So no, the city doesn’t need to spring up stealth no standing zones to entrap poor motorists with the goal of making money.

    That said, it would be courteous to give a better warning of the existence of the new no standing zone, or maybe have a transition period where warnings (how about a sticker? 😉 are given instead of towing.

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