There’s Snow Parking Spaces Anywhere!

by admin on February 13, 2018

This is equal parts an etiquette related question and a rant about the willfully inconsiderate behavior that people exhibit and which adversely impacts others in already stressful situations. The commuter train station close to my home is currently expanding its parking lot to include a large, covered lot that in the long term, will greatly alleviate the horrible parking spot drought from which it currently suffers. At this time last year, arriving after 8:30am generally meant that you would not find a spot. Commuters adjusted their schedules accordingly. However, at the moment, the situation has become quite unbearable:

1. Now that there is construction on-going, one full row of spots adjacent to the work site is out of commission for safety reasons.
2. Given that the construction workers need to park somewhere and likely arrive early, that’s several more spots unavailable to train commuters.
3. We’ve been having a spate of inclement weather with colder temperatures and more relevantly, a fair bit of snow this winter. They are optimistically describing this as a “classic winter” but what it really means is that we have been spoiled with milder weather for the last 10-15 years and now Old Man Winter is back with a vengeance ?. Presumably, in order to efficiently clear snow when required, there are two snow plows permanently parked in the lot, taking up a further 8 spots.
4. Lots of snow means the big piles of packed snow and ice shoveled off the roads and the rest of the parking lot, taking up yet more viable spots.
5. There is a bank of 12 carpool spots at the front of the lot. These are free to anyone after 9:30am. Generally, if I was unable to be at the station by 8:30, I would delay my arrival until 9:30am in order to legally park in a carpool spot. Until recently, there have been 4-5 still available at 9:30, or at least 1-2 on the odd busier day. Now, they are all gone by 8:30. One explanation could be that the number of carpoolers has gone up. More likely though, desperate people are “risking it” in order to make their trains.

All in all, the condition is pretty dire. Everyone is suffering and we understand that it’s short term pain for longer term gain. However, a bit of consideration from fellow commuters would go a long way towards improving things or at the very least, not worsening them. What prompted me to write was my mounting feeling of desperation as I scoured the lot for a parking spot today. I was later than usual and expected to have trouble but not to see the senseless waste of perfectly good parking spots thanks to morons who don’t know how to park. This is what I saw today:

1. One end spot taken by a dumpster (sad Christmas ? ) parked very close to the dividing line between spots. Fine, can’t do anything about that. Perfectly viable spot was available next to the dumpster, only, I couldn’t park in it because the moron on the other side had parked on the yellow line also, leaving a ton of space on his other side. I could have gotten my car in but would not have been able to get out of the car. I drove away sadly.
2. Another giant idiot parked over the yellow line, effectively taking up two spots. There isn’t enough snow to make the excuse “I couldn’t see the line” a valid one so I have no idea what he/she was thinking.
3. Quite a few angled cars, with angles severe enough that they are closer to or over the line on one side at the front and the other at the back, basically making their neighbors lives hell. People adjust so they can get out of their cars and eventually this results in waste down the row when everyone has adjusted enough.
4. Douchebag with a giant truck, once again, parked almost on the line on one side, inciting that same bad behaviour starting with his neighbor all the way down the line. I get it, large vehicles are harder to park but YOU bought the frakking car, YOU make the effort to park it properly even if it takes you 3 or 4 tries. Don’t make it my problem.

All of the above are problems whether there’s a dearth of parking spots or not. They’re just easier when you can shake your head in disbelief and annoyance before moving your car to another open spot. I’m not really looking for a solution because there isn’t one. How do you make people behave? How do you make them stop to consider the impact of their negligence on others? I’d love to hear coping mechanisms or fun ideas or anything, really…. Otherwise, please join me in a rant!  0129-18

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Harry's Mom February 13, 2018 at 6:30 pm

How do you make people behave?
You DON’T!
Not only because it’s impossible, but because you cannot respond to bad manners with more bad manners. I sympathize with your dilemma; traffic, parking, trying to get to work on time, being away from home, the list goes on and it’s easy to bring you down. Perhaps try a different station, or earlier time, a carpool, something until they get this parking situation sorted.


