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All the illegal ways San Diegans save street parking

Traffic cones in Kensington, North Park, Mountain View, City Heights

Justin Pinizzotto from Normal Heights posted a photo of a sign his neighbor put up. - Image by Justin Pinizzotto
Justin Pinizzotto from Normal Heights posted a photo of a sign his neighbor put up.

When San Diegans don't have parking spaces on our city streets — many, out of desperation, resort to playing games and being sneaky. 

Street parking spaces throughout San Diego County were already scarce. But now, after the completion of new and sizeable multi-dwelling unit complexes and granny flats throughout the county, paired with the removal of street parking in favor of bike lanes, available street parking is at an all-time low, according to locals venting online.

Cadence Covey notices people in her Kensington neighborhood leaving orange parking cones on the streets in front of their homes to reserve parking spots. "There’s no parking in the neighborhood," she said in an interview with me. "And it’s still happening all over City Heights, Kensington, and Talmadge. Parking has been getting worse around here."

Laura from Mountain View posted photos of a neighbor hogging up three to four parking spots by putting up five orange cones.


North Parker, Sai, can't stand it when people post the traffic cones on their city streets, so he "always conveniently moves them around the block," proudly exclaiming, "Douchebag moves get douchebag responses."

Laura, from Mountain View, recently posted photos on the NextDoor app of a neighbor hogging up three to four street parking spots by putting up five orange cones on their shared street. "If you move off these orange cones to park your car," she added, "there is always some[one] vigilant ready to say something."

While this orange-cone planting seems like a cutesy and nouveau act to reserve parking spots, it's illegal and has occurred throughout our county for years.

Back in 2016, Lieutenant Natalie Stone from the San Diego Police Department responded on the NextDoor app to people leaving cones on the streets. “In California and in the city of San Diego, street parking in residential areas is considered public parking and cannot be reserved. As officers have time, they may remove orange cones that are illegally placed in the street. (They will be placed on the sidewalk)."

Locals aren't just using orange cones available at Home Depot for $18 apiece — motorists are getting creative.

Justin Pinizzotto from Normal Heights posted a photo of a sign his neighbor put up by their shared street. The sign reads: "PRIVATE PROPERTY — NO PARKING — VIOLATORS WILL BE TOWED AWAY AT THE VEHICLE OWNER'S EXPENSE."

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He then sent me another photo of his neighbor's sign with a handicap symbol in their yard, warning neighbors not to park in front of a brick pathway leading to the house's front door. "Funny thing is they don’t even have a wheelchair access ramp near their front door," he added.

Jo P. from Mission Hills said, "I had a neighbor try this with a stolen handicap sign in front of their house. This city squashed his plan within a day and removed it."

Victor Morris from Golden Hill added, "I had a neighbor paint a curb red around their driveway entrance. It got reported, and they had it painted back. People are silly."

San Diegans report the parking and signage bandits on the Get It Done app under the  Streets, Sidewalks, and Lights tab.

Then, people purposely leave their garbage and recycling containers out an extra day, so when the person returns after work, they move the empty containers back into the house — and voila! They have a parking spot.  

Covey, the Kensington neighbor I spoke to earlier in the story, said that most of the cone planters and faux sign posters are homeowners. "A lot of homeowners in the area get very upset about parking in front of their house, but the area is full of apartments, and street parking is all we have to use." 

Covey and others move the cones and toss them back onto the homeowners' lawns. "They know what they’re doing is illegal, so they will stare you down and act like you’re in the wrong for using public parking."

Covey mentioned a parking scheme in which "people tend to double park and save a spot for someone, so if people in the area see you doing that, expect notes and angry neighbors."

Dennis Malibiran from Logan Heights knows the "saving a spot" parking hack all too well. His neighbors' cars are perfectly spaced, "so even a smaller car can’t fit in between. Then, as soon as a relative comes home, they adjust the spacing so another car can fit."

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Justin Pinizzotto from Normal Heights posted a photo of a sign his neighbor put up. - Image by Justin Pinizzotto
Justin Pinizzotto from Normal Heights posted a photo of a sign his neighbor put up.

When San Diegans don't have parking spaces on our city streets — many, out of desperation, resort to playing games and being sneaky. 

Street parking spaces throughout San Diego County were already scarce. But now, after the completion of new and sizeable multi-dwelling unit complexes and granny flats throughout the county, paired with the removal of street parking in favor of bike lanes, available street parking is at an all-time low, according to locals venting online.

Cadence Covey notices people in her Kensington neighborhood leaving orange parking cones on the streets in front of their homes to reserve parking spots. "There’s no parking in the neighborhood," she said in an interview with me. "And it’s still happening all over City Heights, Kensington, and Talmadge. Parking has been getting worse around here."

Laura from Mountain View posted photos of a neighbor hogging up three to four parking spots by putting up five orange cones.


North Parker, Sai, can't stand it when people post the traffic cones on their city streets, so he "always conveniently moves them around the block," proudly exclaiming, "Douchebag moves get douchebag responses."

Laura, from Mountain View, recently posted photos on the NextDoor app of a neighbor hogging up three to four street parking spots by putting up five orange cones on their shared street. "If you move off these orange cones to park your car," she added, "there is always some[one] vigilant ready to say something."

While this orange-cone planting seems like a cutesy and nouveau act to reserve parking spots, it's illegal and has occurred throughout our county for years.

Back in 2016, Lieutenant Natalie Stone from the San Diego Police Department responded on the NextDoor app to people leaving cones on the streets. “In California and in the city of San Diego, street parking in residential areas is considered public parking and cannot be reserved. As officers have time, they may remove orange cones that are illegally placed in the street. (They will be placed on the sidewalk)."

Locals aren't just using orange cones available at Home Depot for $18 apiece — motorists are getting creative.

Justin Pinizzotto from Normal Heights posted a photo of a sign his neighbor put up by their shared street. The sign reads: "PRIVATE PROPERTY — NO PARKING — VIOLATORS WILL BE TOWED AWAY AT THE VEHICLE OWNER'S EXPENSE."

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He then sent me another photo of his neighbor's sign with a handicap symbol in their yard, warning neighbors not to park in front of a brick pathway leading to the house's front door. "Funny thing is they don’t even have a wheelchair access ramp near their front door," he added.

Jo P. from Mission Hills said, "I had a neighbor try this with a stolen handicap sign in front of their house. This city squashed his plan within a day and removed it."

Victor Morris from Golden Hill added, "I had a neighbor paint a curb red around their driveway entrance. It got reported, and they had it painted back. People are silly."

San Diegans report the parking and signage bandits on the Get It Done app under the  Streets, Sidewalks, and Lights tab.

Then, people purposely leave their garbage and recycling containers out an extra day, so when the person returns after work, they move the empty containers back into the house — and voila! They have a parking spot.  

Covey, the Kensington neighbor I spoke to earlier in the story, said that most of the cone planters and faux sign posters are homeowners. "A lot of homeowners in the area get very upset about parking in front of their house, but the area is full of apartments, and street parking is all we have to use." 

Covey and others move the cones and toss them back onto the homeowners' lawns. "They know what they’re doing is illegal, so they will stare you down and act like you’re in the wrong for using public parking."

Covey mentioned a parking scheme in which "people tend to double park and save a spot for someone, so if people in the area see you doing that, expect notes and angry neighbors."

Dennis Malibiran from Logan Heights knows the "saving a spot" parking hack all too well. His neighbors' cars are perfectly spaced, "so even a smaller car can’t fit in between. Then, as soon as a relative comes home, they adjust the spacing so another car can fit."

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