Those of us who are forced to comply with the ritual of alternate side parking know that it’s a special kind of hell. You get in your car, you move it to the opposite side of the street; the sanitation department sends a little Zamboni down the street to spray some water and push some trash around; and the next day (depending on where you live), you’re back in the car, desperately searching for a spot on the other side so the Zamboni can work its magic once again.
But if you’re among the majority of New York car owners who refuses to pay for parking (aside from the hundreds of dollars you set aside every year for parking tickets) and if you know how to play your cards right, you’re about to get a reprieve for the next two weeks.
See also: Companies Get Free Pass on Parking Fines, While Regular New Yorkers Suffer
A wacky coincidence has lined up enough national and religious holidays over the next 16 days — Yom Kippur, Idul-Adha, Succoth, Columbus Day, and Shemini Atzareth — that if you manage to find a plum spot on the Tuesday side of the street, you could be sitting pretty until October 19. This according to Tom Hibbard, the creator of parking website parallelspaces.com. “It’s a little slice of heaven,” he says. “I parked my car on the Tuesday side of 114th Street [on the evening of October 2] where there will be no street sweeping, and I will not have to move it, until the 19th.”
We asked the New York City Department of Transportation whether this get-out-of-jail-free card was too good to be true, and a spokesperson directed us to their website, declining to confirm the alleged miracle that the parking gods have bestowed upon us. But you can check the alternate side parking suspension schedule and see if it matches up with sweeping days in your own neighborhood here.
Some members of the New York City Council Transportation Committee have tried this year to ease the burden on car owners by changing alternate side parking regulations. This spring, Ydanis Rodriguez proposed a bill that would allow drivers to return their cars to their original parking spot once the street sweeping vehicle has driven by (instead of forcing car owners to keep the street empty for the full 90-minute time period indicated on street signs). According to a Rodriguez aide, the bill was “laid over in committee” — which is often a legislative death knell — and has not been brought to a vote. But the aide says the bill is still in play and considering amendments.
Meanwhile, alternative transportation advocates have a, well, alternate view of the Alternate Side battle. In July, Charles Komanoff at Streetsblog wrote,
You can bet that if the Rodriguez bill passes, some present-day car-owning and car-storage decisions will be tipped toward street parking. Why pay a garage if the time cost of free street parking has been cut in half? Why rely on Zipcars or stick to destinations served by public transit if the city has made it easier to store your own vehicle on the street?