Free Street Parking at the Ballpark – At Your Own Risk

Posted by Kurt Smith on Saturday, January 21, 2012

Some time ago I met with my buddy Gary Herman at a Wilmington Blue Rocks game (I think Gary would agree that the only place you’ll ever meet with him is at or inside a sports venue). He was coming from the Phillies game that afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, and he told me something that bothered me…he was given a $51 ticket for parking on South Lawrence St. east of the ballpark.

This caused Ballpark E-Guides to go into Damage Control Mode, instantly firing off a newsletter e-mail to anyone who had purchased a Citizens Bank Park E-Guide. The S. Lawrence St. parking was, you see, a valuable “Tightwad Tip” contained in that guide, and I wanted to make people aware as soon as possible that this is a place that you could be ticketed. I will also make sure that the guide gets updated very soon.

I never park on the street for ballgames. I’m tempted many times, but there’s always that part of me that thinks that this could possibly be the day that a municipality needs money and will enforce a little known parking statute to raise some. I live in New Jersey, so I know all too well that used, empty feeling when a government is done with me.

There are signs on the eastern side of S. Lawrence that warn people of parking violations, but these are on the eastern side of the street. For years people have been parking on the west side of the street, and I suppose now that sometimes they get a ticket for it. Parking at Citizens Bank Park is $15-20, so if you get away with it three or four times you’re still ahead, but in my opinion it isn’t worth the risk. I sincerely hope no one has used that tip from the E-Guide and gotten a ticket. They would be right to call me names.

The whole thing concerns me, because I usually have a free street spot or two that I recommend in each E-Guide. In many cases people have been doing it for years and it’s legal until the local government finds out about it—as has happened in Boston recently (a story told in the Fenway Park E-Guide). It’s great to park your car for free at the ballgame, and it really makes you feel like you’ve beaten the system until you get a ticket.

Sports fans, I just want to give a word of caution. Even though I’ll try and share every way I can possibly find for you to save money at the ballpark, please be aware when scoping a street spot. Check any signs that you see on the street; if they prohibit parking, believe it; and if the sign is confusing on whether you can park there, that is because it is designed to be. Governments at all levels are perpetually incompetent at most everything except taking your money; it’s amazing the ingenuity they have with that.

The last thing I’d want is for a customer to get burned using a tip of mine. I’m still going to suggest street parking spots, but please be careful using any of them.

Tags: parking  all ballparks 
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