Rules for Moving in New York City

Did you know that:

  • In New York City, rental trucks and commercial vehicles are prohibited from traveling on most parkways
  • Are limited to three-hour parking
  • Must park parallel to the curb to avoid obstructing traffic and bike lanes

If not, failure to familiarize yourself with these and other regulations and restrictions could result in fines, delays, and parking tickets.

In this post, we’ll focus on relevant rules for moving to or within New York City.

Before reading on, check out these helpful resources:

  • Moving cost calculator – Talk about a great budgeting tool. Just enter your move dates, origin and destination cities, and the estimated size of your move, and let the magic algorithms do the rest
  • Best interstate movers – The moving industry is full of shady players. With so much at stake, it’s worth hiring a top-rated long-distance mover with verified customer reviews
  • Best moving container companies – It’s simple. You load and unload, they drive, and you save big bucks

Trucks vs. commercial vehicles – what’s the difference?

In New York:

  • A truck is any vehicle (or combination of vehicles) with at least two axles and six tires specifically designed to transport property
  • A commercial vehicle must have commercial plates and display the owner or registrant’s name, business address, and registration data on the cab and/or freight compartment

Nearly all rental trucks (like those from U-Haul and Penske) have two axles and six tires.

As a rule of thumb, rental moving vans are trucks, while the larger, heavier vehicles used by professional movers are commercial vehicles.

Knowing the regulations is your responsibility (in most cases)

You’ll need to familiarize yourself with local parking and travel restrictions when renting a truck and doing a DIY move.

If you hire a full-service mover or a container company, staying on the right side of the law is up to them.

Weekend moves are prohibited in some buildings

There aren’t any official restrictions on weekend moves in New York City.

Still, many buildings don’t permit weekend moves because they can disrupt other residents.

Isabel recently experienced weekend delivery woes in New York after making a cross-country move from San Francisco.

Though her movers arrived on a Friday afternoon, delivery had to be postponed until the following Monday because of weekend moving restrictions in her new building.

Whether you move during the week or on the weekend, you’ll probably need to reserve elevators and loading docks well in advance of your actual move date.

In addition, your movers may need to:

  • Provide the property management company with proof of insurance
  • Protect floors and walls in common areas like hallways and lobbies
  • Protect the elevator (many buildings have elevator wall pads on-hand)

It’s wise to ask about moving restrictions in your old and new buildings before booking a mover.

Basic truck parking rules in New York

Trucks and commercial vehicles must park parallel to, and no further than one foot from a curb between 7 am and 7 pm from Monday to Saturday.

When parallel parking isn’t possible, trucks can be backed to the curb at an angle while loading and unloading.

If so, sufficient space must be left in the roadway to allow other vehicles to pass safely.

Angle-parked trucks and commercial vehicles can never occupy more than one parking lane plus one traffic lane.

Don’t “drop” your trailer on the street

Small trailers and semi-trailers may only park on streets and highways when loading or unloading at off-street platforms like loading docks.

Even so, trailers must generally remain attached to a power unit.

Non-commercial drivers cannot rent or operate commercial combination vehicles like tractor-trailers, but these regulations also apply to rental trucks towing small trailers.

Keep an eye on the three-hour clock

Three-hour parking limits generally apply for trucks and commercial vehicles unless otherwise posted.

Thankfully, enforcement is spotty because loading and unloading often take longer than three hours.

However, anything longer may constitute “street storage.”

As such, it’s essential to have a large enough crew to get your move done promptly.

Did you know?

Commercial vehicles can only park on residential streets between 9 pm and 5 am when the operator is actively engaged in business within three city blocks.

Avoid parkways in trucks and commercial vehicles

In New York, trucks and commercial vehicles cannot legally travel on most parkways.

Though it’s not a complete list, restrictions include:

  • Jackie Robinson Parkway
  • Henry Hudson Parkway
  • Cross Island Parkway
  • Bronx River Parkway

Click here for a complete list of travel restrictions compliments of the New York City Department of Transportation.

You’ll have to pay for parking in metered areas

There are numerous metered parking areas across the five boroughs, and special rules and regulations apply in Manhattan and the Garment District.

Rates for trucks and commercial vehicles usually range from $5 and $8 per hour and are posted on signs or on the meters themselves.

Parking limits vary by area and vehicle type and usually range from one to 15 hours.

Metered regulations aren’t generally in effect on Sundays unless otherwise posted.

Did you know?

You don’t need a permit to reserve on-street parking spaces for trucks and vehicles in New York City.

Consider moving containers for city moves

Driving and maneuvering bulky moving vans is difficult and dangerous in congested cities.

Moving containers are great options for do-it-yourselfers who prefer leaving the driving to professionals.

In addition, moving containers:

  • Are affordable and convenient
  • Can usually be used for local and long-distance moving and storage

Since transportation and logistics are the company’s responsibility, you won’t need to plan a route, read up on parking regulations, or worry about getting a ticket.

Additional information on moving in New York City

1. Someone must remain with the truck or trailer at all times

The person who stays with the truck should be able to move it in an emergency or quickly contact someone who can.

All cab and cargo doors must be locked when the vehicle is unattended.

2. Don’t block the bike lane

New Yorkers and the city’s police force take bike lane violations seriously.

3. Watch out for fire hydrants

It’s illegal to park within 15 feet of either side of a fire hydrant.

4. Alternate side parking for street cleaners

Many streets in New York have alternate side regulations to allow for regular street cleaning.

Alternate side parking calendars list street cleaning schedules to help residents plan their moves.

5. Avoid school zones

Trucks and commercial vehicles are prohibited from parking in school zones except when school is in recess.

However, parking restrictions may remain in effect even when students aren’t present if the school is hosting other activities.

Frequently asked questions (faqs)

Can you move in on the weekend in NYC?

Yes. There aren’t any official restrictions on weekend moves in New York City.

What days of the week can moving trucks park on the street in New York?

Moving trucks can park on most streets between Monday and Saturday during regular business hours.

Do you need a permit to move in New York?


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