Reserve Your Cleared Parking Space Now!

Photos of a “reserved” parking spot on my street in Washington, DC, February 13, 2010. It’s nice to see the tradition of using two metal lawn chairs as space savers is being upheld, well into the 21st century.





So here’s the difference between Philadelphia (where I grew up) and Washington, DC (where I live): In Philadelphia it is understood that if you take the time to clear a parking space in front of your house after a snow storm, you then have a valid claim to its exclusive use. Sweat equity confers upon you that right and interest. Digging out gives you dibs. No questions asked.

But in Washington, questions are asked, ethics are examined, situational nuances are parsed. Commentators turn to Locke and Hobbes for guidance. See, for example, the lively discussion engendered by the article: “Can Shovelers “Reserve” Parking Spots They Clear?” in the Washington Post, here; additional views here and here.  BTW, WaPo’s online poll, which has received 5000+ votes so far, finds 76% answering “Yes”.  The reaction is more even-handed (but less even-tempered) in the dozens of comments posted by readers.


UPDATE, December 11, 2016: The Oxford University Faculty of Law requested permission to reproduce the third photo to illustrate its announcement of an April 2017 event, “From Collective Legal Consciousness to Legal Consciousness of Collective Dissent.”


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2 Responses to “Reserve Your Cleared Parking Space Now!”

  1. Linda Green says:

    Hi Mike,

    Writing about your New Yorker Cartoon Contest comments/article I’d read a year or two ago — at least they finally accepted yours.

    Look at this week’s cartoon and the caption (man and wife in bed, phone blown up) . . . insert my caption:

    “Did we switch to AT&T or TNT?”

    No ponder as to why they picked the three that they did, over mine.

    Any ideas?


    PS – loved your blog on John Updike on Ted Williams

  2. Mike Ettner says:

    In 2016, the Oxford University Faculty of Law requested permission to reproduce one of my photos to illustrate an April 2017 event:

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