The parking chairs of Pittsburgh

Originally published at:


Love that sign at the very end.

1 Like

Is this a pittsburgh thing? I spent part of my life near Philly and I definitely remember there being parking chairs for parades and such.


It’s a thing in a lot of places with snow. Chicago, too.


I’ve barely been to Pittsburgh but I gather from the video that while it’s a special-occasion thing elsewhere (e.g. after shoveling out a spot in Boston) it’s an all-the-time thing in Pittsburgh.

The appropriation of a public good always gets my hackles up and I will drop a link here to The High Cost of Free Parking.


Yeah, as he says this has been a thing in Boston for decades, but usually it’s only for the winter.

“in Pittsburgh neither the police nor the people seem to care.”

Boston has started cracking down, they don’t seem to give tickets but they send a truck around and remove ALL the chairs/milk crates/garden gnomes at certain points. I think removing them all en masse might help diffuse arguments and accusations.


Parking chairs are bullshit. People don’t own the public spaces they are trying piss on.

Every big snow here people try this with chairs, trashcans, safety cones, milk crates, etc. Fights ensue. Neighbors hate each other.


I have lived in Pittsburgh for 6 years now and if there is one thing that is definitely very pittsburgh it is to think that everything is unique to Pittsburgh. The “Pittsburgh” left, also known as the jersey left, is another example. The chair thing is a great example as it is something i experienced in Boston years ago and can only imagine it happens anywhere there is snow and outdoor parking is at a premium.


There’s a similar system in my city. You can place a chair/bicycle/traffic cone in a parking spot to temporarily reserve it because you need to (un)load something, or expect delivery of something big.

There’s an unwritten rule you cannot use it to just reserve a spot for normal parking, though. Parking spots are rare over here, and everybody needs one. If people feel you abuse the reserving system for normal parking your object gets thrown out rather demonstratively and the parking spot taken.

1 Like

Someone mentioned this briefly before, but in Chicago it’s referred to as “dibs”. See: Chicago Dibs on Tumblr or Instagram.


Indeed. If you do this because of a special event, or because you have a U-Haul coming up for moving house, that’s fine with me. But doing this on a regular basis, e.g. because you think you deserve to park your own car before your house, that’s pretty fucked up and should not be tolerated. But fuckers who do that will scratch your car if you remove their chair and part there. So all you can do is steal their fucking chair and drive on.


I resisted the parking chair thing for more than a decade in Boston. I even used to go around on my spare time and shovel out unused spots as both exercise and neighborly good will. Then some guy accused me of “selling parking spots on craigslist” and I gave in. “Fine, I’ll be a selfish jerk like everybody else.”


Ha, I also moved here about 6 years ago and this is incredibly spot-on.


Let’s stop for a minute and talk about the high cost of “the High Cost of Free Parking”, at $78 the book will most likely not attract a lot of buyers…


A charming video. Thank you for including it. I don’t think we have anything like this in Colorado.

Used is like $25, not cheap but not egregious if you really want to read something out of print.

1 Like

I live right outside Pittsburgh and spent a lot of my life there. My hackerspace is there.

Yes, parking chairs are real, and still strange to me.

We also have a tendency to set couches on fire in the streets of south oakland area at times.

Its a lovely place really.


Honestly as far as drunk college kids go it’s pretty tame.


Our neighborhood (one “main” street with 2 cul-de-sacs) is across from a high school, where the principal either just started charging for parking, or raised the fee for doing so. As a result the students are parking in our neighborhood, clogging the street where only one car can get through (in one direction or the other) at a time, garbage trucks can’t get through, once an ambulance couldn’t make a house call etc. The police couldn’t or wouldn’t enforce because legally anyone can park on the street. (I’m not sure what they said about people parking too far from the curb, or ass-end in front of someone’s driveway, or on the corner etc.) This compounds an existing issue where some households have more vehicles than adults of driving age and these are invariably parked in the street. Now we’re in the process of getting zoned parking but I wonder how this might have gone over. (I suspect the chair would simply be gone before long.)

I’m a four-hour drive from Pittsburgh, but I’ve never visited (except to the airport, briefly, due to a weather-related diversion). Generally if we’re going to drive for 4 hours we’ll go to New York.

1 Like

From the Top 10 Most Common Pittsburgh Code violations

Upholstered furniture prohibited outdoors

614.02/614.03 “The use, keeping or storage of any upholstered furniture manufactured primarily for indoor use, including but not limited to mattresses and box springs, sofas and chairs, shall be prohibited on any front, back or side yard or patio visible from any public or private place, sidewalk or highway.”