Neighbors' Inconsiderate Parking

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Neighbors parking in front of my house

May 2015

I'm looking for advice on a difficult subject. I have neighbors across the street who often park two of their three cars in front of my house, despite the fact that they have a driveway (which they never seem to use). I usually use my driveway, but it's around the back and not very close to the house. I'm a single mom and when I need to carry groceries, etc. it would be far better if I could park in front of my house.

I know that I have no rights in this situation, and I don't want to ruffle feathers, but geez. Is there anything I can do to get my neighbors to use their driveway for at least one of their cars so that I can occasionally park in front of my own house? Suggestions?


I know you're frustrated here. You need to figure out a way to have a casual friendly (non-accusatory) chat with these neighbors. If you haven't had a chance to strike up a conversation, do that as soon as possible. Make sure they know your name & your kids' names. Once you've made the introduction, figure out how to have a second conversation soon thereafter where you can say, ''I wonder if you can help me with something .... '' or the like. You are correct in saying that you don't have rights to that space in front of your house. Maybe if they don't want to pull into their driveway, they'd be willing to park on the street in front of their driveway. This is a big problem when your kids are little, I'm so sorry, but it gets to be less of an issue when they're more mobile. So try not to escalate the situation. Been there.

Get two or three large orange traffic cones from the ssfety equipment store on Eastshore facing I-80. Place the cones in the space that you wish to reserve. You could be disarming and put up a sign that says ''Small Children and Groceries Unloading Zone.'' For some reason, drivers respect big orange cones, or their variant, tall orange cylinders. They come with or without reflective strips. I have prevented people from parking in all sorts of places by slinging cones out and acting like I own the place.
Amelia Sue, the Conehead

You don't say whether you've asked them. Describe the situation as you just did here, and ask them if they would please keep the spot in front of your house clear for you. I know in a lot of neighborhoods, neighbors keep an informal practice of parking in front of their own houses as much as possible.
You gotta flat-out ask.

 Neighbor's van blocks our view of oncoming traffic

August 2011

We live on a narrow hilly street in Berkeley, and share an adjoining driveway with our neighbors. They have a large van which they frequently park right next to our portion of the driveway at the curb but in their driveway. The van is then partially sticking out in to the street, and also partly blocking the sidewalk. The problem is that this completely blocks our view of oncoming traffic. Every time we pull out of the driveway we take a leap of faith that someone isn't barreling down the hill. In fact over the last few years we have had a (thankfully minor) fender bender and a few other near misses that have occured when pulling out of our driveway because of the extremely poor visibility. They have a large garage, and parking on the street in front of their house is usually available.

We've discussed this with them several times over the last few years. We are trying to be patient, good neighbors, and really try not to get worked up over these sort of things. But after another recent near miss with the kids in the car, we're running out of patience. Just wondering if anyone in the community has had a similar experience with this kind of issue or has advice about it. Could this possibly be illegal in some way? Any suggestions other than talking directly with them (which we've done several times) would be very welcome. Can't See in Berkeley

blocking the sidewalk with a vehicle is illegal. you could try calling the police, but you may not get very far given that the police dept has so many other things to do.... anon

Disclaimer - this is my pet peeve so take my advice with a grain of salt. You have the option of calling the parking division of Berkeley and reporting your neighbors for blocking the sidewalk. It isn't neighborly but you have already tried the neighborly thing. A couple of parking tickets might make them rethink their habits. - get the law on your side

If your neighbors van is blocking the sidewalk, it is probably parked illegally and you could complain to the city. This might address the issue but alienate your neighbors.

Is it possible to install a convex mirror somewhere (opposite side of the street?) that would let you see coming traffic? You might enlist you neighbor's help in paying for it. Carrie

Bottom line - it is against the law to block the sidewalk with your vehicle. What your neighbor is doing is not only incredibly annoying and dangerous - it's illegal. I would suggest calling the city and having them issue your neighbor some ''reminders'' until they find another space for their oversized vehicle (since talking to them and asking politely apparently isn't working). I can empathize with you - our neighbor has a huge SUV that doesn't even come close to fitting in their driveway - forcing the many pedestrians (many of whom are children) in our neighborhood to walk into the road to get around it. Rude and clueless. Best of luck to you! has-my-own-issues-with-this

you can likely get the cops to ticket for blocking sidewalk. that said, the neighbors are being kind of jerks about it. safety first! ask them again C.A.L.

Neighbor's GIANT truck parked in front of our house

Sept 2010

Our neighbor across the street just replaced his range rover with a huge twin cab truck--this is not your ordinary truck. It is definitely super sized and sounds like a construction vehicle when starting up. You have to climb up into it as it is taller then an average truck. We live in a small, slight cul-de-sac (not a dead end of the road, but on one side of the road as it corners) and he has started parking it there instead of in front of his house. It is now what we look at outside of our window all day. Since he doesn't work (or has freelance work--we're not sure and assume this truck is for a new career move?) it is there for most of the day. There is plenty of parking in our neighborhood, and tons in front of his house. I'm assuming it is inconvenient for him to put it in his driveway as it would be a very tight squeeze. His side of the street is a narrow turn, so I'm guessing that is why he doesn't usually park it there. It is frustrating for us as it takes up the entire cul-de-sac and we're the only ones who live right on it. I'm not sure if I have any rights in this, but what can i do to make him know that we're not happy with it? What can I say that doesn't sound petty. There are worse things in life, I know, but it is frustrating that he just assumes it is ok to take up the entire cul-de-sac. We have a neutral relationship with him and his family now, but don't want to rock the boat. It sounds petty but this truck is like a giant wall in front of our house and it totally feels out of place. Should I just suck it up and accept that we are now looking at a construction vehicle all day? Or should I say something and if so what? I'm assuming it is not illegal to park a super sized truck on the street-- but shouldn't he park something like that in front of his house? -''Trucked''

