Last year, we asked our readers to submit questions using a new online platform called NBToday Listens.  One anonymous reader asked us, “Why is alternate side street parking a thing?”  Here is our answer.

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The city of New Brunswick uses a system known as “alternate side parking,” which requires residents and visitors to refrain from parking vehicles one half of each street for a few hours every week, according to the times posted on signage around the city.

During these periods, drivers can only park their vehicles on one side of a given street, in order to allow city vehicles to sweep and clean the streets.

Since one side of the street is clear of cars it is easier for the cleaning trucks to reach the trash that has accumulated alongside the road.

The New Brunswick Parking Authority (NBPA) coordinates with the city’s Department of Public Works to issue tickets to vehicles parked that prevent the street sweeper from cleaning all the way up to the curb.

The NBPA gets to keep $4 of every $25 violation ticket that is paid.  The agency has seven officers that are approved to issue the tickets.

Each year this alternate side rules take effect on April 1 and remain in force through October 31. Street sweepers are not used during the remainder of the year.

Over the years this system has gained its fair share of supporters and skeptics.  New York City’s system of alternate side parking has been controversial ever since it was instituted in 1950.

Those who reside in New Brunswick have become accustomed to this system and although opinions range from positive to negative.

New Brunswick resident, Emily Cadigan resides on Hamilton Street and defends alternate side parking.

Emily Cadigan, 21, said that she is glad New Brunswick uses this system as a service to the public because she does not want city visitors to see trash covering the street and believes alternate side parking is to thank for the cleanliness.

Even though some see a benefit, complaints are also common.

While Rutgers University is in full swing during April, May, and September, many streets are frequently at capacity, causing a “terrible inconvenience,” according to some residents who struggle to find an alternate to parking spot for their vehicle, or can’t be there to move it at the right time.

“There is too many people that have to move their cars to the other side of the street so this system causes a terrible inconvenience,” said Rutgers student Danielle Mercado.

For better or worse, the system is in effect on nearly every street in New Brunswick.

More information on alternate side parking hours are available in the city’s ordinances, available at: