Parking in the city

So, you never had any parking issues before In Minot, ND. In fact, you rarely encountered real big city traffic there at all. Now you have moved to Chicago, IL and you are worried about where you are going to park. Your apartment is just north of downtown and there are signs everywhere. To help you adjust, we’ve assembled six parking tips that will help you get acclimated to the big city parking blues.

Read Those Signs

The bigger the city, the more complicated the parking signs and regulations are. Have you ever been to huge cities and seen the parking signs with 12 different enforced rules to follow for parking on different days of the week? Yes, the struggle is real.

While you might need an interpreter to help you figure some of those signs out, make sure you understand parking restrictions like the ones explained—sort of—above. If you have any reticence about parking in a particular spot, it’s best to avoid it and find a better one.  As we will explain below, tickets are not necessarily the only risk you take when you either intentionally or unintentionally illegally park.


In some cities if you park illegally the authorities will tow your car quickly and without warning. We know of a young attorney in Austin, TX that was being admitted to practice in the federal court in the Western District of Texas.

He considered himself lucky to find street parking, checked the sign and entered the court to be sworn in. When he came out, his car was gone. No one seemed to know who would have towed it and why until the attorney asked a federal guard.

The officer said, “There’s a federal patrol car that circles the court building continuously. You misread the sign—there is no parking in that spot unless you are a judge–and if those people see illegally parked cars, they call a tow truck immediately.” $250 and two hours later the attorney was finally on his way back to work.

Don’t Get the Boot

Some cities will not bother to tow illegally parked cars. Instead, they just place an impossible to remove boot on your car and leave it sit in its illegally parked position. You then have to call the towing company or whoever placed the boot on your tire and pay them big bucks to remove it. If you have unpaid tickets, the boot can be a quick consequence as we explain below.

Pay Them

If you do get a parking ticket, take care of it ASAP. You will have a reasonable time to pay it, but if you neglect to do so, the fine will increase, your car might get booted the next time you wrongfully park, or you could even be arrested as some municipalities will get a judge to issue a warrant for your arrest if you are a continual offender.


If you’re not yet an Uber fan, you need to check it out. Ridesharing is the easiest way to avoid costly parking tickets and fines.

Public Transportation

A lot of big cities have urban rail systems that can easily get you from one place to another like London’s Tube system. If you move to a place like Austin. TX, you’ll find public transportation seriously lacking, and you’ll need to walk, share a ride or get on a scooter. However, if you move to an affordable city like Chicago, you’ll find incredibly efficient and useful public transportation options.

Finally, the easiest way to ditch parking problems would be to move to an apartment within walking distance of your place of employment and just get rid of your car. You’d be surprised how easy that is to accomplish in big cities!