No Parking | Mexico | Living in Mexico

No Parking

As in most cities, parking is a problem in San Miguel de Allende. Rising prosperity has meant ever more cars in the city center. Roads laid out in the 17th Century are, in most cases, too narrow to allow for many parking spaces. (Some streets are too narrow to even admit cars!)

People who are fortunate enough to have garages jealously protect their driveways. They paint lines on the street claiming the frontage that belongs to their entryways. They call the police to tow cars parked in them. And virtually every driveway has a No Parking sign.


When not angry or lustful, most Mexican people are polite, even courtly in their speech. But the rules go out the window when it comes to parking. This sign, for example, is decidedly hostile. The "E" with the circle through it means "No Parking." The rest of the text says, "Tires punched for free."

Punching tires, even those on a car blocking your driveway, surely is illegal. So what does the sign mean? Is it some sort of humor, kind of like the signs in New York that say "Don't Even THINK of Parking Here!" Or is the threat real? If, upon returning to your illegally parked car, you find you have four flat tires, would you call the police? Would you expect them to confront the homeowner who posted the threatening sign? Would they help you recover damages?

This would depend in the faith you have in the efficiency and integrity of the Mexican justice system ...