Everybody always talks about Massholes; one city councilor wants to do something about them

City Councilor Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury) wants more signs and enforcement against double plarkers and people who park in bike lanes. And channeling his inner Larry David, he wants to crack down on pig parkers - people who don't care they've parked outside the lines of a parking space.

Cracking down on these behaviors could also help drivers by improving traffic flow, he says.



Free tagging: 

PDF icon Make those pig parkers squeal0 bytes


The Car Is Still King in Boston

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Every day I bike in Boston there are loads of cars and taxis parked in bike lanes, in places like Kenmore Square it is constant during sox games, but even with cops all around, nothing is done. Same with bus stops all across the city.

Menino has done nothing to increase enforcement, just blathered how the car is no longer king, but it still is very much king in Boston, Boston drivers are allowed to park on sidewalks, bus stops, bike lanes, double park, whatever they want and the city does nothing. This slows down traffic for all, it only takes one double parker to make a lane unusable, or one person in a bus stop to make a bus have to stop in a travel lane.
It is good to hear the city council at least takes it seriously, I hope for once the mayor will listen.

It's a process. In the past 5

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It's a process. In the past 5 years I think biker rights awareness has skyrocketed, although I do admit it is a rather anecdotal opinion based on my walking commute. Definitely not a polished finished product, but I think the percentage of people aware has risen significantly.

Enforcement could be improved, as the ones still breaking the rules now are most likely the ones who need to feel in pain in their wallets before they give in, but I'll stop short of criticizing Menino - I think he has been very proactive about the bike issue.

even the mayor doesn't get it

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Guess what he's doing?

Speaking at the opening of a new bike lane.

The one he's parked in, with his giant SUV...


I love that picture.

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This is one of my favorite pictures, but I can't decide which is more shocking: (1) the obvious ridiculousness of parking in a bike lane whilst "opening" the bike lane; or (2) the fact that the Mayor was spotted in Boston west of Kenmore Square and on or north of Beacon St. (yeah, I know that's Comm. Ave. - I said it that way to include Cleveland Circle and exclude the sections (or all) of JP, Rozzie, West Roxbury, etc. are technically west of Kenmore, too).

All we need to do is revise

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All we need to do is revise the laws regarding malicious destruction of property so that they exclude illegally parked cars. The citizens themselves will take care of the rest.

Think of it as a market-based solution.

Funny story about this topic.

A few years ago a City Councilor called a BPD District Station about parking complaints on a major street. The complaints were about double parked cars, trucks loading in the street, patrons parking ilegally while running in and out getting takeout, delivery trucks parking ilegally, etc, etc.

So the police started to strictly enforce all and every violation on the street in question.

After 2 weeks, the mayors office and councilors office called the BPD and asked if the officers could use more common sense when enforcing these violations, as they were now getting complaints from the businesses that there was nowhere to load/unload, and there was no where for their patrons to park. They wanted the BPD to ignore violations as long as traffic could get by the double parked cars and the loading trucks.

I have found that in the end, the politicians want less phone calls (complaints). So if they get more phone calls about cars getting tickets for parking violations than they get phone calls about illegally parked cars, then they would rather have the law not be enforced.

then they can complain they don't get enough loading zones

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"After 2 weeks, the mayors office and councilors office called the BPD and asked if the officers could use more common sense when enforcing these violations, as they were now getting complaints from the businesses that there was nowhere to load/unload, and there was no where for their patrons to park."

First off, BPD officers don't write traffic tickets, because it's beneath them and the job of BTD.

Anyway: the businesses should apply to the city to have loading zones. And then they should tell their delivery companies to make deliveries with vehicles appropriately sized for the city.

I hear this all the time in JP on Centre Street, which becomes a parking lot for 18 wheelers every goddamn morning during rushhour, despite being right next to a fire station.

Guess what? Half the businesses have private driveways with parking spaces for their cars behind their shops. The special snowflakes want to tie up the streets with their deliveries AND not have to park their cars on the street (or heaven forbid, take public transit, walk, or bike.

Also: please do shut the F up about police and parking. As has been documented numerous times by the Globe, police park their private vehicles all over the place illegally despite THREE PRIVATE PARKING LOTS AND A MAJOR BUS, SUBWAY, AND COMMUTER RAIL HUB ACROSS THE STREET.

BPD: our entitlement complex is more important than your house burning down because we blocked the fire hydrant with our personal car. Which has illegal tint. And is missing the front plate, which we replaced with one of those thin-blue-line plates.

Nothing like advertising how you're "the only thing standing between order and lawlessness" by breaking the law with your advertisement.

They write tickets when there are complaints.

And nothing you said has anything to do with what I posted. When City Hall wants something done, they get it done.

You sound like you have other issues so I'll let you vent. Just remember that no one probably cares about it.

Goodbye businesses!

Telling customers how they ought to patronize a business more likely results in customers going elsewhere. Business owners know best how their customers reach them and are the best ones to determine policy.

Parking spaces converted into loading zones is a very inefficient waste of space as it will be much less often occupied. Its even worse than bus only, HOV, or bicycle only spaces with their lower utilization.

Reducing parking space by turning them into loading zones will hurt businesses the most, and then neighborhood residents will have fewer local amenities to walk and bicycle to. The only businesses that can survive are ones that patrons within walking distance spend sufficient money, along with some willing to bike or take the T. Mainly, food, coffee, hair and nail salons.

