Parking in Suburbia, or Are My Neighbors Inconsiderate Jerks?

So we live in the 'burbs. We know our neighbors on both sides of us, and we all get along pretty well. I don’t know our neighbors from across the street except to know that they have a bajillion and one cars. I know for a fact that their house doesn’t have more than 4 bedrooms, and they literally have at least 6 cars. Now, all of the houses on our street have attached 2-car garages, and good-sized driveways on which to park. In addition, you can fit at least 2 cars in front of your house. However, our across-the-street neighbors consistently choose to park their cars in front of our house. Our city also does not allow overnight parking on the street, so they always pull their cars into their driveway before the 2am curfew, but the next morning, they will park their cars in front of our house after we leave for work.

Considering that the neighbors in question have paved over part of their lawn to accommodate their veritable menagerie of gas-guzzling man-mobiles, I find it rather inconsiderate that they continue to choose to park in front of our house. I caught one of them driving away the other day and told them a sob story about my poor friends who don’t have anyplace to park when they come to visit. This isn’t exactly true (they can park in our driveway), but I felt I was justified in my white lie because I was irritated that they park there every damn day. If they didn’t have parking for 6 cars on their driveways, 2 in their garage, and 2 in front of their house, I’d probably be a little more understanding. Heck, if they were someone we knew and were friendly with, I probably wouldn’t mind as much either.

So, what say you? Is it rude to park in front of your neighbor’s house if you have the room to park at your own house?

Disclaimer: I do know the rules are different if you live in the city, an apartment, a condo, a townhouse, and/or don’t have a garage.

That’s a tough one for me. On my street, everyone has a back driveway with room for one car. Most folks park both cars on the street. The back spot effectively acts as a reserve spot in case one of you comes home and the street is full. As a result, the street is always packed and there are always dozens of empty spaces in back.

But back to your point. I am only guessing, but is the problem that if they parked all the cars in the drive, they would have to move a car out of the way for another car to get out? Obviously with an ordinance such as the one in your town, they are clearly violating the spirit of the law and I think that’s wrong.

I guess before you decide its rude, I would ask why they feel the need to do this. If they still insist on it, can you leave a cone out in front of the house? Perhaps that would send a message and they would at least park in front of someone else’s house?

I think part of the point Jakeline was making is that these folks park some cars in their driveway and some cars by the curb in front of our house. They almost NEVER park cars in front of their own house. We can’t figure out why it is preferable for them to use our curb space instead of their own, and frankly, it’s really annoying.

For example, the guy who seems to be the head of the household has a loud (visibly and audibly) pick-up truck that he cares for fairly immaculately. I see him hand washing it probably twice a week, at least. On several occasions, when he’s done washing it, he backs it out of his driveway and parks it in front of our house to let it finish drying off.

Another problem we’ve had that really drives me nuts is that when they have friends over, these folks park in front of our house as well (one suspects that they’ve been encouraged to do so). And it is not uncommon to find an empty bag or soda can lodged in the low bushes we have running against the curb.

So yes, having them park there certainly isn’t illegal, but it’s an unnecessary and (thus far) inexplicable nuisance.

I guess I take the opposite view as E-Diddy, (no disrespect). You own your home, not the street in front of it, and parking spaces are on a first come first served basis. I live on a corner, so I actually have two streets, but one street is very narrow and it is permanent no parking on my side of the street. That aside, I have three cars (actually I have two, my youngest has sole use of one, my eldest has his own, and one sits in the driveway because I don’t like to drive but have it for when I need it.) I have no garage, and space for two cars in the driveway. So one is always either gone or on the street. I feel no guilt about that. Perhaps another arrangement is possible, last winter we worked out a deal with an elderly neighbor (who does not drive) so that we could use her driveway and in return kept her driveway and sidewalks shoveled and clear of ice.

It sounds to me like you might have let this thing get under your skin just a bit too much. Please take a hint from a man who has spent way too much time being angry. Let it go. It might be inconsiderate on thier part, but don’t give them the power to get you upset.

That said, I admit parking around here is normally not a problem, and if I had to fight for a parking place everyday I might be a lot less calm about it. JMO.

Good luck in getting it resolved.

Asimovian, the selection of which side of the street to park on may be as simple as the right hand side from what ever direction I happened to be arriving from. Trash in your shrubbery is a different story all together, that sort of behavior is wrong all the way around. I can see where that gets linked to the parking issue, they park, you got trash issues. Only an idiot would not see the connection. I guess I am just glad I do not suffer the same situation. It must be frustrating as hell. The mean side of me says mowing the lawn and ejecting the grass toward the prize truck might work, but the shrubbery “Scrubs” that idea. Sorry, couldn’t resist!
I hope you get it sorted out.

