Driveway Blocking In Borough Park

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  • #593050

    Homeowner
    Member

    I have been posting here for a few weeks (although I read messages before then) and it has really impressed me how concerned people are about every aspect of Halacha. I am therefore raising the following issue for discussion.

    On 53rd Street, Misaskim even has a sign saying you should not block their driveway even on Shabbos and Yom Tov because apparently some people believe they have a special dispensation for these days.

    I think it might be easier to boil this down to a few questions:

    3. Again, back to Halacha, knowing that the police officer who tickets your illegally parked vehicle is likely going to be a gentile, how do you reconcile committing Chilul Hashem by openly breaking the law especially if you have left seforim or other Jewish articles visible in your vehicle?

    This is meant as a serious discussion and I would appreciate serious replies. I will ask the moderators to delete any joking or demeaning comments.

    #710496

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Boro Park is really hard to park in. My husband used to joke that we “missed the best fire hydrant to park by.” I’m not saying its ok, I’m saying the temptation is there, especially if you are just running in for a few minutes.

    We try not to drive to BP if we need to, or one of us stays in the car by a hydrant, so we can move in case of emergency. Not ideal.

    #710497

    chesedname
    Participant

    Homeowner

    all valid points.

    it’s the same for double parking.

    the bottom line is, ppl have no choice someone will not park 4 blocks away to run in and get his dry cleaning.

    I know this isn’t the point of your post, but why doesn’t the city do something as simple as put the bus stop by hydrants? it will create more parking spaces?

    #710498

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Homeowner,

    You missed one very important aspect in your laundry list — the fact that it’s just not right. I’ll bet the double parker woldn’t like it if someone blocked his driveway or blocked him in.

    Where’s the simple common courtesy?

    The Wolf

    #710499

    bpt
    Participant

    Welcome to my world. Yes, it drives me nuts (no pun intended) and I could move to suburbia if I really wanted to, but I choose to live in BP, and this is a small price to pay for all the other benefits

    #710500

    sms007
    Member

    i know someone who once though he can block a driveway while he went to pray mincha. the owner came out and said I am a hatzolo volunteer- what would have happened if I received a call while you were out davening, blocking my car in?

    #710501

    metrodriver
    Member

    First of all. Blocking driveways in Boro Park is not a recent problem. It is rooted in Two facts. (That doesn’t justify the practice.) First. there are no parking spaces in BP. So, the reasoning of some people who take this (violation of someone’s rights)lightly is. “I’m going only for a few minutes. There’s no harm in that”. But those few minutes might be critical to the property owner. It interferes with his schedule. Not to speak if he has an emergency situation. Secondly. People still go by the

    “Heimshe” mentality. As if this would be a little village, and you probably don’t mind. BTW. This, second motive is at the root of a lot of inconsiderate behavior where driving and other conduct is concerned. Point #3 (in your post.) is not valid. Because, the City employees who issue tickets do not consider the ethical angle of their job. They are happy with the increased number of violations they can issue.

    #710502

    aries2756
    Participant

    Knowing how the posts here have gone lately you will be called a Masser for calling the police.

    #710503

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Following strict Halacha (as we all try to do), the cars should be pushed out onto the street by the homeowner.

    Avid Inish Dina D’Nafshe B’Makom P’siada (when the homeowner needs access to their driveway).

    Of course, ask your LOR for practical use.

    #710504

    Helpful
    Member

    Can the homeowner call a towtruck who will charge the car owner to retrieve his vehicle?

    #710505

    apushatayid
    Participant

    I live in Flatbush, not BP. A neighbor of mine (frum fellow) was sitting on his porch, and watched as someone (frum fellow) parked blocking more than half his driveway making it impossible to pull out. He asked the parker not to block his driveway and the response was “thats what you get for living so close to Ave J”.

    It has gotten so that people actually place signs that read. Please do not block driveway, not even a little bit, not even for just 2 minutes.

    Another neighbor claims he followed someone who blocked his driveway home, and parked in front of his driveway. When confronted by the homeowner, he asked if he remembered where he was parked for an hour earlier today and said he would be back in an hour.

    Another scene I witnessed. Was in a shul, where the Rav lived upstairs and the shul was downstairs. There were (still are) numerous notices not to block the driveway. Someone parallel parked in the driveway anyway (you could not mistake the driveway for a parking spot, ever, unless you wanted to). The Rebbetzin came home and had no place to park. Her husband told her to double park the car and block the blocker. A while later, the blocker came angrily into the shul demanding that the person blocking him, move his car all the while spewing nasty invective about the horrible person who had the chutzpah and temerity to block his car. The Rav replied that he would be out to move his car as soon as he was finished with his chavrusa and refused to discuss the matter further.