staceyizme February 13, 2018 at 7:02 pm

This is really the province of enforcement. The local authority (constabulary, lot security or other entity) should be tasked with making certain that no spaces are lost to bad attitudes. It’s hard enough to find a space in the conditions cited, it’s beyond tolerance that some are lost to preventable issues. Not parking within the allotted spaces in such a way that others are either blocked from using adjacent spaces or blocked from reasonable access to their own vehicles when occupying adjacent spaces should be punishable by a fine and/ or towing. Impound and towing fees may be harsh, but the prospect of such a nuisance may impel inattentive and selfish consumers who are parking in the lots to make certain that their efforts to park within accepted standards are acceptable prior to running off. Finally, OP, if it’s really insupportable, maybe explore a carpool or work from home until such time as spaces are reasonably available…?


Vermin8 February 14, 2018 at 6:38 am

As someone who has had to pay to get out of a parking garage but couldn’t find a space because of many vehicles parked over the line, I say “hear, hear!”


Calli Arcale February 16, 2018 at 12:53 pm

I’ve been in that boat! It’s infuriating. I wish they’d set it so that the first ten minutes are free. That would give enough time to determine that there are actually no usable spots left without billing you. I rather suspect the lot operators are not trouble by the extra revenue, though….


Kitsune February 16, 2018 at 3:04 pm

I am all for making them pay those fees. I have no sympathy for anyone who is that self centered.


Dee February 13, 2018 at 7:09 pm

Is there no way to get to the train without taking a car? Is there no transit at all? What does everyone else do, and why hasn’t this spurred people to carpool more? And what about using Uber or taxis to get to the station? I realize none of these solves the shortage of parking issue but, ultimately, the goal isn’t to get a parking spot but to get to work. It seems rather odd to be using transit for a certain portion of the trip but not the rest of it. And I say that as someone who lives in a city that has poor transit options.


Charliesmum February 14, 2018 at 7:16 am

It isn’t odd to drive to a train station if you live in a suburb and take a train into the city. Not every office building in a city has parking for employees, and public lots are expensive. Many people I know take the train into Philadelphia from New Jersey, for example, and take the ‘speedline’ in. It’s cheaper and easier. I live in PA and my husband takes the train into the city, because driving in would be more expensive and stressful.


Devin February 14, 2018 at 9:58 am

If she is commuting into a large city, there may not be any parking available in said city to non residents. The communities served by commuter rails are typically far enough outside the major metro area that there isn’t a wide net of public transportation asside from the one train (hence they are expanding parking because it is common to need to drive to the station). These commuter communities also don’t have the same level of Uber/taxi service either making it not a reliable method or prohibitively costly. I commute via subway to work even though I have a car because parking in my building is $40 a day or I could rent a space 10 blocks alway for $200 a month, instead I pay $50 a month to use public transit.


Lindsay February 14, 2018 at 10:15 am

These are all excellent ideas. Perhaps the station master will agree to put up a ride share board temporarily for carpoolers. Although I think it’s very common to drive to a further out station to then take the train into the city.


staceyizme February 14, 2018 at 1:21 pm

Very creative to drive further out for better parking! I’m tucking this away in case of need!


Queen of the Weezils February 15, 2018 at 12:13 pm

On the rare times I couldn’t drive my car to the train station, I would take the bus. Added 30-60 minutes onto my commute, which was already 90 minutes. Hard pass. Whether this would be a viable option for the OP or not depends entirely on her commuting options and what the OP is willing or not willing to do.


Asharah February 13, 2018 at 7:58 pm

Couldn’t they shovel the snow into the spots they can’t use because they’re too close to the construction site.


PJ February 14, 2018 at 12:01 pm

There’s a good chance that they already do that. My city gets heavy snowfall, and the plows pile it very high. A dozen parking spaces in a commuter park and ride lot wouldn’t be anywhere close to enough space to pile it all up!