Hi, I feel your pain. We moved into our house about three years ago and our neighbor used to park his GIANT truck (sounds similar except this one was a commercial contracting truck) in front of our house. We are also on a cul-de-sac. It was all I could see out my windows. I was very, very resentful. Fortunately, he was usually gone for about half the day and so I would then rush out to park in that same spot. So when he came home, he'd have to park elsewhere. It took months and months, maybe a year, of this until finally he stopped doing it and started parking in his own driveway. Yay! There isn't any way to force change. If he wanted to be ornery, he could probably remind you that it's a public street etc. But I think that talking to him about it may be your best bet. Or, if you can do what I did and start parking in that same spot, maybe he will finally get the hint.

Anyway, I feel for your situation. You aren't being petty. Yes, there are more important things in the world, but when you come home, you want to feel happy, comfortable and at peace with the world. Clearly the truck is taking away from your enjoyment and is causing stress. Shouldn't be that way. Good luck! Considerate of Others

some times guys with big trucks can be a great thing. try talking with him. maybe his partner hates the thing, too? but ask nicely. you seem genuine, you mentioned a career change... maybe you two can collaborate? berkeley has a 72 hour parking limit: if trucks sits, police will happily tag it (revenue) talk with him. that's life in the city... good luck with that citizen at large

I feel your pain; I live on a narrow street, crowded with parked cars on both sides, including a humongous construction pick-up and trailer parked next door, and ''classic'' cars in various states of disrepair permanently lining the other side of the street, since two of my neighbors on that side of the street apparently own and tinker with such cars as a hobby. It's sometimes quite difficult to pull out of my driveway without wounding one of their babies. But you are correct in your assessment, I think, that your neighbor is doing nothing illegal. And you have also observed that he would probably have difficulties parking it elsewhere. Your objections seem to be aesthetic and potentially ideological (why does a person who apparently does not haul heavy equipment need a truck the size of a small building?). And these are objections that are nearly certain to be met with a lack of understanding, a sense of hurt, or derision, or some combination of the above. Sometimes our neighbors value things quite different from the things we value. I probably could call in the cops for the classic cars, since they never move, and there is a local ordinance against parking cars in the same spot without moving over a week. But my neighbors take such obvious pleasure in their behemoths. Pleasure comes in many flavors, including owning a righteous truck when life is otherwise challenging. As long as his vehicle is not leaking oil, waking you up at 6am, blocking your driveway, or something else obviously disruptive in a pragmatic way, I think you have to suck it up. threading the needle on my street

years ago, i was selling an old beater car of mine. it needed serious work but wasn't worth it to me to fix. after turning away a few teenage shoppers (who i feared did not understand the car was unsafe to drive on the freeway as is), i ended up selling it to a clean-cut, professional-type guy. it just seemed really strange to me that this person, who clearly made good money and was not a mechanic would want a car like this. so i asked him what he planned to do with it.... and he said, ''i have this awful neighbor who keeps parking his extremely loud diesel truck in front of our house. it's ugly, noisy, and stinky. we don't want to get into a confrontation with him, so i'm buying your beat up car because it's cheap and legally registered and i'm going to park it in front of my house, so he can't park there.'' maia

Neighbors taking up all the street parking

May 2008

I live in Kensington and recently I noticed that more and more often, our visiting friends don't find parking on our road, because most of the neighbors park all of their cars on the street, including one of those ''antique' cars that to me is just a blight, plus one, two and more vehicles. As a friendly neighbor I never complained, and I make an effort to keep our two cars on our driveway and/or garage. I thought about sending a letter asking everybody to try to keep no more than one car on the street, when possible. Anyone had to deal with something like that? What was the response from the neighbors? I don't want to upset anyone, but I also would be a little happier, knowing I live on a street with people that can share.

The street is for anyone to park on - it is not yours to protect for your visitors. If I got a letter like this from a neighbor, I would start parking on the street more. And right in front of their house. believe it or not, not everything belongs to you

If you don't want to have a friendly conversation with your neighbors about it (and that's probably the best approach if you want to feel like you and your neighbors have open lines of communication), then you could submit a letter (much like the one you wrote here for BPN) to the editor of the Kensington Outlook and see if people read it and respond that way. anon

Personally, I would keep my mouth shut, park my cars on the street, and let my friends park in my driveway/garage. -anon

I also live in Kensington and was just discussing this very issue with our next door neighbor! We both agree that in the last few years the parking situation has gone from bad to worse. Up and down the hill people are street parking and leaving their driveways empty. On our street alone there are three ''abandoned'' vehicles, cars that have not been moved in the last year. I think that a friendly letter to the Outlook would be great. Maybe we could suggest folks donate these vehicles to an organization that would tow them away? I think other responders don't understand that most of Kensington is single lane driving due to all the street parking. If people would park in their driveways, it would be much easier to tell when strangers are in the neighborhood. My neighbor feels that we should call the police (non-emergency number) and report vehicles parked for weeks in the same spot.