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Old 09-21-2019, 09:04 PM   #1
Almost There
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: North MS
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Urban/City Daytime Parking

So I've read some threads about urban parking but most of them are about finding places to park for the night and sleep in the city. What I'm more curios about is how I would fare if I were to, say, want to visit Chicago or another medium to large city to go to a museum or a show or what-have-you. I assume that so long as I can find two continuous parking spaces anywhere, even on the side of the street, I would be fine? I'm looking at a 26-28' bus so it wouldn't be too hard to maneuver or find enough parking for it.

Main reason I'm asking is because the second purpose of my future bus (first being able to travel and see the american outdoors) is to visit cities for culture and also to purvey my art. I'm a musician and artist and poet and would like to be able to book shows and do art fairs and poetry readings in urban areas. Is it going to be impossible to get in and out even in a short bus? Will I get towed? I would always leave and find a rest stop or boondock or wal-mart lot for the night.

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Old 09-21-2019, 10:45 PM   #2
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When I went to Washington DC, in my converted Eagle, I stopped and a police officer where I could park. He promptly pointed out the charter bus parking at Union Station. We spent four nights there for free. It was a great location close to many of the things we wanted to see.

The only challenge was walking my 100# Golden Retriever.

Boston did not play so well. We were warned not to drive the bus into the city. We did anyway and couldn't find a spot to park for the night. We wound up driving out into the burbs and found a Walmart near the train station. We stayed at the Walmart and took the train into the city.

We didn't have the convenience of mobile Internet access that is so common now. Having the ability to ask questions about destinations from the Skoolie/RV community should make travel planning much easier.

There is another board that I frequent is . They are a great resource for road and destination information.

Also a great resource when traveling on a budget is

Good luck!
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Old 09-22-2019, 10:00 AM   #3
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Better off parking at a mass transit stop out in the suburbs.
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Old 09-22-2019, 10:06 AM   #4
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I may be skewed on this since all m,y busses are un-converted (still have seats).. but Ive done pretty good parking in the "bus parking" spots near landmarks... I havent been run off yet.. one place I did have to register my bus but they didnt charge anything... just told em I had a group of kids "who were inside someplace"....

now BIG cities... chicago, DC, Boston and the like? Park the bus in a walmart in the burbs, walk to the park n ride and hop the public transit into downtown... done this in more than one city.. major cities with light rail, the park and rides sometimes have van / bus parking.. but may have an issue with an RV looking bus..
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Old 09-22-2019, 10:09 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Better off parking at a mass transit stop out in the suburbs.
As someone who lived in the close-in Chicago suburbs, and worked downtown for 30 years, I think this is the easiest approach. Parking in Chicago is a challenge even with a car. so finding a place for a bus would probably require a bit of a walk or cab ride once parked (forget about downtown, you'd likely end up on the outskirts).
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Old 09-22-2019, 01:15 PM   #6
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You have to realize NYC is at a scale of density way beyond most other US cities, the whole thing is like a downtown CBD. The odds of finding two empty public street parking spots even driving around all day are slim to none.

In fact I bet you're only allowed to drive a full bus on a small number of heavy through-traffic streets, not into residential areas.

West side there are some huge open-air parking lots, but very expensive, maybe $4-500 a day, and I wouldn't trust security.

Metro North line, up past Westchester County, maybe the "SouthEast" stop? go in on a weekend daytime, might only cost $100 a day or so.
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Old 09-22-2019, 02:52 PM   #7
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Yeah I don't think I would even try NYC. I think Chicago would be the biggest place I'd try. But I'd like to hit Atlanta, Charlotte, Seattle, Portland, DC, etc. At 26', it's only 4' longer than a Ford Super Duty and 8' longer than a Suburban. Surely it wouldn't be THAT hard to find parking somewhere in a city. I drive a Tundra and an 18' trailer combo for work that in total exceeds 40' and have no problem navigating through parking lots. Hell I've even pulled up beside a Starbucks and Sonic in it. That said I live in a small town and having never driven a bus, I'm not sure how it compares to a Truck/Trailer combo in terms of maneuverability.

It's been a while so I don't remember that well but I used to play in a band and we played some bigger cities with a similarly lengthy suv+trailer setup and never had any issues idling next to the venue to load-out then finding somewhere not too far away to park so I'm thinking I'll be ok?

Maybe I'll just have to try it to find out!
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Old 09-22-2019, 03:11 PM   #8
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Venues such as what I understand you're seeking are often visited by school and bus tour groups therefore they usually have a bus lot or info about nearby public parking with bus sized capacity. Check their websites for group tour info to see if they have the forethought to provide this for the tour planner. A phone call may also go a long way if you make it sound like you're a group tour planner.

For Chicago as with many large cities, space is a premium so larger facilities such as Walmarts will at least have the space for you to enter and are likely near public transit. By the same token however they are notoriously intolerant of large vehicles when they are located in or near large cities just because they know their spacious parking attracts semis and RVs. So it can be something of a gamble whether a given Walmart is 'truck friendly' although there are apps specifically for that purpose with varying degrees of accuracy.

I can relate one incident I had in a Chicago suburb in which I delivered to a Lowe's and parked for the evening which is authorized for the carriers serving that account. This is why you may see Walmart semis parked in Walmarts that don't otherwise accept truck parking. Anyways, the adjoining Walmart was 24-hr and called the police on me because the parking lot was shared with Lowes so I awoke to a parking ticket. Fortunately my carrier handled it because as mentioned we contracted for both Walmart and Lowes although unless the truck says their name they tend to assume just an inconsiderate trucker looking for a free parking spot.

Depending on the appearance of your conversion, the more RV-looking it is in my opinion the more likely you are to get attention. Ironically, a bus, especially a school bus, seems to attract less attention than an RV in this circumstance.
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Old 09-22-2019, 03:33 PM   #9
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A hybrid scheme may work for longer stays, if you find it difficult to get good intelligence / advice in advance.

Park out in the suburbs close to the train line, between 7pm and 6am to avoid the commuter congestion, head into town to scope out your options **in person**, asking local cops, staff at your "venues", suitable looking parking lots etc.

When you feel confident, take the train back to your bus and only then drive it into the CBD, straight to your (maybe reserved) spot.
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