Where should I park? A guide to parking from the apartment hunt to coming home

Finding parking in the city can be challenging and expensive, and if you’re new in town, the old Pittsburgh trick of reserving your spot with a chair looks downright outlandish. So what’s an apartment hunter to do?

First things first, when you schedule an appointment to tour an apartment or house, ask where you should park when you get there. While large complexes with private parking lots might have “Future Resident” parking, plenty of places don’t have the space to offer that convenience. So unless you’re visiting a gated community, you’ll probably have to park on the street.

Be warned: rules for street parking vary from one municipality to the next. Mt. Lebanon, for example, has permit parking zones, and violators will be ticketed. In adjacent Castle Shannon, however, street parking tends to be less restricted. While all of Sleepy Hollow Road is no parking, Vermont Avenue and Greenridge Road are fair game.

Find a place to park before winter hits
Steel City will be covered in a blanket of white soon enough. Do you have covered parking?

So this is why you ask where to park when you schedule your tour, to let the local experts steer you in the right direction.

If you arrive at your destination and feel confused about how the parking works, read any signs carefully and follow your gut. If a curb is yellow or you see a hydrant,  don’t park there. If you read a sign that says “Permit Parking Only,” don’t park there. Don’t be afraid to ask when you meet up with your appointment, “I parked over there, is that OK?” That’s always a good question to ask.

Questions about parking are among the most important to ask when looking for a new home. You might be dazzled by low rent, but don’t forget to consider any additional costs for a parking permit or covered parking. Survey the area and ask how hard it is to find a spot on the street. Ask where your guests are allowed to park. You might find that comparing parking situations can help you choose between prospective apartments. It’s also a good idea at this time to ask where you’d be allowed to park a moving van and for how long. In Castle Shannon, for example, street parking of trailers is prohibited.

Once you’re officially a resident in your new home, your landlord will most likely give you instructions for where to park. If not, be sure to ask for clarification. Always remember to follow the parking guidelines set out by your landlord and municipality. Breaking the rules could lead to tickets, tow trucks, and angry neighbors. Here are a few no-no’s to keep in mind:

  • Never block a dumpster
  • Don’t let your guests park in permit only spots
  • Never take a neighbor’s assigned spot
  • Don’t block in another car
  • Don’t block a driveway or garage

Additionally, if your landlord issued you a parking permit—even if it was free—keep it up-to-date. If you replace your car, make sure your landlord updates their records and gives you a new permit if necessary. If you get an additional vehicle, get that on file and permitted as well. If your landlord only issues one permit per apartment, find alternate parking for your second vehicle to avoid inconveniencing your neighbors and getting ticketed, or worse, towed.

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