Update on the Private Parking Sign on Public Streets Scene

The sign is down! More deets below:

It turns out that I’m not the only person who has strong feelings about people sinking nails into trees to make private claims to public property. Urban homesteading for cars, if you will. Here are a few examples:

While I don’t think there are many legitimate reasons for sinking nails into trees to claim parking places one does not own, I did receive some more information about this particular situation in emails.

The person living in this home is not a right-wing nut job dude who chose to live in an urban area the like example Rat described in the comments on the previous post. It turns out that the property is owned by an elderly woman who’s been getting some help from her family.

I was scolded for not researching why someone chose to hammer nails into a boulevard tree to claim a public parking place. Knowing what I know now, I did some research to figure out what the age threshold is for nailing signs to boulevard trees in Minneapolis. There doesn’t appear to be one.

Assuming this is an accessibility issue (perhaps elderly people come and go at the same hours of the day when the Blue Door Pub is busy enough to have cars parked nearly a block away?), the city has ways of addressing this kind of situation that don’t involve nailing “Private Parking” signs into trees. Two different types of restricted parking can be requested depending on needs. I’m all for people aging in place. In fact, I do it every day.

Here’s one other hammer and nail-free solution: The neighbor to the north has a driveway that runs along its south property line. I don’t know how neighborly the neighbors are on that block, but I think 99% of neighbors would be cool with their driveway being used for pickups and dropoffs of elderly neighbors.

12 thoughts on “Update on the Private Parking Sign on Public Streets Scene”

  1. A quick look at Home and Garden TV’s website should lay your apparent concern about nailing signs to a tree to rest. Unless you do it to a diseased tree, it’s not going to do any real damage.

  2. I heard the occupant who is a widow who has lived in the house since 1950 and just came home from the hospital. There are certainly procedures for legitimizing a spot for disability purposes but I’m told this was a short-term situation.

  3. I hate to sound mean, but there’s substantial risk with using a neighbors driveway. Letting a neighbor use your property like that, especially if they’re in poor health, could be a huge lawsuit if they fell. It probably wouldn’t be them suing, but their insurance company could go after your homeowners policy if something happened.

  4. In front of The Rat’s house in Northeast used to sit an aging Nisson Quest minivan owned by one of the neighbors across the street. Not sure which one, they seem to come and go. The bluish paint had faded to the point it looked like a Big Grape. Sat there day-in and day-out for awhile. As quickly as it arrived, it was gone. Now it’s been replaced by another Nisson Quest, sort of a forest green with some bumper sticker about God on it. Guess it’s probably the same minivan with a new look.

  5. Ed, why do you assume the neighbor to the north isn’t accomodating? You don’t even know if they’ve been asked. And if the issue is access for someone just out of the hospital, the drive is further from the front door than the street.

  6. @Mary Jane, I’m assuming that because if they were accommodating there likely wouldn’t be a private parking sign posted. And, I’m assuming that it’s the walking rather than driving distance from the house to a car that someone just out of the hospital would be most concerned with.

  7. Mary Jane & Steve, probably the easiest way to keep bloggers – and anyone else driving by that property – from making assumptions about a Private Parking sign nailed to a tree is to not nail Private Parking signs into public trees on public boulevards along public streets. I’m writing from the perspective of a person driving by, seeing a Private Parking sign nailed into a public tree on a public boulevard along a public street near the BDP. It’s the same conversation I had while driving past but in blog format. I’ve made the same assumptions that – from what I can tell – quite a few others have made when seeing that sign. Assumptions can be wrong. I don’t think anyone would mistake either of the posts I did on this subject for reporting. For example, reporters generally don’t open with sentences like, “I find people who claim ownership of the public street in front of their private home entertaining.”

    I wrote this update post to share the story behind the story once I knew more (though that comes with its own set of assumptions). Does that additional info and speculation justify the sign? Decide for yourself.

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