Almost as long as there have been cars, there have been garages, and by the late 1950s, the attached garage had almost completely replaced the outbuilding model.
At first, garages were actually reserved for cars, keeping the car dry and warm and protecting the paint job with no need for morning defrosts in cold weather.
But somewhere around 1980 – no one is exactly sure – garages turned another corner.
They pretty much stopped being for cars.
People had always stored a few items in garages, but over time they had become full-fledged storage rooms (sometimes full of junk). Slowly, the car got pushed out.
According to a 2001 UCLA study, only about 25 percent of American homeowners still parked their cars inside.
In the meantime, homes with three or more vehicles shot up 872% between 1969 and 2001. With no room left in the driveway, the next best option was the street.
Metro areas were the first hit by the lack of garage parking, but now it’s migrated full force into suburbia, in many cases turning public streets into public parking lots.
More than a hundred years after the dawn of the automobile, the battle for curbside territoriality is rattling the chains of the social network.
Seeing the curb in front of their houses as “theirs,” many homeowners have gone to great lengths – even if their actions might be illegal. Some more popular efforts include painting fake yellow curbs, erecting fake signs and meters or just leaving a good threatening note.
It’s entirely possible that your city or county has a nuisance ordinance or permit program forbidding non-residents from using a public street for regular parking. And entirely possible they don’t. Know your rights.
If you have a dispute with a person enacting “parking enforcements,” in your neighborhood, you might try to have a conversation with them about it first. Otherwise it’s probably best left to law enforcement.
Document the activity with photos or videos and then call the proper authorities.
If that’s not an option, parking disputes can sometimes be settled through a local mediation program, allowing an objective third party to find common ground.
For a nominal cost — $50 for three hours of professional mediation — the parties get help crafting a solution.
It’s an extremely successful though widely underused community problem solving tool. About 90% of mediation agreements are still in force after six months