MelEtiquette February 14, 2018 at 12:51 pm

Right? It sounds like chaos at that parking lot due to short-sightedness of the lot manager made worse by the impacts due to weather. If I were OP, I would find out who manages the lot (is it owned by the transit company, the city, or privately-owned) and raise these issues with them. It sounds like stricter enforcement of the parking lot rules is needed until the parking garage becomes available. At minimum I would suggest that the lot manager puts up a sign reminding drivers of proper parking etiquette and warning that cars that do not conform to the guidelines will be ticketed and/or towed at the owner’s expense.


NostalgicGal February 13, 2018 at 8:59 pm

Setting up localized carpools to the station lot to allow for less parking slots needed? Have someone get the local authorities to start policing and ticketing? (though if you get someone starting a row slanted it won’t help). Petition that the snow has to be removed from the site not piled there? Have THEM start up a parkNride with a remote lot and regular ferry/shuttle to the station?


Ermine February 14, 2018 at 12:37 am

First world problems. At least you aren’t dying of Ebola.


Kelly S February 14, 2018 at 8:38 am

Not helpful.


cleosia February 14, 2018 at 9:19 am

I have a friend who does this. This has nothing to do with the OP’s post. Yes, s/he isn’t dying of Ebola. She’s also not starving or dying of malnutrition and probably hasn’t won the lottery. The thing they all have in common is that they’re all off point.

We’re allowed to vent about things that affect us whether they’re major or minor. You can start your own post about people complaining about first world problems.


JAN February 14, 2018 at 9:20 am

Well, this *is* Etiquette Hell. Not, *Worst Problems Hell*


Melissa February 14, 2018 at 9:48 am

All etiquette issues are essentially first world problems. If you are dying of Ebola, rude people are probably of little concern. I am baffled as to why people read sites such as this and Miss Manners, etc, then complain about people complaining about first world problems. And actually this problem is more valid than many others, this is legitimately making it more difficult for OP to be able to get to work, school, etc.

However, I am also baffled when people write into an etiquette site and call everyone moron, idiot, and douchebag. Although I sympathize with OP and have called other drivers much worse names in my own head, if I was writing into a site dedicated to etiquette, I’d like to think I’d choose my terms more carefully! It made me chuckle though 🙂


OP February 14, 2018 at 3:44 pm

Fair point :D. That was weeks of frustration coming through. To be honest though, I did briefly consider how rude my chosen terms sounded and then dismissed that line of thought…I decided I wanted to called them morons and idiots. Here’s why:

Wilful negligence like that isn’t accidental and is generally indicative of the way in which the person approaches life as a whole. I know this is a rather blanket statement but I still find it to be true. Which is worse: you (general moron you :D) catching your train and inconveniencing everyone with your badly parked car or you (general non-moron you :D) taking the time to park properly and possibly missing your train? The fact of the matter is, you have now made your problem a stranger’s problem. I’m likely taking a KIND view of the situation by assuming the person was about to miss a train. I’ve seen this behaviour in so many other places: malls, schools, workplaces, you name it, suggesting that people just really don’t care about how they park. In the line, over the line, same difference 😛 Unfortunately, there’s also hidden social impact here. The more of this behaviour people exhibit and are seen “getting away with”, the more it incites others to also behave this way. Therefore, I class that as moronic, idiotic and douchebag behaviour 😛

However, your point is well-taken. I tend to have more sympathy for those posts not written in a rude manner. Thanks for not dismissing mine.


staceyizme February 14, 2018 at 9:51 am

Neither is anyone else who is reading or responding to the posts on the site… It’s also easy to understand how a daily dynamic that compounds the stress of just getting to work could be hard to take after a season. Most of the other stories on this site would qualify as “first world problems”, but I don’t see a badge requiring spilled blood or broken bones as a prerequisite for submitting a narrative for consideration.


viviennebzb February 14, 2018 at 10:39 am

Way to look on the bright side! lol


BeachMum February 14, 2018 at 10:49 am

This is such a dismissive, rude response. It implies that any complaint other than those about food, shelter, or water aren’t important.


Gumbyjune February 14, 2018 at 10:50 am

I will never understand the logic of statements like this. Are we only allowed to vent if we have problems on the same scale as Ebola? Anything less is considered petty? Why do you have to put a qualifier on what people vent about? It’s a problem for her. If you can’t drum up empathy because it’s not a big enough problem then keep it to yourself.


