How to deal with tandem parking

Tandem parking is becoming more common as new housing is built thinner to keep costs down and to save space. But this kind of parking can be a challenge to manage. Read on to learn if it’s a deal-breaker for you, or—if you’re already in a tandem parking space situation—how to better manage this unique arrangement.

Three cars parked in a driveway in front of a home, two of cars are tandem.

Table of contents

What is tandem parking?4 Tips for sharing a tandem parking spaceAlternatives to tandem parking

What is tandem parking?

Simply put, tandem parking means you share two parking spaces with another person. These spaces are located one in front of the other, which means that the person in the back has to move their car if the person in the front space wants to pull out. 

These kinds of parking spaces usually exist in cities with a lot of apartment buildings like San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles, or outside of thinner buildings where garages or driveways can only accommodate tandem spots. Understandably, it can be complicated to share tandem spaces, but there are some simple things you can do to make managing it a bit easier. 

4 Tips for sharing a tandem parking space

With good communication skills, you can make sharing a tandem space a smooth process.

1. Familiarize yourself with each other’s schedules

If you’re sharing with a roommate or a loved one, you’ll need to figure out what your schedules are and keep track of them on a shared calendar. Record when you both leave for work (or school, or whatever your regular daily routine may include) and come back, as well as any standing appointments throughout the week, such as a sports league night or a weekend class. That way you can make decisions about how to park your cars according to who needs to leave when. 

If one of you has very early working hours, then it makes sense to have that person park in the back parking spot at the end of the day so they can leave without hassle in the morning. This can be more complicated if you’re sharing a parking lot spot with a neighbor—a less common arrangement—but it can still be done if you’re both clear about your needs.

2. Communicate clearly and frequently

Understanding each other’s schedules is key, but changes, emergencies, and spontaneous needs always crop up, so good communication skills are extremely important

Don’t be afraid to be assertive about your parking needs—being too passive or timid about asking for what you need could lead to your car being stuck at the worst possible time. Consider setting up a dedicated channel or thread in a chat app where you only discuss issues related to the tandem parking space. This way you’ll know right away when something pops up and you can discuss what to do about it.

3. Make spare keys

If you’re sharing a space with a loved one or someone you trust, it’s a good idea to have spare car keys made for each car and pick a spot to store them that both of you can access. That will eliminate a lot of scrambling when last-minute needs arise and the person in the front space needs to get their car out of the lot unexpectedly. 

If you’re in a relationship and you both have cars, you could also consider sharing the two cars equally, and then it won’t matter who takes the car in the back spot. 

4. Create a rotation schedule

If you both decide it’s too annoying to manage a daily schedule or you both have schedules that change frequently, consider doing a week-to-week rotation schedule where you take turns parking in the garage or driveway for a week and the other person parks on the street.

Alternatives to tandem parking

Finally, you may decide that you love your apartment, but simply don’t want to deal with the challenges of a tandem parking spot. If you live in an area with ample parking areas or safe street parking, these are alternative options. 

You can also look into city-owned and private parking garages nearby that may be able to rent you a space on a monthly basis. Finally, if you simply don’t need to drive that much, consider letting your tandem space partner take the back space permanently and use public transportation for most of your travel needs.

Bungalow housing is made for roommates. We handpick homes that are move-in ready and perfect for shared living, and with roommate vetting and compatibility matching, we help you find people you actually want to live with. Find your Bungalow.

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