Ticketed for Parking in My Driveway in Texas

Updated on May 09, 2015
J.P. asks from Sugar Land, TX
24 answers

So, I have lived in the same house for 38 years and have often had 4 vehicles in the driveway for many of those years.
Recently, I was issued a ticket for parking in my driveway, which blocks the pedestrians walk through, making them
walk out into the street the width of my driveway. After paying $75 for the "violation", I am still at a loss how we were
supposed to know this rule, and equally important, the reason for this law. We have 3 vehicles in the driveway now.
The one closest to the street is parked at an angle, blocking both vehicles in front from accessing the street. Since I
don't know the reason for the law, I don't know if I'm still in violation. At least now, a mother pushing a stroller, kids on
bikes, handicapped persons can go around the back of my car without accessing the street or the grass. Can anyone
explain the reason for this law to me? Thanks.

Apparently, our neighborhood committee decided to have the police give out tickets one day to anyone blocking sidewalks
or parking backwards on the wrong side of the street. A warning would have been nice.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all responses. Especially Mel was informative and helpful. The reason I want to know EXACTLY what was
intended by the law is so that I can be sure I am in compliance now. I have 5 feet clearance on each side of my car and
probably 6 feet behind.

Featured Answers



answers from Las Vegas on

It has always been illegal.. and people just got away with it.. but now, as people have so many cars and are gumming up the sidewalks and blocking the way for pedestrians, I think people are getting fed up..

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

It is illegal everywhere to block a sidewalk. It's a person's right of way. I learned that in drivers ed.

You can't block right of way.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Asheville on

The sidewalk is a public common space and is not personal and/or private property. Vehicles cannot park in that space. This is the law just about everywhere.

8 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Erie on

Because forcing someone who has the right to use a sidewalk to walk in the street is rude and dangerous? Parking backwards is dangerous in case there is an emergency evacuation of your area.
You didn't deserve a warning for not knowing this, it's a very common local ordinance all over the country. You deserved a ticket.

17 moms found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

I thought it was common knowledge too. I have called the police on my neighbors for doing this (all the time) because my son on his bike needed to go into the street, and you can't really see around it, and he almost got hit by a car! We have lots of kids out an about, and it truly is a safety concern. A warning would have been nice, but I bet the ticket insures it will never happen again ;)

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I remember learning this long ago in driver's ed. You can't block a sidewalk; it's a safety issue for pedestrians. The sidewalk is not yours; it's the town's (or the county's or the city's), not the homeowner's, so it's not yours to block as needed. Same applies when jurisdictions, like mine, have rules such as requiring people to shovel their sidewalks within a certain number of days of a snowfall; the homeowner across whose property the sidewalk runs is responsible for keeping it clear of anything -- of snow, or of cars.

It sounds like you have a homeowners association that has gotten complaints about blocked sidewalks and called in the police to ticket. Probably someone complained about your cars, and others' cars.

I do think that it would have been nice if the association had first issued a letter just reminding residents that it's the law to keep sidewalks clear and vehicles off the sidewalk part of a driveway, and to let people know that as of a certain date, police will be looking for that issue and giving out tickets for X dollars if you don't comply.

As for whether your'e in compliance now, are you sure that a handicapped person could get by your car? You say one could, but do you know for sure that, say, a wheelchair or motorized scooter could really get past that end that's sticking out? You might be surprised how much of the sidewalk a wheelchair or scooter really needs.

Any reason why can't you put two cars in the driveway and two on the street? (Facing in the correct direction; that rule is to prevent people from pulling out facing into oncoming traffic.)

10 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

You answered your own question. People walking have to walk in the road because of your vehicles blocking the walk thru. That's the problem

10 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Depending on the easement laws where you live the first 5 to 10 feet of your yard are considered easement. That sidewalk is considered public property just like the street. You would expect to get a ticket if your car was blocking the street? You get them for blocking the sidewalk.

We have similar laws here but they are not really enforced unless someone complains so I would imagine, all things equal, you blocked it a lot and a neighbor got sick of it.

I just re read this, I missed the car parked backwards. Are you really unfamiliar with the law that we drive on the right side of the road her in America, actually most of the world. Both of your actions put people in danger, is it that hard to understand why these things were made into law? As others have mentioned, it is rude, but when rude puts other's safety at risk laws are made.

So what was intended by the law, when you impede someone's right of way on a public path you force them into a street potentially getting hit by a car. To park a car on the wrong side of the road you must drive on the wrong side of the road, do I really need to explain the thoughts behind that?

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

No warning needed. It's common sense and a law to not block the sidewalk.

4 cars in a drive? What about garage? Our HOA is so on top of this. It is against the law and HOA rules to have a car parked on the street in front of your house more than 24 hours or you are subject to ticketing.

I have 3 car garage and never leave a car out. When we have guests they park in our drive or on the street legally.

I'm sorry... Pay this violation, communicate with your HOA and Police Dept so you know the rules.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I've always known those laws. Not sure how but they seem to be common knowledge. Blocking the sidewalk is dangerous and rude. Parking the wrong way can mess up oncoming cars bc they see headlights instead of the back lights. That one doesn't seem so necessary to me but it does look silly when cars are parked haphazardly. I think you should just pay the ticket.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Knowing the rules of vehicle parking, which includes on blocking sidewalk regardless of where you park your car, is part of having a drivers license. It doesn't matter if you parked your car in your driveway, it's still illegal to block the sidewalk.

You don't have to know the "reason" for a law, you just have to now that it's a law. It might be helpful to take refresher driving class, or at least review the laws in your city and state.