Ashley February 14, 2018 at 12:15 pm

So unless someone is dying of ebola, they have no right to complain about anything? *eyeroll*


Anonymous February 14, 2018 at 1:28 pm

It’s an etiquette site. What other than First world problems would one expect to find?


SJ February 19, 2018 at 1:20 am

This reminds me of something I once heard.

(I am equating “at least you aren’t dying of ebola” to “it could be worse.:)

Saying someone shouldn’t complain because it could be worse is like saying someone shouldn’t rejoice because it could be better.


Kamatari February 14, 2018 at 5:17 am

I understand your pain. Bad parking is a huge pet peeve of mine! I cannot comprehend how people can be so far up their own butt that they can’t see how their bad parking effects others.

A couple years ago, my family and I went to the beach and found a parking garage. We had to go up several levels because (besides being full) at least a third of the spaces were completely unusable due to people parking over the line.


cleosia February 14, 2018 at 9:13 am

Best interests of the parking garage policing this. Means they’re losing half the revenue they should be receiving.


NostalgicGal February 14, 2018 at 10:14 pm

I parked at a major airport ramp and they had LEDs over each slot with red and green. Red it was parked in, green it was empty. Easy to see going down row if there was a slot or not. They also had sensors that would trip if someone tried to straddle slots and would dispatch someone NOW to get the person to move or leave. Perhaps they need to install such a system? Or a sign that says if you don’t park within your slot it’s an additional $20 or $50?


DGS February 14, 2018 at 10:03 am

This is not an etiquette problem; this is a commuting frustration which is hardly solved by calling people “douchebags”. Take a car, go earlier, carpool, or be prepared to deal with the frustrations of scouring for parking in a commuter lot. Law enforcement should be dealing with parking violations (presumably, they are, and if they are not, you’re within your rights to bring it to their attention), but otherwise, this is part of the frustration of living in a universe with people.


OP February 14, 2018 at 3:52 pm

I beg to differ, kind sir (or madam). This is an etiquette problem as long as we are defining etiquette as: “the customary code of polite behaviour in society or among members of a particular profession or group.”

The customary code of polite behaviour for parking is to make sure that you are parking not only within your lines but also as much in the centre of the spot as possible. Let me give you the example of a person parked to the far right of a spot, almost on the line but still within. Law enforcement can do nothing about it because the car is not over the line. However, due to this person’s poor, uncaring and impolite behaviour, the spot adjacent is unusable unless that person also does the same thing.
Doesn’t that make it an etiquette problem?


Belle Boyd February 28, 2018 at 11:03 am

If it’s a private lot, law enforcement isn’t going to do a darn thing. Sorry.


KarenK February 14, 2018 at 11:37 am

There’s a special level of Hell for people who can’t put their cars between two yellow lines! The situation is especially dire in the parking garage where I work, which is limited to employees only, after a storm. I’ve been often reduced to circling the garage, hoping that someone will leave, and seeing space after space wasted because of idiots. The other day, someone parked so close to my driver’s side door that I had to enter my car from the front passenger side. We also have a satellite lot that is serviced by a shuttle bus, but that’s paid for by my work.

Someone mentioned up-thread about alternative ways to get to the station. I should think that a satellite parking lot with a shuttle would work well, but that would require that some entity take responsibility.


NostalgicGal February 14, 2018 at 6:57 pm

I was going to be working very late and the only choice of a slot that wasn’t on the far far rim of the huge lot because of the way the other two parked, I would barely fit into. I was driving an older pickup with a passwindow (for having a topper) fitted into the back. I started the maneuvers to get into this slot (one on my right had passenger with acres of room to get in/out, one to left had driver having acres, it was how they parked to their lines!) and a car showed up and blinked. They crowded me rather close expecting me to give up and were preventing me from making any further progress, until I finally crossed my arms. I was going to outwait them. They circled. I got in there after about 8 in and outs, not touching anything, and the other two could get into their vehicles and leave. I could unlatch my doors but they weren’t going anywhere. I exited through the passwindow. As I’m going over the tailgate the car came back around expecting the spot and dropped a jaw to see me with vehicle parked and touching down to pavement over the back. 12 hours later at least I wasn’t far from the door and had a light over my spot, and nobody raked my side off getting out of their slot… An also for parking, some lots paint their slots so narrow that you can barely get anything in the slot to begin with and that can quickly escalate into a mess….


