I had a recent inquiry to explain again the difference in the terms “no stopping, no standing, and no parking” and just what they mean. So let’s review exactly how Vehicle and Traffic Law views these definitions.

The term “park” or “parking” is pretty basic — we park our car, turn it off, and leave it there for some period of time. VTL, section 129, defines park or parking as: the standing of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, otherwise than temporarily, for the purpose of and while actually engaged in loading or unloading merchandise or passengers.

The basic concept of parking the car and leaving it there unoccupied is allowed. Depending on regulatory parking/no parking signs, we may be able to leave the vehicle parked for only a limited amount of time, but we can leave the vehicle.

The term “stand” or “standing” has a different meaning in VTL. Section 145 defines stand or standing as: “the stopping of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, otherwise than temporarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in receiving or discharging passengers.” So we can pick up or drop off passengers but not merchandise.

Now we get to the most restrictive definition of the three terms. In this context, the terms “stop” or “stopping” is related to stopping along a street as opposed to stopping for a stop sign or traffic signal, and section 147 of VTL defines stop or stopping as “any halting even momentarily of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, except where necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a police officer or traffic control sign or signal.” Essentially, if the sign says no stopping, it means just that — we cannot even stop to pick up or drop off a passenger.

VTL section 1200 further defines basic rules, or just what the three restrictive signs actually mean. When parking is prohibited by “no parking” signs, you may not park a vehicle, whether occupied or not, but you may stop or stand temporarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in loading or unloading merchandise or passengers. This means you may stop in a no parking location for picking up or discharging passengers or even to load or unload merchandise from your vehicle.

When “standing” is prohibited by a regulatory sign, you may not stand or park a vehicle, whether occupied or not, but you may stop temporarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in receiving or discharging passengers, but not merchandise.

Lastly, when stopping is prohibited by regulation, you cannot stop, stand, or park a vehicle except to avoid conflict with other traffic or to obey the directions of a police officer. In short, you cannot even stop for a few seconds to pick up or let off a passenger.

In summary, if the sign reads “no stopping” you are not allowed to stop, stand, or park. If it states “no standing,” you cannot park nor can you load or unload merchandise, but you can drop off or pick up passengers. And, if it reads “no parking,” you cannot park there but you are allowed to stand to pick up or discharge passengers and merchandise.

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