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No Parking (Even) When Sign is Snow-Covered

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The snow that blanketed the city also left many street parking signs under a layer of white, obliterating the various regulations. This caused confusion among parkers and left them wondering whether the city could enforce rules that were impossible for motorists to discern.

“If we can’t read the parking signs, do we have to obey them?” Danilo Barredo, a doorman at the Pierre Hotel on Fifth Avenue, wondered Wednesday afternoon as he hailed cabs for guests and carrying packages.

The curbside stretch outside the hotel is a no-standing zone, excepting trucks loading or unloading. But Mr. Barredo was advising guests Wednesday that they were probably safe parking there temporarily, since the sign was unreadable, like many signs, particularly along the avenues in Manhattan, where parking is usually very scarce (and expensive if one is caught doing it illegally).

The answer, Mr. Barredo, is that the rules remain in force, at least in theory.

A spokesman for the city Department of Transportation, which maintains the signs, said that the posted regulations must be observed, and that motorists may challenge an unfair summons by pleading not guilty and by providing documentation, including, presumably, photos like the one above.

To be sure, finding a legal parking place in Manhattan on Wednesday was hardly the Olympic-level sport it usually is. On a day when few drivers ventured in from out of town, open spots were abundant — even right in front of the American Museum of Natural History, for example.

And it was impossible, during a reporter’s canvassing of many blocks, to find a ticket upon any car parked in meter zones on Wednesday, even those blanketed in snow that that seemed to have been parked there all day.

Still, the city was not about to publicly abdicate its power to at least try to enforce the regulations.

“I think all tickets should be voided until you can read the signs,” said Homer Panteloglou, 24, a manager of West Side Market on Broadway and 75th Street. He said he parked his personal vehicle on a section of Broadway with muni-meter parking, paid no meter and received no summons.

“I saw they weren’t giving tickets today and I just left my car there,” he said. “It’s a free parking day.” 

NY Times
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