    #710506

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    To the poster that calls him/herself helpful:

    There is a whole sugya in Bava Metzia regarding doing Dina D’Nafshe for others (for payment or not), even as a sheliach.

    Ask your LOR for actual halacha.

    #710507

    YakovL
    Member

    Part of the parking problem (I believe, maybe I should not post it) is that a good percentage of drive ways may not be legal. Perhaps never filed with the city or have drive way permits. I don’t think any one can just build a drive way as he/she wishes without a permit. If it is done without a permit, at least don’t make them so wide and not allow others to park at a legitimate spot? Let the house owners be “menshen” too !

    Perhaps owners should put up signs when others can block their drive ways – during hours when the home owners are not there anyway – perhaps with a condition the car owner display their cell number?

    #710508

    mamashtakah
    Member

    When I used to be a watch commander with the NWCP in Baltimore, I would ride around the Park Heights Agudah with the officer specifically so he could ticket all the cars that were blocking driveways. It was usually 3 or 4 a night. It would get me so angry that men thought it was more important to leave their cars wherever they wanted so they could run in for a minyan. (Not to mention the chillul Hashem when the non-Jewish officer saw this.)

    #710509

    bezalel
    Participant

    “Can the homeowner call a towtruck who will charge the car owner to retrieve his vehicle?”

    No. You can only have a car towed if it is on your property. For cars parked on the street, only the police can have it towed.

    #710510

    YakovL, This is called S’echel H’ayoshor. Altough i am not A home owner, this is what I would do when I would be.

    Don’t one realize that the streets was built at the Horse and Wagon period???

    #710511

    twisted
    Participant

    On “the Am I wrong on this” I was going to ask: Is this in Brooklyn?

    I held back because it could be taken as LHR against the community, but the common root and toeles is this: Living in any large city community leads to a degree of anonymity, and the anonymity can lead to shamelessness. In our weak generation, it is wise to be on guard for this pitfall. Perhaps the institution of universally teaching Mussar from young age would help.

    #710512

    myfriend
    Member

    I believe the correct procedure is to get a cop to first ticket the car blocking your driveway (by calling the precinct?) and then having it towed.

    #710513

    Lawstudent
    Member

    people block my driveway all the time. i always call 311 and my local precinct right away, because to tow it, the car has to first be ticketed. since the cops really dont care, and its low on their priority list I can be stuck without my driveway for hours, so I keep a gluestick and signs saying DONT BLOCK MY DRIVEWAY waiting by the front door :-)why shouldnt i have some fun with it?

    #710514

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    why shouldnt i have some fun with it?

    While it may give you some satisfaction, what you’re proposing is illegal. Just because someone is blocking your driveway does not give you the right — under halacha or New York State law — to damage the car.

    Mind you, I sympathize with you greatly and, truth be told, your suggestion game me quite a smile and, I’ll admit, there is a sense of karmic justice in it all. But in the end, it’s still not the right thing to do. As your parents no doubt taught you, two wrongs don’t make a right*.

    The Wolf

    * Although three rights make a left.

    #710515

    bezalel
    Participant

    Permanent labels on glass don’t do any damage but is a pain to remove. Do not under any circumstance glue anything to a car’s painted surface.

    #710516

    cherrybim
    Participant

    While homeowners don’t own the street and have no right to mar any car for blocking their driveway; you have every halachic right to call the police if you think a medical emergency may ensue.

    There are numerous illegal driveways in Boro Park; i.e. 40th Street between 12 Ave. and 13th Ave. I’ll bet you won’t have any homeowners calling the police if their driveways are blocked. These driveways use up all available parking spots, so I wouldn’t care much if these driveways were blocked.

    #710517

    myfriend
    Member

    How can you check if a driveway is legal or not?

    I assume it can be checked, since various posters are indicating they know certain driveways are illegal.

    Can an illegal driveway be halachicly reported to the city? If so, is 311 how it is reported?

    #710518

    Homeowner
    Member

    Lots of great comments here to which I will hopefully respond later, but one demands a reply now:

    cherrybim, how do you know these driveways, or any driveways for that matter, are “illegal?” What is your source of this information?

    #710519

    bezalel
    Participant

    Any legal driveway should have a permit on record at the Department of Buildings and the Department of Transportation for the curb cut.

    #710520

    myfriend
    Member

    What’s the procedure to check if a legal permit exists?

    #710521

    smartcookie
    Member

    Lawstudent-

    I watched my neighbor, when someone blocked her driveway, writing all over his car windows “do not block my driveway”. She wrote it in washable marker so as not to do any damage, yet she really got the owner scared when he came back.