IMO it is definitely rude if they park on the street in front of your house instead of in front of their house.
Tho you certainly don’t own the street, why should you have to look at and drive around their car all the time, since they clearly don’t want to.
There are all kinds of things civil humans are legally permitted to do that they routinely don’t do simply becasue it is not polite.
Of course, having said that, there are rude people all over the place, and if that is the worst your neighbors do, you may well consider yourself lucky.
You took your shot the other day. If it doesn’t have any effect, you may wish to invest in some nice curtains or maybe some taller bushes.
At least they aren’t doing what I think might be worse - parking directly across from your driveway making it tough to get in and out.

How about just asking him if there’s any reason he likes to park there?

None taken.

I just think the neighbors are discourteous. I don’t think OP would care if they had guests over time to time and those guests parked in from of the house. But these folks have permanently taken the are in front of his house a spot when they have their own space.

Unfortunately, the OP has no recourse available. There is a law to prevent street parking (in front of anyone’s house) but the neighbors conveniently move the cars just before the curfew and return them afterwards. By doing that, this isn’t simple laziness or carelessness. Its deliberate behavior and that’s what makes it wrong.

Ok E-Diddy. Thanks for the nudge of reality. I guess because it isn’t a problem here, I failed to realize how frustrating it can be. What you describe is not just about parking cars, it is an “In your face” type of attitude. I can see how that could get real old real quick. At this point I will submit I have no answers, and am merely grateful that is not the case here. That sort of thing can get ugly. I am sitting here imagining the family across the street doing the same thing, and yes, it would wear on me. Thanks for the point of view.

Surely it’s a PITA to park the cars once, then move them again at curfew? That’s the part I don’t get.

There is a great technique for conflict resolution called DESC (Describe, Emote, Suggest, Consequences).

Describe - one or more of your vehicles is often parked in front of our house
Emote - this is inconvenient to us because we and our guests then can’t park close to our house
Suggest - would you mind parking your vehicles on your side whenever possible?
Consequences - Positive - We’ll extend the same courtesy to you. (A next step is negative consequences, doesn’t really seem to apply to this situation)

A firm but polite request like this would be a good thing to try. A lot of people don’t react well to dropping little hints like “oh, our poor guests.”

We actually have a similar issue in our neighborhood. I think 1) people who grew up in the city and are used to hunting for parking and 2) young people who are fit and active and don’t notice a few extra steps are less likely to stop and think that parking in front of someone’s house could be considered rude. So approach them in good faith. Assume that while they may be parking there intentionally, they aren’t being rude intentionally.

I wonder what would happen if you decided to try parking on the street in front of your house for a while. I know that’s not possible while you’e at work, but when you’re at home, just make it so they have to find somewhere else to park for a while.

If those kids are going to park the cars anywhere, it is going to be in front of somebody’s house, unless the area is full of warehouses or empty lots. Who’s house is it okay to park in front of? It is rude for me to park in front of your house while visiting the person across the street? I think not, and perhaps you take ownership of that which is not yours.

In the situation described by the OP there would seem to be some rudeness on the part of the folks across the way, and I fully endorse your DESC approach as being sensible and rational, but I totally reject that parking my car in front of another’s home is rude in and of itself.

What’s the tree situation? I’m often tempted to park one of my cars in front of my neighbors house because when I park in front of my house I’m under a tree and get sap and bird shit all over my car.

Just a thought.

Perhaps the wash the car twice a week guy could give some advice on good wax? Just kidding. I found it a little funny because for me that would be a reason NOT to park in front of the neighbors. They have a huge Maple, and while shade looks good in the heat of summer, it comes with a price. Heck, even they will not park under that thing.

Yeah I think they are jerks. We own our place but there are a lot of rentals in our area, most of which are filled with college students.

A couple of winters ago, the neighbours directly across the street from us, decided they didn’t want to shovel their driveway, so they parked their vehicle in front of our house. And then started walking to college/work/etc. I"m guessing they didn’t have the funds for snow tires. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

I understand it’s a public street and all, but how rude. I talked to one of them nicely about it but they didn’t do anything about it. Finally instead of shovelling the snow around it, which I used to do with the vain hope that if they ever DID move their truck, I would have a “clean” place to park, I started to shovel the snow on top of it, around the tires etc.

It was a 4x4 so didn’t inconvenience them much when they finally decided to move it, but it gave me great satisfaction every time I shoveled the sidewalk.

