We are meticulously law abiding. When we come to communities that have banned overnight parking in Walmarts such as Galveston, TX or Glen Springs, CO, we don’t throw up our hands and attempt to stealth camp. As tired as we may be, we accept that this community does not want our business and we move on. So when we got a ticket for overnight parking in Pasadena, CA, we thought it must be a mistake.

When Pasadena, CA was awarded the dubious title of “snobbiest mid-sized city in the USA” we laughed. We have a lot of good, down to earth, hard working friends in Pasadena. Sure, they profit from the local symphony, the lavish Huntington Gardens, and the brilliant minds being funneled from the local university, Caltech, into it’s sister entity: NASA’s Jet Propulsions Labs. We enjoy walking through the neighborhoods and looking at the gorgeous Craftsman style architecture. But the residents of these blocks, don’t want an ’86 Dodge Ram Van camped out in front of them.

A year ago, we were looking for a place to park Dodgy. We had received a warning ticket that we had overstayed the permitted time to park on the block in front of our friend’s house. One block further down the street, still very close to our friends’ was completely open. We walked up and down the street to see if there were any “No Parking” signs. Nope. We walked around the block to be doubly sure.  Still, nope. So we patted Dodgy on the nose and returned to our friends’ house.

The next morning, we had a ticket for parking overnight. We walked the block again. No signs had miraculously popped up in our absence. We were confused and, naturally, protested the ticket. A few months later, Pasadena’s higher authority returned with a response: the ticket was upheld. Sure, there were no signs on the street banning overnight parking. But there were signs on the free way ramp exits into town saying that there was no overnight parking in the whole of Pasadena.  Walking the block won’t suffice, we would have had to walk half an hour to see that sign. Obviously, when I need to park somewhere, I start looking for warning signs as soon as I’m exiting the freeway. How could I possibly have missed it?

I have been visiting friends in Pasadena for over a decade. In all those years, one might think that this knowledge would be common to me. But even friends that have lived in Pasadena over that period of time were unaware of this sweeping ordinance.* So, this being the first time we’ve returned to Pasadena since the ruling, I made a point of looking for these signs. They exist. But is this really an acceptable way to alert drivers of such a sweeping and unconventional law?

Below the street sign is a smaller sign with smaller print announcing "No parking 2 A.M. to 6 A.M. on city streets except by permit."
Below the street sign is a smaller sign with smaller print announcing “No parking 2 A.M. to 6 A.M. on city streets except by permit.”

*Perhaps this ordinance is only exercised on cars with worn coats of paint.

Lexi lives in a truck camper down by the river.


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