Parking Space Wars

Many of the homes on my quiet, narrow, suburban street have no driveway or garage (including ours) which means that cars are always parked along both sides of the street. Some of the homes have several drivers and often each driver has his or her own car and understandably everyone wants to park as close to their front door as possible.

Our across the street neighbor, when we first moved in, once knocked on our door in the middle of a party we were having to complain that someone had parked in front of her house. We had the offending car moved and made sure to never park in front of her house again.

A few years ago, after a teenager on the street got his license and a car to go with it, a parking space battle broke out. Sometimes one of the three cars from the home with the teenager would park a little over the next door neighbor’s property line and the neighbor would complain to whomever would listen about their parking spaces being infringed upon. The teenager or one of his parents would then park elsewhere on the street and another neighbor would complain. Finally they began parking on a side street and walked the half block to their own house in order to make peace with the neighborhood.

Because we live on a corner, our parking space is even more limited than other neighbors’ because one is not supposed to park within 16 feet of an intersection (which we discovered when we got a ticket for parking too close to the stop sign). We have three cars, but park at least one of them on a side street in order to not annoy our neighbors (although Andrew parks in front of a neighbors house all the time — they have a large parking area and have said they don’t mind him parking there).

The latest of the parking space battles is the silliest, I think, but then I’ve never been one for appearances. A neighbor who moved into a McMansion about a year ago apparently doesn’t appreciate another neighbor parking her old Cadillac in front of their house. About a month ago a large pile of branches found its way into the street in front of the new neighbor’s house. It is possible that the neighbors, being new, didn’t know that the county didn’t pick up branches over 4 feet long. it has been speculated that the neighbor put them there to prevent the old Cadillac from being parked in front of their home. I walked by the other day and was somewhat amused to see that the Cadillac was there, but behind the pile of branches.

Today I saw the branches were gone but the Cadillac has not been moved. The new neighbors do have a driveway and a garage, so their parking is taken care of. I doubt the Cadillac owner is parking in front of the McMansion out of spite — I just think it is easy for her do do so. I’m not well acquainted with either of these neighbors, but hope their battle, if indeed it is a battle, works itself out.

We’re not the only street with this problem in the area. My son once parked in another Bethesda neighborhood to help a friend’s family move furniture from a flooded basement to higher ground. When he returned to his car he found a nastily worded note on his windshield complaining about his parking in front of someone’s house.

My advice? Chill people. Life is too short for such pettiness.

13 thoughts on “Parking Space Wars

  1. Things are so much harder now that everyone AND THEIR KIDS have cars. When I grew up, there were four people, one car. Can you imagine such a scenario?

    Once, when living in Wheaton with a roommate, I left an ugly car I was temporarily driving in front of a neighbor’s house because someone else had parked in front of ours. I left it there for a week while I was visiting Tim in Vermont, and they were furious with me. But I hadn’t broken any law…

    So stressful.


    1. I know what you mean, IB. We had two cars when I was a kid, but we also had a garage and driveway. The only issue with parking at my mom’s house was that the postal worker would not deliver or pick up mail if someone parked in front of the mailbox.


  2. The fact is that in Montgomery County, the streets are public property, and if *I* felt like parking in front of that McMansion, I would be perfectly entitled to do so. The Bethesda yuppie mentality includes a little too much of a sense of entitlement, dont’ you think? I, for one, am very happy that Joe was spared the experience of Whitman.


    1. Thanks for commenting Miss P. I agree — the streets are public property and anyone is entitled to park where they want. Most people are courteous about the situation, but some really get in a tizzy over it. Bethesda is only one area with residents who have a sense of entitlement — there must be others around just as Whitman is not the only school with overachievers. But yes, you see a lot of it here.


  3. Interesting. In the years we’ve lived in this house, we have noticed the roadside gradually fill up with cars, as every household seems to have more and more cars. We’re a bit of an oddity – we are a one car household.


    1. Good for you. If I were not terrified of not being able to go somewhere if Dean had the car we’d be a 1 car household too.


  4. Same as here. We had a neighbor (a new neighbor) leave a nasty note on the windshield of one of our old-time residents (one of those multi-generation families with 4 drivers and 4 cars and a boat and a camper and so forth, and the boat and camper are in back in the alley so the cars have to be in front!). The son-in-law was a county officer. And he left her a return note that got her so upset she asked me if she should get a restraining order. CHILL PEOPLE INDEED. As block captain, I just let her know that if she talked to him, he’d probably scoot his car up.

    Neighbors across the street used to run a newspaper delivery service and would park in front of my house every day. I asked and received my spot back.

    And then there were the drug dealing cabbies.

    Now there is plenty of parking and we try not to step on each others’ toes.


    1. Okay — I admit, I get a little annoyed at folks with campers and boats but I’d not leave notes on their cars.

      Glad the drug dealing cabbies are gone!


  5. Oh yes. I can relate to this scenario. We are a three person household with two cars. Daughter learned to drive and took over second car. Daughter has a boyfriend, who often drives over to visit. That’s three cars for our one house. Yesterday the cable guys paid a visit and parked in front of neighbor’s apartment building. One of the tenants came out and didn’t politely ask them to move … she just launched into a full-on tirade. Space is tight on our street, we all have guests, but people need to relax. I agree. There are better things to snipe about.


  6. We currently live in a neighborhood in suburban Charlotte with a crazy HSA. And with that crazy HSA, comes crazy parking rules. Our driveway is narrow, short, has only a one car garage. I get to park in the garage (b/c T is a gentleman), and he parks his work truck (a small Toyota pickup with a topper) and his personal Jetta in the driveway, in one lane – and plays musical cars every day, switching them around, etc after I leave for work.
    We are not allowed to park on the street. Period. (Supposedly – others do, and I can’t help but wonder how they get away with it). If you do park on the street, you get a nasty letter from the HSA telling you that after the 3rd offense you will have to pay a fine of $100. Keep in mind, this is a cumulative offense. And, that we are renters. When we first moved in and were unaware of this, we parked on the street, thus getting the dreaded letter and being warned that this was our second offense. Of course, we had just moved in – the old renters had committed the first offense, but the HSA didn’t care. It’s cumulative for the house, regardless of residents. Crazy. Their insane rules go on and on, and I won’t bore you with them. But keep in mind, this is suburbia. Space to park is not in short supply. Everyone has a driveway. But sometimes, yes, you need/want to park on the street. And guests? Forget it.
    Thank goodness we only rent this house. We’ll have been here for 3 years come this July… it was good for us at the time. But now, we want to move. Badly. I would never buy a house in this crazy neighborhood.



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