What you did was dangerous to others and deserving of a ticket.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

This is the law where I live in Canada as well. I don't know how I learned of it, maybe drivers ed? It has always been the law. It is so that people using the sidewalk can use the sidewalk and not have to walk into the street. Even if it wasn't the law it would seem to me a common courtesy not to block the sidewalk. I don't think ignorance of local laws is a good reason to break the laws, but I do agree that if this was the first offense then maybe a warning would have been in order. I'm guessing people in the community have been having difficulty using the sidewalk because of people parking over it and have complained to the powers that be to fix the situation.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

In our area, a car may not block a public walkway, even if that means crossing a driveway. We have a double lot on the corner. The garage is on the alley but the door opens to the street. If we park on the apron to the garage and block the sidewalk, even 3 inches, we could get a ticket.

One note to add, at least in my area, even if a person is able to go around your car without having to go into the street, if you are on the actual sidewalk, you can get a ticket. Some driveways are midblock and people of course park in the driveway. However, any blockage of the actual path will get ticketed.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I just wanted to add, you certainly aren't the only one that doesn't know this - I spent 6 years living in town and we always saw people blocking the sidewalk. It was frustrating and inconvenient, especially when pushing a stroller or when teaching an unsteady preschooler how to ride a bike. But obviously, not everyone knows this law. So don't beat yourself up. You know now.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

if you've never had trouble before (which is kind of surprising) i can understand your feeling a little blindsided. if indeed it was your HOA who instigated it, then yes, a friendly word of warning prior to calling the cops would have been neighborly.
but when the rubber meets the road, it IS pretty ubiquitous that you can't make pedestrians move to the street to get around your parked vehicles. is the law really that hard to understand?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

In my area, it is illegal to have your car parked in your driveway far enough back that it blocks the sidewalk.
Ignorance of the law is not considered an excuse for breaking it.
The reason is that the sidewalk is considered public property, even the segment that crosses your driveway. It's part of the easement, so when you block it, you are technically blocking public property.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

What Suz T said. How would you even think that parking and blocking a sidewalk is ok? Obviously a parking violation and deserving of a ticket.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

This has always been illegal. Anywhere you live. Our HOA puts this stuff in our news letter all the time. I would bet they have received a huge amount of complaints and finally decided to do something about it. I would be curious if they sent out a letter. Sometimes ours does and sometimes it doesn't.

I guess now you know.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

IMO it's more about common courtesy than the law.

If a child on a bike scratched your car because they had difficulty maneuvering around your car, would you expect the parents to pay for repairs?

You should be lucky it was a ticket and not a scratch from bike handles or a kid getting hit by a car because your cars were blocking the sidewalk.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My assumption is that it is in your TX vehicle code and therefore a law that you are supposed to know in order to operate a vehicle (look up the vehicle code referenced on your ticket). If you have the time and inclination appeal to traffic court and hope the judge is feeling generous that day.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

We don't have sidewalks on my street, so I don't have to deal with this. BUT we do have on-street parking bans (no overnight street parking Nov. 1 to April 1) to allow for snow removal.

In general "ignorance of the law is no excuse". I'm curious though about your reference to a "neighborhood committee" - is that a homeowners association or a looser, unofficial group of neighbors? If it's an association to which you belong and pay fees, they should have a handbook of some sort. But if they are an unofficial "neighborhood watch" group that just calls in violations to the police, it's up to the police to decide to enforce or not - they can't "decide to have the police give out tickets" without police cooperation. SO it may be that you are expected to know municipal regulations, like speed limits and seatbelt and "wipers on when lights are on" and so on. You can call your police department for clarification, but my guess is, if you're blocking part of the sidewalk, they'll say you aren't in compliance. Maybe a walker or umbrella stroller can go around your car, but what about a person in an electric wheelchair or a special scooter. I think you'll be hard pressed to say claim that it's really okay for you to block part of the sidewalk if the regulation/law is "don't block it". We see that all the time in intersections when ambulances and fire trucks can't get through. If the sign says "don't block" then you don't get to split hairs on it I'm afraid.

But again, you need to contact your municipal authorities. Ask them what to do when you have company or more cars than will fit in the garage and driveway. We don't know your local ordinances.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

I have neighbors who call code enforcement if someone sneezes in their direction, yet I see people do this where I live CONSTANTLY (park across the sidewalk) and I've never heard of anyone getting a ticket for it. I have lived here 14 years.

I would think a warning should have happened first.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I disagree with the other posts. Here's why. It wasn't the police who came through the neighborhood and happened to see violations. It was a "committee" who decided to do this.

My question to you is, did your neighborhood committee send everyone a letter regarding this, BEFORE calling the police? Could it be that you just didn't get the letter? If they didn't send warning to anyone, they are class A jerks. Do you have the email addresses of the neighborhood? If the neighborhood as a group didn't get a heads up before the police were sic'ed on you all, I would email everyone complaining about it and tell the neighborhood watch group that they could have AT LEAST let people know in advance. When you don't even know there's a law, it's hard to follow it, and that you STILL don't know what is and isn't legal.

The whole neighborhood should hold these people's feet to the fire. It's one thing to make sure that pedestrians don't walk in the street. It's another thing to intentionally get people ticketed. And that's what your neighborhood committee did.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Sorry, ignorance of the law is not an excuse. I suppose you were unaware because you haven't kept up with the law over the years. As to never been ticketed before. Parking enforcement is hit and miss. Consider yourself lucky this is the first time.

Common sense tells us to not park on the sidewalk because sidewalks are for pedestrians, not cars. What is more important is that forcing people to walk on the street is a safety issue.

If any part of your car is on the sidewalk you're in violation.

1 mom found this helpful
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