If you are new to driving or have only ever parked along a street since you earned your license, you might be wondering what is off-street parking, exactly? Sure, the term itself is pretty self-explanatory, as it means parking a vehicle off the street, but it tends to be a bit more complicated than merely not parking along a roadside. To provide more insight into what this term entails, below you can read more about the different types of off-street parking and discover that it does, in fact, come in many different forms.
Types of Off-Street Parking
- Private Lots: Private lots are off-street parking spaces where you can park if you are a member or associated with the attached real estate or business in some way. While you can pay a required fee to access private lots in some places, it is not always an option; it depends on the location and parking purposes. These private areas are under the control of a private agency or individual and are often seen in places like colleges and residential areas.
- Public Parking Lots: Just about every licensed driver has parked in a parking lot at some point or another. Though many are locally governed, some are privately owned and used only for their customers. For instance, have you seen those “For Customer Parking Only” signs before? These are very common near bars, shops, and restaurants and can also be assigned to specific events, like music festivals.
- Parking Garages: Like private lots, these tend to come with a fee for parking during a particular period of time. Some places may offer free parking, but only allow up to three hours or so before you can be ticketed. When talking about parking garages, there are several different types:
- Single-level garages
- Multilevel garages
- Underground garages
- Automated parking garages – this involves driving your vehicle on the parking system, and the system automatically moving your car to an available space
Again, different kinds of off-street parking areas will have different rules, fees, or restrictions you need to conform to in order to park there. Some employers offer free garage parking as part of their package, whereas others might not. In addition, some might be free with time limitations, and others might be off-limits to the public (like private residential areas) altogether. This is really a case-by-case basis, and as long as you know what the requirements entail, you should be fine in making sound parking decisions.
Conclusion – Off-Street Parking, An Umbrella Term
In a nutshell, answering the question of what is off-street parking can be boiled down to parking anywhere but on the streets. As explained above, this can mean indoor and outdoor parking facilities like lots, garages, and private parking. More than likely, you have seen or experienced urban center parking that is dedicated exclusively to customer/client parking, away from the mainstream traffic.
Overall, the rules of on-street parking do not apply here but know that there are other public agencies or private firm regulations you need to follow. As long as you respect the rules of off-street parking owners and operators and pay any necessary parking fees, off-street parking can be a great street parking alternative.