Is double parking illegal in Virginia?
As a general rule, yes, it is illegal to double park a vehicle in Virginia.
What is double parking?
Double parking has several meanings. Most commonly, it means parking parallel to a car already parked at the curb. However, it can also refer to parking more than one vehicle in a single space or taking two metered spots with one vehicle.
In Virginia, as a general rule, drivers are not allowed to double park or to park in such a way that causes them to block or create a hazard for other vehicles in a designated traffic lane.
Virginia requires vehicles to be parked close to and parallel to the right edge of the curb. On one-way streets, vehicles may be parked close to and parallel to the left curb or edge of the roadway.
Double parking exceptions
Double parking is allowed in some specific situations. As a general rule, a driver is allowed to double park a vehicle if there is an emergency, an accident, or a mechanical breakdown. Vehicles that are owned or controlled by the Virginia Department of Transportation, counties, cities, or towns are allowed to double park while the vehicle is actively constructing, reconstructing, maintaining, or clearing roads during emergencies. In addition, rural mail carriers are allowed to double park if necessary while delivering or picking up mail.
Local ordinances for double parking
Some Virginia cities and counties have enacted ordinances that specifically prohibit double parking in their jurisdiction. These areas include:
- Greene County
- Orange County
- Prince William
- City of Richmond
- City of Roanoke
- Roanoke County
Fredericksburg allows drivers to double park on a two-lane, one-way street for a reasonable period of time in order to load or unload a vehicle, but it does not allow double parking:
- Between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
- When there is vacant curb space on the same block and on the same side of the street where vehicle is being unloaded
- If there is a vacant loading zone on either side of the street on the same block, or
- On single lane thru-streets, unless the driver has prior written permission from the city department of public works.
Parking more than one vehicle in a single parking space
Some Virginia localities have passed ordinances that specifically prohibit parking more than one vehicle in a single parking space. These localities include:
- The City of Richmond
- Orange County
- Virginia Beach
Penalties for double parking
In most cases, the penalty for double parking is a fine. The amount of the fine depends upon the specific jurisdiction, and often increases if the citation is not paid within a certain period of time. For example, Charlottesville imposes a $20 fine, which increases to $40 if not paid within 96 hours. Henrico and Prince Edward also impose $20 fines. In Richmond, the fine for double parking is $40. Fredericksburg charges $50, and the fine in Danville is $10.
Double parking is against the law because it is dangerous and impedes the flow of traffic. Although no one enjoys having to circle the block to find an available parking space, doing so is better than creating a safety hazard and having to pay a fine.