Tan February 15, 2018 at 6:10 am

Actually it’s rarely actually the bays getting smaller; it’s more often the cars getting bigger. In a lot of places the guidelines for car parks have been the same for decades. Individually car models have grown in the past couple of decades. Another problem is shift away from small hatchbacks, sedan and saloon style cars and into pick-ups, MPV and SUVs. So in the past people driving big cars were fewer so often could park to a small car and not notice the problem. E.G. the original mini was about 4.5 foot wide. The modern mini is 5.5 foot wide. A typical SUV is over 6 foot. Car park bays have been ~8 foot for decades.


Queen of the Weezils February 15, 2018 at 12:09 pm

When the HOA had the lot in front of my townhome painted, they did so very unevenly. Some spots were narrow, some were wide. The one we were assigned was so narrow that we couldn’t get our car into it, and it wasn’t a large car! So we asked our neighbors to please move their cars for about 5 minutes, put our car in centered, and took the photograph showing that all 4 tires were on or over a white line! Then we sent it to the HOA and called, called, called, called to follow-up until they had it repainted. Took about a month, during which time we parked a block away from our house in one of the coveted visitor spots.


PJ February 14, 2018 at 11:58 am

How to make others behave? You can’t. All you can do is adjust your own behavior or your attitude. The most you can do is ask the transit authority if they would create temporary overflow lots.

I can relate very well to this situation. I used to go to an overcrowded park and ride, It has the carpool lot that opens to all at x:00 with people that take the chance and park there 30 minutes early. It has the people who can’t seem to park between the lines, and the domino effect of others trying to make do with the odd partial-spaces that are left to them. It has that snowfall situation where plows take up spots and there isn’t enough off-road space to pile the snow, so more spots are lost. Not that they don’t try: those piles of snow have been three times the height of the plow! Construction taking up more space would make it all that much worse.

In my case, they set up a temporary overflow lot at a recently-closed big box store. If there’s not an option like that, I’d suggest either a different park and ride for the construction period, or driving all the way to work and getting a parking contract for a month or two. It may take a little more driving to get there, but it is clear that there just isn’t enough room in the short term.

Also, I have to mention that all of the name-calling (moron, idiot, douchebag) gives me the impression that you’re more interested in a rant than a solution. I think you need to take a deep breath, adjust your attitude, and figure out what *you* can do differently; you can’t control the other people.


Miss-E February 14, 2018 at 1:20 pm

I sympathize. I lived in a neighborhood with street parking for 6 years. It was bad every day, when it snowed it was a nightmare and when the annual church festival happened every summer it was hell on earth.

(WHY a church that doesn’t pay taxes gets to take up 6 blocks of an avenue and close off traffic for all the surrounding blocks is beyond me but I digress)

Unfortunately there really isn’t anything that can be done. I used to dream of printing up and distributing pamphlets illustrating how to properly parallel park (pull up or back to leave maximum space for other cars!) but all that you can do is grit your teeth and suffer through knowing once the new parking structure opens it will get better!


OP February 14, 2018 at 4:32 pm

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to those who took the time to read and to post. Part of the joy of reading and submitting to this site is the dialogue that ensues. To clarify a few questions without responding to each post:

