A Miami Springs resident shared this picture showing a vehicle blocking the residential sidewalk.  Now this is very common in many parts of Miami-Dade County where there’s insufficient parking and residents almost have no choice but to park on the sidewalk.  We only need to look at Medley and you see cars protruding over the sidewalk and covering the bike lane adjacent to the roadway.  (To be fair, they have no space whatsoever along South River Drive in Medley.)

Illegal Parking in Residential Areas

Now as for the image above, we don’t know the circumstances that led to the parking situation above.  So we don’t want to condemn the individuals involved here.  We just want to use it for illustrative purposes.

Don’t block the sidewalk

Rule #1 in parking is that you don’t block the public sidewalk.  It’s pretty straightforward and simple.  Here’s why:  There could be an elderly person walking with a walker or on a wheelchair.  How are they supposed to get around your car?  There might be a child on a bicycle that now needs to get on the roadway to get around your car.  Furthermore, it’s just rude.  You’re declaring to those around you that you don’t give a darn about anyone else’s needs.

Miami Springs’ residential areas have large swales with plenty of space for parking.  There really isn’t a need to block the sidewalk.  Furthermore, it looks bad.  When cars are parked haphazardly on top of sidewalks, it makes the home and the block look disheveled.

Unfortunately, some of the top offenders are our own Miami Springs residents.

Don’t block the roadway

I don’t understand why people choose to park in such a manner that it partially blocks the roadway.  Usually, this is not from the residents, but from a visitor.  Nevertheless, I feel like telling them “Dude, this isn’t Kendall or Doral.  There’s plenty of parking on that swale.  Use it.” 

Fortunately, this offense isn’t that prevalent and it appears to be mostly from visitors.

Park in the direction of travel

When you parallel park on a swale, next to the road, you’re supposed to park in the direction of travel of the nearest lane.  Of course, no one enforces residential parking like they did decades ago, so people do whatever they want.  But here’s why you should park in the direction of travel.  One your car is designed with reflectors in the back of the vehicle.  This means a driver can still see your car parked along the side of the road at night even during a rainstorm.  However, if your vehicles is parked against the oncoming vehicles, it may not be as visible and thus more likely to get hit.

Furthermore, if you’re parked head on against traffic, and there’s a vehicle parked in front of you, the mirrors in your car can’t help you to see if there’s a car coming towards you.  Or worse yet, a child riding a bicycle.  Thus, it’s important to park your vehicle properly in the direction of travel.  This benefits you and those around you.

Other Residential Swale Parking Faux Pas

Parking too close to roadway

Parking too close to the roadway probably won’t get you a ticket these days, but it’s recommended that you leave at least 12 inches between your car and the adjacent roadway. It keeps you, your passengers, and other drivers safer.

Parallel vs Angle vs Perpendicular Parking

As stated above, the preferred method of parking in a residential swale is parallel to the roadway.  Now some swales in Miami Springs are exceedingly large.  Some are so big that a full sized pickup truck can park perpendicular to the roadway and have plenty of space separating the vehicle from the roadway and it won’t block the sidewalk.  If this is you, congratulations.

However, most swales while large by Miami standards, are still not large enough to accommodate a full size vehicle parked perpendicular to the roadway without somehow blocking the sidewalk and/or being too close to the roadway. We’re not talking to you Mini Cooper driver.  

We also understand that every home is not laid out the same way.  Some homes don’t have a driveway and all the cars are parked on the swale.  In order to fit them all, they can’t parallel park them.  If you find yourself blocking the sidewalk, consider angle parking your vehicle so that it doesn’t block the sidewalk and doesn’t leave your vehicle’s rear end on the road.

Your thoughts?

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