    I’m sure he learned his lesson.

    #710522

    bezalel
    Participant

    Go to your borough hall and get a copy of the issued permits for the lot in question. It’s not cheap.

    If someone were to call 311 (I don’t know if it is allowed) than the city will check if it is legal but they won’t tell the caller the result of their investigation.

    #710523

    A23
    Participant

    Some blocks off of Thirteenth barely have any spots because they’re full of driveways. Many of them are certainly illegal, because regulations don’t allow driveways to be so close together.

    #710524

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Not very much. I am quite unclear what the parameters of such an issur would be. The gemara in BB talks about it in terms of using their din of chazaka on land.

    Ok, it is not nice. Is it a property right? Does the city even consider it a property right?

    3. Again, back to Halacha, knowing that the police officer who tickets your illegally parked vehicle is likely going to be a gentile, how do you reconcile committing Chilul Hashem by openly breaking the law especially if you have left seforim or other Jewish articles visible in your vehicle?

    I do not think parking illegally is a chillul hashem.

    I am not aware of the hezek you would be charged with. I suppose if you hit his car, you should leave your name and number so you could go to a din torah.

    #710525

    Helpful
    Member

    My friend’s neighbor in Boro Park got cited by the city for an illegal driveway (someone must’ve called 311) and incurred thousand? dollar fine + was required to remove it or get additional fines.

    #710526

    Helpful
    Member

    So I guess the bottom line is…

    If its a legal driveway, don’t block it.

    If its an illegal driveway, treat it like a nice parking spot.

    #710527

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Don’t tick off homeowners by blocking driveways, no matter the justification. They have ways to get back at you. I’ve seen people flag down cops and meter maids and point out expired registration and emissions, broken head or tail lights. I even saw someone with a tape measure showing how a car wasn’t the required distance from a hydrant. Its not about whether the ticket sticks, its about repaying the aggravation you cause by blocking a driveway.

    #710528

    bh18
    Participant

    what about calling 311 before you block a driveway, give the address, ask if it’s legal…if not-then block!

    a neighbor asked if he could block my driveway for shabbos, knowing that i would often take the baby to the er/hospital with no warning. i told him on shabbos i would call hatzolah but i was so impressed with his derech eretz and mentlichkeit. let’s all try to be more selfless and thoughtful of others!!

    #710530

    mazal77
    Participant

    cherrybim posted “There are numerous illegal driveways in Boro Park; i.e. 40th Street between 12 Ave. and 13th Ave. I’ll bet you won’t have any homeowners calling the police if their driveways are blocked. These driveways use up all available parking spots, so I wouldn’t care much if these driveways were blocked.”

    Cherrybim, so if they didn’t park on the streets, then those parking spaces would be taken by the locals anyway, that still won’t solve, the lack of parking. When you live near a commercial area, and it’s very difficult to park, you really have no choice, except to make a illegal driveway. I live in a location surrounded by 2 schools and a commerical area. Parking is terrible. I wish that the city would allow permit parking for residents only,(maybe during the daytime only) because, the teachers and people that work, shop, or go to the gym around here, park all day to avoid the meters, they all park on my block and surrounding areas. Trying to unload a car, with small children is impossible. Now imagine someone who has difficulty walking, where are they suppose to park? 3 blocks away??

    All I am saying is even if people didn’t have illegal driveways, the lack of parking still would be an issue and is made worse. Actually, I think when people do have illegal driveways, there are more spaces, because sometimes neighbors will park in the driveways with the homeowners cars still there, with an understanding that if they have to leave, they ususally give a call to please move. Good neighbors are understanding and respectful, especially when parking in the area is difficult.

    #710531

    cherrybim
    Participant

    But when homeowners put in the illegal driveways, it done in a way that there is no possibility of parking in the street without blocking the driveway. So you virtually have entire blocks where parking is not available to the public.

    One city regulation is that you can’t have a driveway cut within a certain distance of a tree, so my new neighbor had his workers burn down my tree.

    And once he put in the driveway, the rain water source for the huge oak in his yard was cut off. So whose house do you think his tree fell on; mine?!

    There are rules for a reason and they should be followed.

    #710533

    basket case
    Participant

    You don’t have to block a driveway to park. Even though it’s Boropark that we are talking about you can still find parking. It might take a little longer but its faster then dealing with the retrobution of a blocked driveway owner.

    #710534

    so right
    Member

    Some corresponding questions to the OP’s (Homeowner):

    I think it might be easier to boil this down to a few questions:

    2. Putting aside the law for a moment, under Halacha, what gives you the right to disturb (with your illegal curb-cut removing a public parking spot) your fellow Jew by interfering with his municipal right to public parking? Again, do you have a heter?

