Getting around New York is frustrating because of the heavy traffic, congestion, high gas prices, and expensive rental cars.
Seat belts are mandatory. The speed limit is 30mph which is hard to beat given the constant city traffic. Most streets are one-way, and there are traffic lights at every corner. Right-hand driving is the norm.
The parking situation is worse!
Finding decent parking in New York is a nightmare. Add that to the endless city parking rules and overzealous ticketing, and it’s a minefield of confusion.
There is only one way to handle the parking situation in New York City with ease: to understand the parking rules and regulations.
In this guide, I’ll focus on the hydrant parking rules.
NYC Fire Hydrants
Fire hydrants, also known as standpipes, are a standard in the busy streets of New York.
These hydrants are required in all of NYC’s commercial, residential, industrial, and high-traffic areas.
They’re located at various points in the city’s water system. A hydrant standpipe allows water from the main to flow into a firefighter’s hose to extinguish a fire.
In New York, fire hydrant signs are mounted on walls or posts and inform people where they can get water during a fire. In the event of a fire, these hydrants play a vital role in saving lives and property.
Although it’s an important safety feature, for many motorists in New York, a hydrant is just another ticket waiting to happen.
Therefore, it’s not only essential to understand the importance of hydrants to fire safety but also the rules for parking near a hydrant.
NYC Rules On Fire Hydrants
New York City parking regulations determine where vehicles can stop, park, or stand in the city. These regulations are part of the city’s traffic laws, and all road users must observe them.
Under state laws, all of New York is designated as a Tow Away Zone. Any vehicle illegally operated or parked or whose inspection sticker and registration have expired may be towed.
This applies to parking within 15 feet of either side of a fire hydrant.
Specifically, NYC traffic rules mark fire hydrants as general no-stopping zones. The rules state that no person shall stop, stand, or park near hydrants unless indicated by posted markings, signs, or traffic officers/control devices.
How Far To Park From Fire Hydrant NYC
In New York, parking near a hydrant is permitted if a public parking space is an adjacent.
However, the city’s code requires that you maintain a distance of 15 feet in each direction from the hydrant.
Parking your vehicle in front of hydrant signs can cause inconvenience to firefighters. A blocked hydrant or hydrant parking can prevent firefighters from accessing water in an emergency.
Failure to comply with the 15-foot rule can get you into serious trouble, aside from the apparent ticketing.
So, for your own good, DO NOT park your vehicle near a fire hydrant in New York or in a way that creates an obstacle for fire trucks and firefighters.
You can do a few things to work around the system and avoid hefty fines for parking near a hydrant. These include:
- Walk 16 steps from the bumper of your car to the pump.
- When close to the fire hydrant, measure and document the distance
- Always have a tape measure in your car to measure the distance between your vehicle and the hydrant
- Take photos of your bumper next to a landmark every time you’re near a hydrant in New York so you can compare them when you return.
The Danger Of Parking In Front Of A Fire Hydrant
Maybe you’ve gotten away with a warning or a ticket while parking in front of a fire hydrant.
Next time, you may not be so lucky when a fire breaks out near your parking spot.
There are several dangers to parking your car near a fire hydrant, such as the possibility of damaging your vehicle.
Sometimes firefighters have to break the windows of your car to connect the hose to the hydrant.
In this case, repairing your windows is the least of your concerns because you’ll also face legal action for parking illegally and obscuring a hydrant.
Parking too close to a fire hydrant increases the risk of your car sustaining damage such as dents, dings, and scratches.
In the event of a fire, firefighters are more concerned with putting out the fire than protecting your car.
This means your vehicle is likely to be damaged while maneuvering the fire truck and moving equipment from the truck.
NYC Fire Hydrant Parking Ticket Cost
The cost of a fire hydrant ticket in NYC is $115.
Most people find this fine expensive for a parking violation since no emergency occurred while parked, and they didn’t damage any property.
How Do I Know If I Received Fire Hydrant Parking Ticket In NYC
Law enforcement officers in New York tend to issue tickets for various traffic violations every three hours.
They may either wait for you or attach the ticket to your vehicle.
It’s wise to be aware of any parking tickets or traffic violations you may have received without your knowledge.
The good thing is that all NYC traffic services are available online and can be used to look for a hydrant parking ticket. You can also use them to check:
- Amount you owe
- Whether your parking ticket is valid
- The payment status
- Number of violations for your registered vehicles
- The status of your hydrant parking violation hearing or ticket appeal
You may be able to find information about your hydrant ticket online, depending on the type of ticket.
Handwritten parking tickets typically take 10-14 days to process, while computer-printed tickets take five days.
You need the 10-digit ticket number from the NOL (Notice of Liability) number to find information about your parking ticket. You can also use your license plate number if you’ve lost your parking ticket.
Why Are NYC Parking Tickets So Expensive?
New York City is one of the busiest cities in the world, with millions of motorists. The city is known for some of the highest parking fines, ranging from $60 to $125, depending on the violation.
