Everything You Should Know About NYC Parking Tickets

Last Updated on February 24, 2021 by Greg

The classic image of New York City typically includes a jumbotron, street performers, thousands of people on foot, and bumper-to-bumper traffic in the streets. Home to over 8.5 million people and a vacation destination to countless more, the concrete jungle of New York City is a nightmare for those looking for a place to park their car.

NYC Parking Tickets and How to Fight them

Parking in the city is so horrendous that generations of local New Yorkers have adapted to an entirely car-free life. Unfortunately, avoiding daily driving isn’t possible for everyone, and car ownership in New York City is actually growing. This means that finding legal parking is harder than ever and just like the city, enforcement never sleeps. Did you know the average parking ticket in New York City is $85? Keep reading to learn more about how to reduce your NYC parking fine.

If you keep getting tickets, your car might get booted, impounded, or towed, thus making the grand total exponentially more than the original amount.

Parking Tickets Aren’t Going Away

Collecting fines from NYC parking violations, as well as selling parking permits, is an easy way for the city to boost its revenue for the NYC Department of Finance. This means getting away with illegal parking is almost impossible unless you don’t have a license plate. 🙂 Parking tickets have shown to be a cash cow for the NYC Department of Finance, bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars every year. When you are delinquent and do not take advantage of their easy pay online for your parking citation, you will pay the parking fine plus a late fee.

Avoid Parking Tickets by taking a Cab in New York City

Fighting Your NYC Parking Ticket

Got a recognizable orange envelope? Luckily, just because you’ve received a parking ticket and citation number in New York City doesn’t always mean you have to pay for your parking ticket. You always have the right to fight NYC parking tickets if you believe that it wasn’t given fairly. If your ticket has an error on it or you have substantial proof that the ticket was unwarranted, contesting it may be in your best interest. 

How Do I Contest a New York Parking Ticket?

To begin the process, you’ll have to request a hearing within 30 days after the New York City parking ticket was issued.  

Apps such as DoNotPay can help you navigate the process of contesting a parking ticket in New York City. More people than ever are requesting hearings to fight their NYC parking tickets, causing a backlog of hearings and more people walking away ticketless.

If you feel that you didn’t deserve the ticket you got, be sure to present all evidence that might support your “not guilty” plea if you are granted a hearing, including photos or even witness testimony. Additionally, you should make sure to check for small mistakes on the ticket.

Possible reasons to dispute a NYC parking ticket:

  • The ticket is illegible;
  • Wrong date, time, or county;
  • Incorrect vehicle information (wrong license plate number, plate type, vehicle color, model year, vehicle manufacturer, etc.);
  • They didn’t specify whether you were parked in ‘Front of’ or ‘Opposite’ the address in question;
  • Signage issues (a sign isn’t visible or has incorrect information).

Also, if a judge finds you guilty at an NYC parking ticket hearing, you have the right to appeal the decision. To request it, you must file this application within 30 days of the hearing decision.

It is important to note that if you don’t plan on fighting your NYC parking ticket, you should pay it right away to avoid any late fees or additional consequences. 

Cheaper Means of Transportation

Wondering how to avoid getting a parking ticket in New York City? Avoid driving entirely. Today, many ways of getting around don’t require searching for a parking spot or risking a ticket. The Big Apple is equipped with intricate mass transit such as the subway system that can eliminate the need for a motor vehicle.

Though it might take some practice, navigating the subway is a part of the true New York City experience, with no risk of a pricy parking ticket. If you’d rather stay above ground, rideshare apps such as Uber and Lyft have made quick rides more accessible than ever by allowing you to call a car at any time with the touch of a button.

If you’re feeling old fashioned, you can even yell for a classic yellow taxi from the side of the road. Though they are not free, all of these alternative options will definitely cost you less than a parking ticket in New York City and are undoubtedly less stressful than trying to find a parking spot in one of the country’s most popular cities.

Tips to Avoid NYC Parking Tickets

If you insist on driving your own vehicle in the city, there are some tricks to help avoid getting an orange envelope with a parking violation. The City of New York is notorious for cryptic and constantly changing parking signage, so before you put your car in park, be sure to take care to read all signs posted in the immediate area.

Most people probably don’t understand the sign jargon, so you can visit the official NYC website to read up on the parking rules and regulations on or near the street you intend to park on to make sure you aren’t breaking any rules.

How to avoid parking citations:

  • Read all signs thoroughly;
  • When planning your drive, give yourself plenty of time to find parking;
  • Use parking apps to find the cheapest nearby parking lots and garage.

Where to Park in NYC

Parking lots and garages are some of the safest places to park your car, though they tend to be expensive and will probably cost more than the traditional parking meter. If you would like to plan your New York City parking ahead of time, visit the NYC Department of City Planning website to determine which parking lots and garages are near the area you plan on visiting. 

If you are trying to avoid getting a parking ticket in New York City, be sure to give yourself ample time to find a legal spot to park your car. Rushing may lead to hasty parking decisions or missing posted signage that may warrant a parking ticket.

Street Parking Rates in New York City

NYC parking prices vary across the five boroughs and depend on neighborhood parking conditions. Hourly parking rates in the City of New York range between $1.25 and $7.50, or between $5 and $8, depending on the location. For example, the first hour of street parking is $4.50 in Midtown Core and Lower Manhattan but $2.50 from Manhattan 96th Street to 110th Street. In business districts outside of Manhattan, the hourly rate is $2 for the first and $4 for the second hour. See NYC DOT for more information.

Bottom Line

Manhattan is a destination on almost everyone’s bucket list and a shining example of life in America. Though the city is always a leader in innovation and technology, it may not be the best place to bring your car if you can help it.

Some say it is easier to get an NYC parking violation than it is to park legally! Parking in the city is difficult due to a shortage of affordable legal parking and a surplus of cars. With a constantly growing population and a thriving tourist economy, the problem will probably not get better with time. Parking enforcement tightens every year to help fund the city and to keep the streets under control.

If you are planning on spending time in the city, know that it is easily accessible to those without a car, and using alternative transportation can be an immersive experience in the culture. If you do have to drive your own car, make sure you do your research beforehand because getting a parking ticket in NYC may end up costing more than you’d think.

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