(Unfortunately our driveway is only big enough for one car, and we have two vehicles, so it is a constant p.i.t.a.)

seenidog, I think you may be misreading me. I personally don’t get bent about this. I fall under the “grew up in the city” category, I think that’s why. But it’s seemingly a convention of suburban life that if you invite folks over, you should encourage them to park in front of your house to the extent possible. Also, if you’re 21 and fit, you maybe don’t realize that the extra steps from having to park far away are much more of an inconvenience to the elderly man unloading a week’s groceries or the middle-aged mom with a toddler. I know when I was younger I didn’t give 2 seconds thought to walking a “whole block,” but now, alas, I do.

I’m of the same mind as most people. It’s rude and thoughtless. These people have the time to move their cars to and fro at curfew, so why can’t they take the time to put the cars in their own driveway and move them if need be?

And if that’s just too much trouble, what’s the problem with parking in front of THEIR house? Tree or no, I can’t see any reason why they would choose to park across the street. The least they could do, if it’s so important to them, is to ask.

I’m sure they’re not trying to be jerks, but they are jerks simply because they’re so thoughtless.

I agree with the DESC method Harriet the Spry suggested. Don’t seethe in silence. Deal with it rationally so you don’t get angrier and they don’t get bolder.

to Harriet, you are entirely correct, I read it the wrong way. I guess because parking is not a problem here for the most part, I did not see the scenario clearly. When my mom comes to visit, my car goes where ever it needs to go to make sure she parks in the driveway. If that means I walk a block so be it. Why? Because as you pointed out I can, she can’t. But people round here pretty much know everybody, and you know not to block the place in front of Emmet’s walk because he has trouble walking. I guess I cannot get my mind wrapped around what is day to day reality of others. It is just a different world here in the boonies. Platteville is 9000 people, we are the big city in the area. Grant County has more cows than people. My entire county has five stoplights. Thanks for the insight.

First off, a quick aside. The fact that this is the most annoying aspect of my neighborhood says a lot. We live in a fantastic neighborhood that’s really quiet and usually free of any aggrevation. (The worst aspect of the neighborhood is that all the kids know that I’m an bleeding heart and will buy a small token of whatever random crap they’re selling for school.) If it sounds like this is an obsession of mine or that I’m silently seething, that certainly isn’t the case. If it was something that I was genuinely pissed about, this would be in the Pit instead of in here! :smiley:

Very good question. I always smile and wave at all of my neighbors, and they’re the folks who never reciprocate. It seems like they go out of their way to not acknowledge the folks who live across the street from them. When they’re in their front yard, they’re walking to one of their cars, washing one of their cars with headphones on, or mowing the lawn with headphones on. They’re not very approachable, and I’ve never bothered because the parking situation is only a small annoyance. If they had a dog that was terrorizing the neighborhood or something, I’d definitely approach them, but this just wasn’t worth my time.

However, I caught one of them pulling away one day when they had parked three cars in front of our house. Here’s what was said:

Me: Excuse me. I’m sorry to bother you, but is there any particular reason you need to park in front of our house?
Her: Well, we’re having a problem because the neighbors [to their left] are having work done on their lawn. [Please note, this is total bullshit. The construction has been going on for barely a week, and they’ve been parking in front of our house for months and months.]
Me: Oh, I see. Would you guys mind leaving a space in front of our house? When we have friends over, they don’t have anyplace to park.
Her: Well, but the construction…
Me: Okay, thanks.

I started this thread because I’m not sure whether the sense of ownership I feel over the parking spot in front of our house is really justified. I just want to make sure I’m not being a dick for asking that they leave a spot for us in front of our house even though we don’t use it all the time.

All the trees on our street are identical and maintained by the city. No sap or anything. Just some flowers in the spring, and some leaves in the winter.

I think that’s exactly it. If they had knocked on my door and told me that they were going to be parking in front of our house for a while during the construction, I wouldn’t mind one iota. It’s just that they don’t even consider that there are people living in the house directly across the street from theirs.

With so many cars in the driveway, they need valet parking! That’s probably exactly why they do it. But seriously. 10 spots for 6 cars… they should be able to manage without using the front of our house. The other bit of it is that it’s actually closer to park in front of their neighbors to the right or left, but they’d prefer to park in front of ours.

Well, I’m jerk with lots of free time, so I’d ask my friends and family for permission to borrow the ugliest cars they own, and I’d do my own ‘curfew’ shuffle. Two weeks of parking in front of my house, then I’d switch and start parking in front of theirs…might not have any effect except my own satisfaction, but it might work.