    3. Again, back to Halacha, knowing that the Department of Buildings who summons your illegal driveway is likely going to be a gentile, how do you reconcile committing Chilul Hashem by openly breaking the law especially if you have a mezuza on your front door or other Jewish articles visible in front of your home?

    #710535

    apushatayid
    Participant

    It looks like the argument being put forth in favor of blocking a driveway is, he has horrible middos, so its ok if I do to.

    #710536

    Helpful
    Member

    If the curb cut is illegal, then there is NO driveway. A homeowner does NOT own the sidewalk or parking spot in front of his house anymore than a law abiding homeowner who observes the law and doesnt have an illegal curb cut owns the public property in front of his house.

    #710537

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Halachicly he is a muchzak, and you must make a machaa and if beis din finds his chazaka to be invalid park there all you want. The same is true with civil law. If you believe it is an illegal driveway call the city, you have no right to assume it is illegal. I called 311 and asked them and that is what they told me.

    #710538

    apushatayid
    Participant

    helpful, if you are towed, the towing company wont care much for your lomdus.

    #710539

    oomis
    Participant

    It amazes me how much we are all so fired up about cars blocking our driveways. it has happened to me numerous times by yeshivah bochurim, who have PLENTY of room to park properly but are too thoughtless to do so, or men who are late for the minyan.

    My answer to both, is get yourselves out of my driveway. Soemone once had the chutzpah to pull INTO the driveway itself when there was no space, and I did what was exactly posted by someone else here – I blocked his car and waited for him to come out, then gave him mussar about hasogas gevul, and took my sweet time maneuvering the car out of the spot.He never did it again.

    If you are late, leave earlier. If you are a kid, actually take the time and trouble to see where the nose or rear of your car is situated. even if you are sticking over “just a little bit,” as one chutzpahdig young man said to me, it is MY little bit, not yours. I am the one paying taxes on the property by this driveway, and I am the only one who may block it, if I so desire. I have an acquaintance who has threatened to slash the tires of anyone who does this by her. I told her that was illegal.

    #710540

    Helpful
    Member

    APY, And when an anonymous caller reports you to 311, and the DOB finds it illegal, they wont care for your lomdus when ordering you to remove it at your expense after first paying the city a $2,500.00 civil penalty. (That’s the fine in NYC.)

    #710541

    Helpful
    Member

    And why do you even have to go to Beis Din? The street is public property, not private property of the homeowner. So if it is an illegal curb cut, you’ve done nothing to him, anymore than you’ve done anything to anyone you’ve parked in front of a house without any curb cut. Its between the vehicle owner and the city.

    #710542

    Homeowner
    Member

    So right and others,

    I was wondering how long it would take before the red herring of “illegal driveway” would make its way into this thread.

    A driveway, or a curb cut masquerading as a driveway, is not “illegal” until the Department of Buildings says it is. This rumor persists regarding my neighbor and to this day when I stop people who are blocking his driveway, they tell me, “it’s an illegal driveway.” It isn’t. What’s illegal is their conduct.

    I repeat a question asked yesterday:

    What makes you think you can tell whether or not a driveway is “illegal?”

    IF you believe a driveway is illegal, your remedy is to call 311, report it to the Department of Buildings and they will investigate. IF DOB finds that the driveway is illegal, they can either order the sidewalk restored or require a permit to be applied for an issued. If it’s the latter, the driveway will retroactively become legal.

    What does it say about a person who sees a car parked in a driveway and then blocks him in because he believes it’s an illegal driveway?

    By the way, those of us who have legal driveways (the overwhelming majority of property owners) pay an increase in real estate taxes for the privilege.

    #710543

    squeak
    Participant

    Helpful

    Member

    Can the homeowner call a towtruck who will charge the car owner to retrieve his vehicle?

    I am surprised at you, fella. That is out and out mesirah. Let me know when I can drop by to fulfill my halachic duties per the Rambam.

    #710544

    Helpful
    Member

    squeak – I see a question not a statement. When did you develop your opposition to learning?

    Homeowner – A curb cut in NYC is illegal UNLESS there is a permit for it on file with the city.

    #710545

    squeak
    Participant

    Helpful,

    Forgive me. I thought the question you posed was whether tow truck companies will do this at the homeowner’s request. If you meant to ask whether or not the homeowner is halachically permitted to avail himself of the tow truck service, then I misunderstood and I apologize.

    #710546

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    To be fair, the poster called helpful did not mention having the government towers come down; perhaps he means a private tower.

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