I Just Can’t Stand This

In case you aren’t familiar with it for some reason, the classic show Parking Wars is a reality show that airs on A&E. The last new episode was filmed back in 2012, but it shows in reruns to this day, because who doesn’t enjoy watching people yell angrily about parking tickets?

As great as the show is, though, one thing about it has always bothered me. In approximately half the episodes, someone will get a ticket for parking in a no standing zone and argue to the beleaguered parking enforcement officer that they “were parking, not standing”. Sometimes, they will buttress their argument by pointing out that they are not from Philadelphia/Detroit/Staten Island/whatever, and that’s why they don’t know about this peculiar regional parking rule.

Throughout all the arguments that inevitably follow, though, the representative of parking authority, no matter who they are or what city that work for, never seems to think of explain what the difference between parking and standing (when it comes to automotive rules), actually is.

Now, the readers of this blog are all the sort of people who would thoroughly learn all traffic rules and regulations before getting behind the wheel of a car. But for the benefit of those readers who don’t drive, the difference is this: Parking is stopping a vehicle for any purpose other than loading and unloading people or stuff, while standing is stopping temporarily to pick up or drop off passengers (as in, what you might do at a taxi stand).

It’s not that difficult to understand – basically you just need to lay out the “No Stopping” > “No Standing” > “No Parking” hierarchy – but for some reason no one bothers with the definition. They just go in circles, with one person saying “you can’t park in a no standing zone” and the other saying “If I wasn’t allowed to park here, the singn would say ‘No Parking'”. It makes (sort of) good television, but it seems odd.

Unless it is because the parking enforcement person knows about the loophole in some municipalities that make parking and standing mutually exclusive. Which, it could be argued, allows you to park in a No Standing zone, so long as no one but the driver leaves…

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