Here's what you need to know to save yourself a hefty fine:
- Parking rules are in effect 365 days a year, even on legal holidays. But ticketing tends to slow down quite a bit on holidays. The three least-ticketed days in 2016 – and the only days when fewer than 100 tickets were written: Christmas, July 4 and Easter. But there's good news about those meters – keep reading.
- You have to feed the meter 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. You're off the hook on Sundays and these holidays: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- The city will give you a 15-minute grace period immediately after parking rules change. If you get a ticket within that 15-minute grace period and challenge the ticket, you'll win, according to Parking Commissioner Kevin J. Helfer. Example: Alternate parking takes effect on your street at 9 a.m. Monday, and you get a ticket at 9:10 a.m. If you go down to City Hall to challenge your ticket, it will be dismissed.
- You can't legally park within 20 feet of a crosswalk or 15 feet of a fire hydrant, even though those distances usually are not marked in any way. Both distances are spelled out in the state's vehicle and traffic law.
- Parking is prohibited on bus routes from 1:30 to 7 a.m. Nov. 15 to April 1, even if that's not immediately evident through signs on those streets.
And, if you do have the misfortune of finding one of those bright orange envelopes on your windshield, take note: you can pay your parking ticket online, but the City of Buffalo will tack on a convenience fee of at least $2.