Editor’s note: Crabby is on vacation. Here’s some classic advice from 2015:
We live on a dead-end street. To prove it, there is a big rhombus-shaped black and yellow sign that says “DEAD END.”
Seems there are a lot of signage-illiterate folks out there. My neighbor and I have driveways that are worn down by these people who don’t seem to care about turning onto our road.
I am thinking that since so many don’t read the “DEAD END” sign they may not read your column either. What should we do about these problems? I suppose I could add another sign with a profile of a guy with a shotgun or put up a toll sign and charge a buck to use my driveway?
My first instinct was to tell you to cool off, man. Have a heart. People sometimes turn down the wrong street. We’ve all been there.
But then I stopped to think what a drag it must be to have to deal with this constantly — not just the driveway getting worn down but the headlights hitting the house at night, the dogs (if you have them) barking at the cars, the noise of the cars themselves. It’d be a real drag.
So I did what I always do when I need additional perspective before issuing a ruling: I turned to the trusty ol’ internet. And it turns out this subject has been the matter of great debate for years. There are two hard-line camps: those who want all driveway trespassers shot on sight, and those who advocate for total access to all driveways (and homes and refrigerators) at all times. But the majority opinion seems to be that it’s kind of rude to use someone’s driveway as a turnaround if you can avoid it. That said, most people find vigilante justice a bit of an over-reaction.
The Yakima city code doesn’t specifically address driveways in its trespassing section. (It does say, “It is unlawful for any person to sit, stand on or lean against the cornice or exterior of any building from the roof of the building, when such cornice, wall or roof faces toward any public street or alley of the city of Yakima.” Good to know, in case you were thinking about doing a little unauthorized cornice leaning.)
So where does that leave you in terms of remedies? I’m not sure. Even if using your driveway to turn around is technically trespassing, it’s probably not the sort of thing you can call the cops over. Maybe it would help to put up a sign asking people not to use your driveway. It may not be enforceable in practice, but it probably would discourage people who otherwise wouldn’t think anything of it.
Or, if you think it’s worth the hassle, you could install a chain right along the property line. Or for that matter, a giant brick wall. Maybe one with cornices. Then you’d have a stronger case for trespassing.
Hope that helps.
P.S. — To everyone else: Please stay off this guy’s driveway. He’s asking nicely. For now.