Parallel parking in Virginia: Complete resource guide | Allen and Allen

Parallel parking in Virginia: Complete resource guide

Parallel parking is an art and a science. Some drivers can skillfully wedge their vehicle into a parking space with just inches to spare. Others (like this author) will circle the block until they find a space large enough to accommodate an airplane. Regardless of which camp you fall into, all drivers are subject to the laws and regulations that govern parallel parking.

parallel parking

Which side of the road do I parallel park on?

In Virginia, drivers are generally required to park their vehicle close and parallel to the right edge of the curb or road. However, drivers are allowed to parallel park next to the left curb or edge of the road on one-way streets. Drivers are also allowed to park at an angle where permitted by the Commonwealth Transportation Board, the Department, or local authorities.

How far from the curb can I be when parallel parking?

The distance from the curb that a driver may parallel park their vehicle varies depending on the locality. Some localities, like Gloucester, Harrisonburg, and Norfolk, require vehicles to be parked within six (6) inches of the curb. Other localities like Botetourt County, Charlottesville, Hampton, Lawrenceville, Newport News, Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Smithfield, Tappahannock, and Williamsburg, require vehicles to be parked within twelve (12) inches of the curb. Cape Charles, Chesterfield, and the City of Richmond require vehicles to be parked within eighteen (18) of the curb. Prince William, which is the most generous, allows vehicles to be parked within two (2) feet of the curb.

woman parallel parking

How much space must be between two parallel parked vehicles?

Localities also vary as to how much space they require between vehicles. In Newport News, vehicles must be parallel parked no more than three (3) feet apart. In Botetourt County, the City of Roanoke, and Roanoke County, vehicles must be parallel parked no more than four (4) feet apart. Other jurisdictions are more concerned with leaving enough room so that other cars can get out. For example, in Smithfield, it is illegal to parallel park within two feet of another vehicle.

Is someone allowed to “steal” my parking space?

If you have ever had someone “steal” your parking space, you know how frustrating it can be. Interestingly, some localities prohibit “stealing” parking spaces. For example, in Alexandria, Hampton, Lawrenceville, Luray, Martinsville, the City Richmond, and Smithfield, a driver who pulls up parallel with a parked vehicle with the intention of backing into the parking space behind the parked vehicle has the right to the parking space. Those localities do not allow other drivers to drive their vehicle into the space or to block access to the space by stopping immediately behind the first vehicle.

car trying to parallel park

Where is parallel parking is allowed?

In Virginia, it is illegal to stop a vehicle in a manner that impedes the highway or renders it dangerous, except:

Some localities have their own parking regulations, in addition to state law. For example, many localities have local ordinances that prohibit parking:

  • on a crosswalk or sidewalk,
  • double parking (parking beside another parked vehicle),
  • in front of driveways,
  • within areas where parking is prohibited by curbs painted yellow or “No Parking” signs,
  • in a parking space reserved for disabled persons,
  • in striped access aisles adjacent to a parking space reserved for disabled persons,
  • on the hard surface of a road when no curb is present,
  • within 15 feet of a fire hydrant,
  • within 20 feet of an intersection,
  • in a bike lane,
  • within 15 feet of the entrance to a fire, ambulance or rescue squad station,
  • within 500 feet of where fire trucks or equipment are stopped answering an alarm,
  • within 50 feet of a railroad crossing, and
  • in such a way that blocks or creates a hazard for other vehicles in the traffic lane.

The chart below sets forth the local parking regulations for Virginia localities. It is important to know the local regulations in your locality in order to stay safe, and to avoid citations and fines.

Parking ordinances in Virginia

parking laws

Parking regulations

localities and regulations

Danville parallel parking

greene parking

Henrico parking ordinances

lawrenceville parking ordinances

luray parking

Newport News parking ordinances

portsmouth parking

prince william parking

City of Richmond parking

RVA parking

RVA parking

Roanoke County parking rules

Spotsylvania parking ordinances

Tappahannock parking ordinances

Virginia Beach parking

Williamsburg parking ordinances