1) Exactly as some commentors guessed, I live about 30kms outside the city and the easiest way to get to work is this commuter train. With it, my total commute door to door is about 50 minutes.
2) The train station is a 10 minute drive from my home. Taking public transport to the station would require 30 minutes including the walk to the stop, waiting for the bus, getting off the bus and walking into the station.
3) The subway station is an option but it’s a 25 minute drive + 35 minutes on the subway, making the door-to-door more like 70 minutes.
4) Driving to work can be anywhere from 45 minutes on a REALLY good traffic day to 75 minutes on a bad one. In addition to that, parking costs $20 a day.
5) I was very frustrated and did certainly want to vent about my parking pains but I think my post is really about inconsiderate behaviour in general. In this case, it manifests itself as parking issues. However, I doubt that people who show this lack of care when parking between clearly marked lines magically improve their behaviour in other parts of life. So my callous parking neighbour at the train station is the same person who abandons her cart in the middle of your grocery store parking lot rather than walking it a few steps to the designated drop-off. It’s the same person who leaves dirty dishes and food in the common sink. It’s the same person who makes a doorman of you by walking calmly through the door you just opened. It’s also that exact same person who keeps “borrowing” something from your desk and cannot be bothered to bring it back later. Sure, these are all problems we encounter by living in a universe of people. But the common theme I seem to see is: “It was my problem but hey look, I’ve solved it by making it yours!” /endvent ?


Queen of the Weezils February 15, 2018 at 12:03 pm

Yep, your #5 is the real problem. It’s the same people who make their problem everyone’s problem. Still nothing we can do about it, though, especially if you don’t know the person and don’t see it happening. Sorry.


Calli Arcale February 16, 2018 at 1:10 pm

I’m glad you have at least a few options. My town has literally no bus service other than the express buses from the park-and-ride stations. My nearest bus stop is the park-and-ride lot about two and a half miles away. And that only goes to St Paul. If I wanted to go to Minneapolis, I’d either have to go to St Paul and then take the light rail over, or I’d need to go at least *six* miles to one of the park-and-rides that go to Minneapolis. The trip could take hours without a car.

I totally share your frustrating with the poor parking. Just a teensy bit of snow on the ground and suddenly the parking lot’s capacity drops by a third due to people parking waaaaaay too far from the other cars.


Dawn February 15, 2018 at 1:23 am

They should be towed.


Queen of the Weezils February 15, 2018 at 12:02 pm

I wish I had an answer! I encountered the same thing at my commuter train station when it was being revised to create more parking. My solution was to switch commuting modes for the interim. It was more difficult to use the other way, but it was worth it for the peace of mind. That’s a non-answer, I know, and not everyone has the luxury of multiple modes of commuting. But that was the only thing I could come up with. You can’t make people park well. Even if towing is an option, that would only result in the cars going over lines being towed.

Can you telework some days? That would at least relieve the stress.


Kay_L February 15, 2018 at 12:55 pm

There is a line from the play The Maid of Orleans by Friedrich Schiller: “Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens.”

“Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain”


cattra February 15, 2018 at 10:19 pm

Poor parking frustrates me as well. Certainly in my area, people *intentionally* park on or over the lines because they have expensive cars and/or cars they do not want to get scratched. Special snowflakes indeed!


NostalgicGal February 16, 2018 at 12:43 pm

Not me, but. It only takes one really ticked off person to key that expensive car… sigh.


NicoleK February 16, 2018 at 11:50 am

Sometimes it isn’t the fault of the cars you see… they may be parked badly because whoever was there before them was parked badly, or oversized, creating a domino effect


suebe February 16, 2018 at 3:53 pm

Several years ago I was at my SO’s place. He was living next to the marina which provides ferry passenger service to NYC. My car was parked across the street in the lot that also services some of the ferry passengers and boaters. I was parked legally and in a single spot on the innermost part of the row, next to a bank of plowed snow.

I was looking out the window and saw an SUV climb the snowbank next to my car, block my car in and two men came out with their bicycles headed for the ferry. I ran down to the ferry passageway and waited at the front where a ferry employee was taking tickets for the two cyclists to appear. I had explained the situation to the employee and he was happy to help me. When the men arrived at the front of the line they were blocked from boarding the ferry until they moved their car. Of course the ferry was about to leave and they were latecomers. The next ferry departure was just over an hour away.

They begged; they pleaded; they offered me $50 to stay teetering on the mound of plowed snow blocking my car. They were definitely parked illegally.

The ferry employee did radio his office and notified them of the situation. The office told him that they would tow the car if they left it where it was.

They moved the car and caught the later boat.


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