No Parking vs No Standing vs No Stopping Signs
Driver's education class is little more than a distant memory for many New Yorkers, which is a scary thought when you really think about it! But memory lapses and absentmindedness often results in traffic tickets and high fines on the streets of New York.
Many people confuse signs that read "no parking" with ones that read "no standing" and "no stopping." So whether you're new to the road or just need a mini refresher, here are the basic differences between these three commonly misunderstood signs.
No Parking Signs
Many people pull over at No Parking signs temporarily in order to load or unload passengers or groceries. The New York Department of Transportation allows you to stop to load or unload packages or merchandise at curbside, as well as stop to expeditiously drop off or pick up passengers at this sign. But keep it moving, because this sign doesn't permit the driver to leave the vehicle unattended for even a brief few minutes.
No Standing Signs
No Standing signs apply to unloading and loading people only, not merchandise. New York law allows you to expeditiously drop off or pick up passengers at this sign, but it doesn't allow you to wait for passengers to arrive or to load or unload merchandise at the curb. The important thing to remember about No Standing signs is that they are "people only" signs, and you could receive a ticket if you don't adhere to this rule.
No Stopping Signs
Of all three signs discussed here, No Stopping signs are the strictest. No Stopping signs mean that you cannot stop for any reason – to drop off or pick up passengers, to wait for people to arrive, or to load or unload merchandise. Any violation of this sign can be punishable by law. The only time that you should ever stop at one of these signs is if it is a true emergency or if you are directed to do so by a police officer. However, you should make sure to obey all traffic signals around No Stopping signs as you normally would.
Of course, there are lots of other parking restriction signs around the city, many of which are even more confusing and conditionally restrictive. Take for example a sign that reads, "No Standing Except for Commercial Vehicles, Metered Parking, 3 Hour Limit, 10am to 4pm, Except Sunday." Signs like these have a lot going on and may take a few read-throughs to fully understand the restrictions on a particular date and time.
As a general rule, when you see a sign on a street block, it applies to everywhere on that block unless there's another sign identifying an exempt area. In New York, parking rates vary across all five boroughs and parking durations vary from one hour to 12 hours. Always check parking signs carefully before leaving your car and remember, meters don't need to be paid on Sundays!