So, many wonder, why so expensive?
The answer is simple: the City of New York wants to generate revenue. In the case of fire hydrant parking tickets, safety concern is another reason.
Administrative fees also play into the high cost of parking tickets in New York.
Motorists in New York often have to pay double or triple the original parking ticket because of the additional state and municipal fees.
On top of that, there are court fees. The courts in New York have the final say on the total amount to be paid for a ticket.
If you decide to pay by mail, you may have to pay additional fees on top of the original hydrant parking ticket fine.
Note that of New York’s five boroughs, Manhattan is the most frequently ticketed. So watch out if you’re driving in the Financial District or Upper East Side.
How To Pay A Fire Hydrant Ticket In New York City
As annoying as it may be, paying for a New York City Fire Hydrant ticket is just as easy as buying a MetroCard or Broadway ticket.
Plus, there are several ways to make this payment.
You can pay for them online, by mail, or in person. This must be done within 30 days of ticket issuance, lest you be penalized.
How to pay NYC parking ticket online
- The first step is to visit NYC CityPay
- Click on “Pay a Parking Ticket” to open a new tab
- You’ll find the link “Pay a parking or camera violation online with citation, license plate, or NOL. “
- A drop box will open where you can enter your license plate number, the state your car is registered in, and the type of violation.
- Enter your payment method
- After you submit your payment, you’ll receive a notification within 2-4 business days.
How to pay NYC parking ticket via mail
Paying by mail is relatively easy, as all the steps are outlined on the back of the orange envelope included with your ticket. You need to enclose a money order or cheque for the total amount indicated on the ticket.
City law discourages sending cash, correspondence, or any form of payment other than what’s required.
All payments for NYC parking tickets sent by mail should be directed to the following address:
NYC Department of Finance
Church Street Station
P.O. Box 3640
New York, NY 10008-3640
You must send your mail early enough for it to be delivered. This way, you can meet the 30-day deadline.
How to pay NYC parking ticket in person
You can also visit a DOF Business Center to pay for your parking ticket. These centers are located in each of the five boroughs of New York, and you don’t need an appointment.
Can You Challenge A Fire Hydrant Ticket In New York?
Yes, contesting a hydrant parking ticket in New York is possible, especially if you have evidence to support your case.
However, you must file your dispute within 30 days to be eligible. Otherwise, you’ll face additional fines and penalties for late payment/response.
Some grounds for contesting parking tickets at hydrants in NYC are:
- Defective parking ticket (i.e., missing or incorrect information)
- Illegible parking ticket
- Illegible or missing hydrant signs
How To Appeal Against Fire Hydrant Tickets In NYC
Within 30 days, you can request a hearing to contest the traffic ticket by presenting evidence.
There are three ways to do this: online, in person, or by mail.
The first step before challenging the ticket is to check if the Department of Finance (DOF) has processed your violation.
Next, visit the NYC service platform to request a hearing for your parking ticket.
You can write a letter and request a hearing for your parking ticket.
However, the biggest disadvantage of this method is that you won’t get a quick response compared to other methods.
Remember that the Department of Finance needs to receive your request within 30 days to avoid fines and/or penalties.
This is probably the best option because you can get a hearing at the DOF Business Center. These hearings are usually held Monday through Friday during official business hours.
Getting A Refund For Your NYC Hydrant Parking Ticket
Refunds of hydrant parking tickets aren’t common in New York but can be issued if you have a successful appeal after payment or overpayment. The New York Department of Finance automatically releases these monies.
You should note, however, that if you owe more than your current dues, the additional funds will be used to pay off your outstanding debt.
If you have a clear debt sheet, DOF will send you a cheque within 30 days to the address you provided to the city.
Keep in mind that your address isn’t automatically updated when you move. Visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to have your address updated manually.
You can also update your address online through the DMV service platform.
However, if you aren’t the registered vehicle owner, you’ll need to complete a refund form and submit it to the Department of Finance to claim your refund.
This form is also used for all payments that weren’t made in person.
Book NYC Parking In Advance
At this point, it’s no secret that NYC has the country’s most chaotic and confusing parking system.
There are so many confusing parking signs and unclear meters (some expired) that it can be easy to fall victim to them.
In addition, you can get multiple tickets for the same parking spot. It makes New York a frightening place for out-of-towners and those who never park carefully.
Try to be circumspect, especially, if you’re a tourist or if you’ve just moved here.
Parking apps are a smart and convenient way to find parking space and avoid NYC parking tickets.
With these, you can find, reserve, and pay for parking at various locations around the city with just the click of a button.
Some top-rated NYC parking apps are SpotHero, SpotAngels, iconParking, BestParking, ParkNYC, and ParkMe.
In summary, knowledge is parking ticket power, especially in an area with strict parking systems like New York City.
In that regard, I believe this guide has you well informed to deal with any fire hydrant parking issues you might encounter in the Big Apple.
If so, please share it.
For more specific information about NYC parking rules and regulations, check out NYC 311.