What to do if a car is parked in your space

Returning home and finding an unfamiliar car parked in the parking space reserved for you or others in your house can be frustrating. But it happens all the time, so you can take the high road and still take care of it! It may be an error, an uniformed visitor, someone super stressed out, or someone who had someone parking in their space and they didn’t know what to do.

If an unfamiliar car is parked on your parking space on private property (like Dewitt Place or your driveway), you can:

  1. Text others in your house to make sure it’s not their car or the car of a visitor who accidentally parked in your spot. You can also knock on your neighbor’s door and kindly ask if they are familiar with that car.
  2. Leave a polite note on their windshield like “This parking space is reserved. Please do not park here again. – Your neighbor”
  3. Call Ithaca City Police dispatch at 607-272-3245 and let them know someone is parked in your parking space. Clearly describe the car and the location. The police will send someone to issue a parking ticket. If you will not be waiting there, ask to be called after they have issued a ticket.
  4. If the vehicle moves before the officer gets there, call dispatch back to let them know they do not need to come. They are short staffed.
  5. If you are blocked in and you need to move your car, most tow trucks have been told that if it’s an emergency they can tow without having a police-issued ticket first.
  6. If it is not an emergency, call the tow truck after the ticket has been issued. You can call Finger Lakes Wrecker at 607-273-6972 or another local towing company and ask them to tow the car away.

(FYI: The tow company calls the police with the license plate of the car they towed, then the person who gets towed calls the police, and the police tell the person which tow company has their car. There is no penalty or charge for the person who calls the tow company if someone else has officially been ticketed for being parked in their parking space on private property. The person who owns the car will be charged $100+ to get their car back, so please put yourself in their shoes and go from there).