What Is Double Parking?

••• Matt Cardy/Getty Images News/GettyImages

Double can be great, as in double-dip ice cream cones. But double can also be trouble, as in double-parking. Double-parking means parallel parking next to a car already legally parked by the curb, and it's a double traffic law violation. A ticket can cost you a pretty penny, even hundreds of dollars. Just because it's okay for one car to park parallel to a curb doesn't make it okay for a second car to park next to it in the street.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

Double-parking means parallel parking next to a car parked at the curb, and it can get you a whopping traffic ticket.

What Are the Double-Parking Rules?

There is one simple rule about double-parking: don't do it! Double-parking is illegal parking, that is, parking in the street right beside another vehicle that is properly parked next to a curb. If you park in the street behind a vehicle that is in a proper parking stall, that's also double-parking.

Why are parking authorities up in arms about this? When you park in the street this way, the drivers of the cars in the parking spaces next to you cannot get out, and other drivers have trouble getting by you on the street. Nobody likes it when you park in a way that stalls the flow of traffic, so don't be surprised if the next parking agent passing by writes you a big, fat ticket.

How Much Is a Double-Parking Ticket?

In many cases, parking ticket fines are not set by the state, but rather by local municipalities. Big cities are understandably more concerned than rural towns by drivers parking in a manner that blocks the roadway, since traffic is heavier and traffic jams inconvenience more people. That's why big cities are serious about keeping their streets clear and hit double-parked drivers hard, right where it hurts: in the pocketbook.

If you are planning on double-parking in downtown Chicago, do it soon. The traffic ticket fine for double-parking in urban Chicago is currently $100, but city leaders are talking about tripling that to a whopping slap on the wrist of $300.

In New York City, the fine is $110. However, a person may park a commercial vehicle beside a car parked at the curb when making quick pickups, deliveries or service calls if no parking space or marked loading zone is available within 100 feet. In San Francisco, you'll also pay $110.

How to Get Out of a Double-Parking Ticket

It would be nice if there were an easy way to get out of a double-parking ticket, but alas, it's a nonstarter. Yes, you might luck out and the parking enforcement officer might put down the wrong license plate, but otherwise, you'll probably have to bite the bullet and pay. If you happen to return while they are writing the ticket, have a tear-jerking story up your sleeve. Or, better yet, just find somewhere legal to park.


About the Author

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.