Dear Matzav Shmooze,
Living in a densely populated area, Baruch Hashem, we have unfortunately been eyewitness to the inappropriate acts of double parking, blocking driveways, etc. An issue that has been discussed in the past a great deal. Just take a minute and look at the parking issue from a different perspective.
Let’s review a rampant and unethical sham occurring amidst our lovely neighborhood. Does one have the entitlement to a parking spot directly in front of their house?
The NYC law allowances for curb cuts is limited to those that have a LEGAL driveway, garage, or carport (that would be a 5-foot easement plus a port of 18 feet deep). Having a bogus garage or carport does not validate the benefits of a curb cut. Another law we need to examine is a very simple one. One may not reserve a parking space. Among the many things it clearly lists as being unlawful is; unauthorized pavement, curb or street markings or signs in the roadway. In addition to fake curb cuts in BP, the latest way of hijacking a parking space is by placing various signs.
There is an additional aspect to this matter we cannot ignore. Those who have these self- obtained parking spots can sometimes go even further. Do homeowners, who illegally claim ownership to a parking space in front of their home, whether by a fake curb cut or the placement of a sign, have the right to glue papers to the windows of or deface the cars they consider violated their unlawfully acquired entitlement of NYC property? How does one go about vandalizing another’s property?
Furthermore, it is interesting to note that some individuals coordinate this as a family activity. They linger by their window to await and see if someone will block their illegally structured driveway or carport. As soon as the innocent driver leaves his car, the homeowner or sometimes his children, start with the gluing activity. What type of chinuch are we giving our children? What message are we sending them? Children learn by example!
There are an abundant of fake carports throughout all of Boro Park. They are mainly constructed in the space that the home’s garden used to be with a bit of an indentation into the home. Many people place the typical NO PARKING signs to intimidate anyone audacious enough to park on the street blocking their fake curb cut.
There are some interesting signs worth examining. The property owner of one different sign politely requests: “PLEASE PARK AFTER TREE – tight driveway”. The tree is not the source that affects the inability to park in the garage! It is straightforward. There is no authentic garage and therefore one cannot park a car in there. This owner is kindly asking, even using the word “please”, not to park your car until after the tree so there is room for their car to park on the street. The curb cut alone is insufficient space for their vehicle. Another homeowner hangs a sign “Don’t even THINK of parking here.” He is instructing everyone who drives by his home, to dare not even contemplate parking in front of his house. Unfortunately, this owner is not as polite as the one mentioned above and even comes across as threatening.
Did a homeowner cause a driver to get a ticket because he blocked a deceptive curb cut? Did a homeowner cause somebody to circle around the block in search of a parking space due to an illegal curb cut or sign?
The laws mentioned above clearly confirm that these matters constitute Goizel ess Harabim. The homeowner stole from his caring good neighbors, the people of his town, as well as any foreign visitor who drove down his block in search of a parking space. Majority of the people assume they are deceiving the city by making a fake carport, garage, paint the curb yellow in front of their home, place no parking signs, etc. What they don’t realize is that it is a far greater issue they are transgressing. In addition to unethically cheating the government with the spot they seized for themselves, they essentially stole from every single person in the entire world who would choose to park there at any given time.
Any type of No Parking sign and illegal curb cut, prevents uninformed drivers from parking in a legal public parking spot. Every time someone circles around the block, looking for parking, and passes your illegally reserved parking spot, that also transgresses Lo Sisna.
If he is your neighbor, he greets you with a smile daily. But at the same time, he is thinking of the ticket he received due to your sham or the lost time incurred circling the block not wanting to incite you. He also thinks of you as a Mosser, and he is validly concerned. Should he park in your stolen spot you may perhaps call 911 and he will get ticketed. Legally, he can fight it and win it in court. But your neighbor is an honest Yid and he will not be a Mosser and inform the city about your illegally reserved spot. Hopefully, those drivers that already know these signs and curb cuts are unlawful, are not intimidated by these bullying tactics.
So dear homeowner of an illegal curb cut or no parking sign, the next time you greet your nice neighbor on Shabbos, remember what he is thinking of you. He identifies you as a Gazlen, a Mosser and a Bully.
I am sure that all honest BP residents want to correct their wrong doings. In such a case, how does one even repay all those unidentified individuals one stole from? The halacha states, one who is Oiver on Goizel ess Harabim needs to repay the public, and suggests that he can build a new public park. Maybe in today’s day we can also suggest building a public parking garage. This would enable all those neighbors one stole parking from to have sufficient parking place.
Dear Drivers, Have you ever been honored by such obnoxious behavior? What would your response be?
 The NYC Department of Transportation traffic rules: §408 (f) (2) Driveways: In front of a public or private driveway, except that it shall be permissible for the owner, lessor or lessee of the lot accessed by a private driveway to park a passenger vehicle registered to him/her at that address in front of such driveway, provided that such lot does not contain more than two dwelling units and further provided that such parking does not violate any other provision of the Vehicle and Traffic Law or local law or rule concerning the parking, stopping or standing of motor vehicles. The prohibition herein shall not apply to driveways that have been rendered unusable due to the presence of a building or other fixed obstruction and, therefore, are not being used as defined in §4-01(b) of these rules.
 The NYC Department of Transportation traffic rules: §408 (n) (7) Unofficial reserving of parking space. It shall be unlawful for any person to reserve or attempt to reserve a parking space, or prevent any vehicle from parking on a public street through his/her presence in the roadway, the use of hand-signals, or by placing any box, can, crate, handcart, dolly or any other device, including unauthorized pavement, curb or street markings or signs in the roadway.
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