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I see redundancy here. If one stands a car on the street, isn't it necessary to stop first? It would seem the most logical and efficient use of language for the sign would be "no stopping." Or do drivers somehow differentiate between the two acts to the extent that they need to be told to avoid both?

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If the sign said "no stopping", and a policeman didn't actually see you stopping, could he really give you a ticket? How can he prove that your car wasn't carried there by a bunch of really strong men? –  Peter Shor May 25 '12 at 14:11
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I would love to see that work for you in court @PeterShor..... –  Schroedingers Cat May 25 '12 at 14:22
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Repetitive redundancies are a common pattern in officialese. I nominate airline admonitions against tampering with, disabling, or destroying lavatory smoke detectors as the worst example in everyday life. After all, the only smoke detectors in the passenger cabin are in the lavatory. :P –  choster May 25 '12 at 15:09
    
@choster: I'm not sure, but might there be smoke detectors in the part of the plane where they warm up the meals? I've never looked but I will next time because I know passengers can sometimes access that area, if they want a glass of water on an overnight flight and the crew are sleeping (having done that myself). SO... if there were a smoke detector in the kitchen and I wanted to smoke, I could tamper/disable/destroy that one and have my smoke, and I wouldn't be in violation of the admonition you cited. Right? ;) –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner May 25 '12 at 16:11
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@Peter Shor, whether the car gets there under its own locomotion or not, it somehown stopped there. OTH if you built the car there, you shouldn't get a ticket. –  emory May 25 '12 at 18:44
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4 Answers

up vote 18 down vote accepted

From http://parkitnyc.com/2009/07/no-standing-no-stopping-no-parking/:

No Standing means you can stop to let people out of the car or pick up someone who is already there, but no waiting for someone or loading & unloading. Remember it as ‘people only’.

No Stopping is the most restrictive. You can’t stop at the curb for any reason you can think of. This one is pretty much ‘don’t do it’, or ‘think before you stop’.

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I think NYC's "No Stopping Anytime/Red Zone/Don't Even THINK Of Parking Here" signs are pretty darn restrictive, regulating not just actions, but also thoughts. Example: flickr.com/photos/nikhilpahwa/1355086883 –  nohat May 25 '12 at 22:17
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So if they said "Don't even begin to think of parking here", they would also be regulating ontology, right @nohat? –  JeffSahol May 30 '12 at 17:42
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On the TV show Parking Wars this question is brought up frequently. On one epsisode they said that standing is used because of cities that have designated taxi stands where the taxis line up waiting for customers. They explained that in that context cars cannot stand (stop) at places with those signs for any reason or length of time. They said it has nothing to do with pedestrians standing.

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+1 -- "no standing" is related to the concept of a taxi stand. –  Jeff Ferland May 25 '12 at 17:25
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I recall a similar discussion here in Sweden. IIRC the reason was along the lines of Peter Shor's comments. It is possible for a car to come to a stop without the the driver stopping it in the normal sense, e.g. the car breaks down, avoiding an accident etc. In this case it was not possible to give it a ticket for stopping. That's why the standing part was added, although at first sight it seems implied. (In Sweden the sign doesn't have any text but translated the sign means "Prohibited to stop and park vehicles")

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It is definitely implied. "Standing" is extended stopping.

"Stopping", in this context, means being stopped while operating a car, even briefly, for a reason other than to avoid conflict with the flow of traffic. Note that "stopping" does not mean bringing a car to a stop, but operating a car while it is at a stop. So once the car is stopped, the driver is still stopping so long as the car remains stopped.

"Standing" is extended stopping, with the car remaining stopped for more than a brief period of time. So if a sign says "no standing", you can still stop briefly, for example to load and unload passengers.

"No stopping" signs necessarily prohibit standing as well. All the time you are standing, you are also stopping. "No stopping or standing" or even "No stopping, standing, or parking" is to avoid confusion among those drivers who, inexplicably, haven't read or understood their State driver's manual which quite likely explains these concepts clearly.

Note that "stoping" is a form of mining. So if you see a "no stoping" sign, be sure not to remove any ore from the vicinity of the sign. For example, if you see a woman wearing this shirt, you know you cannot remove any ore from her -- at least, not that evening.

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