I'll tell you right now Pete

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I'll tell you right now Pete Nice is an ex cop ;) Be nice to Pete, he's one of our voices of reason on Uhuh.

Please fix typo

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"...people who don't car they've parked outside the lines of a parking space."

I don't think you meant to use "car" as a verb here... Did you mean "care"?


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A friend of mine was given a warning when he was biking through Central Sq when he stopped at a red light, looked that no one was coming, and pulled through the intersection to get a jump on traffic for his coming left hand turn. The officer who ticketed him said it was for safety reasons...

... meantime he had to pull into traffic half a block back (and in plain view of the officer) because two big box trucks were blocking the bike lane *and* a bus stop.

I agree that it's often just a matter of who complains the loudest. Until the PDs direct their folks to ticket those parking in the bike lanes (my person bias is against lazy cab drivers) this behavior will never change.

The problem was that the

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The problem was that the Cambridge bike enforcement officers were told to go to Central and spend all day ticketing bikes.

If all you have is a hammer...

Boston has a taxicab

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Boston has a taxicab complaint form at http://bit.ly/10XXyp - and they actually call to follow up.
Green & Yellow cab in Somerville and SPD have been very receptive to complaints re: cab in bike lane.
Ambassador in Cambridge doesn't seem to give a shit, but they have a twitter @AmbassadorCab, I propose #parkedlikeadick

Proofread you vague policy order

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"Therefore Be It
ORDERED: That the appropriate committee of the Boston City Council conduct a hearing consider ways to improve traffic flow in Boston including signage and enforcement."

Easy fix

Restore road widths so all vehicles can more easily go around double parked ones. Yes, cyclists are safer too with more space and not get squeezed. The economy benefits too with less wasted productivity and less lost leisure time for stress relief and teaching their kids. What is the cost per purported life saved for all the extra stress on many more people and lost productivity?

Unless you plan on moving

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Unless you plan on moving buildings, the width of the street is fixed. The only question is what percentage of the street do you want to allocate to pedestrians, public transit, cars, and bikes. Expand one, and you take away from another.

We already allocate a very large percentage of our streets to cars (which incidentally is the mode of transportation that is most costly to taxpayers).

I could be reading your comment wrong, but you seem to be proposing narrowing the sidewalk to accommodate illegal double-parking, essentially taking space away from pedestrians (the least costly mode, in terms of tax dollars) to accommodate drivers who are breaking the law.

Meanwhile, cyclists have to contend with lanes that direct them into the paths of opening car doors, while pedestrians are struggling to get around each other on poorly maintained sidewalks.

"narrowing the sidewalk to

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"narrowing the sidewalk to accommodate illegal double-parking"

Some roads around here have been narrowed to provide more sidewalk width. Often that new space is not usable by walkers, since it's blocked by benches and trees.

Take a look at old pictures of Central Square -- 4 lanes all the way, plus parking on both sides.

And the point would be to provide legal alternatives to double parking.

"pedestrians (the least costly mode, in terms of tax dollars)"

I do plenty of walking, and I think it's important to accommodate pedestrians. But you're creating a false trade-off there. Most car trips around here are longer than walking distance, or involve situations where walking would be impractical, like carrying a lot of stuff.

"pedestrians are struggling to get around each other"


I can only think of a handful of places around here where pedestrian crowding is a problem. And it usually isn't due to roadway widening. In front of the Middle East when smokers are in a clump (the problem there is the sidewalk cafe), on JFK Street when there's an event at the Kennedy School or Harvard stadium, and the duck boat boarding area on Huntington.

Car service more popular to match added expense

Car and bus transit is more costly, but also more popular than walking.

Eoin is correct about sidewalk widening. Most of the time pedestrians are not being served. Instead, the space has reduced mobility with added benches, trees, planters, commercial eating spaces, newspaper boxes, and bicycle parking. Now that people can't smoke inside places, they too inhibit pedestrian mobility.

Funny how when taxpayers

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Funny how when taxpayers subsidize something, it becomes popular.

If drivers actually had to pay the full cost, and not just a token fee, for their chosen mode of transportation – including road maintenance, parking, tax breaks for petroleum companies, and traffic enforcement - to name a few externalities, driving would be a lot less popular than it is now.

Fixed that for you...

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Some bicyclists AND motorists drive the lanes with road rage.

I really don't mind it

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As somebody who's commuted every day by bike for three years in Boston and Cambridge, but also someone who occasionally drives a car, I really can't say I mind when somebody parks blocking the bike lane. Sure it's annoying and I wish it didn't happen, but 99% of the time it's somebody loading/unloading or dropping a person off. People don't just leave their cars there - if they do, they certainly deserve ticketing, towing, or whatever. But understand that if a person is dropping off a passenger or even quickly picking something up from inside a building (the kind of thing where you leave your flashers on and engine running), it's unrealistic and silly to force them to drive possibly blocks out of the way to find an unoccupied parking spot or loading zone.

Something like 30% of traffic in the city is already made up of people searching for parking (http://www.uctc.net/access/38/access38_free_parking_markets.shtml). This will obviously be made worse by forcing anyone who has to stop their car for one second to cruise around looking for an open spot, and that hurts everyone, cars and bikes, by making traffic slower, more chaotic, and less predictable.

Furthermore, cars have had to contend with and go around double parkers forever. Is it really realistic as a biker to expect that you shouldn't have to?

If someone illegally parked

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If someone illegally parked their car on the sidewalk would you feel the same as a pedestrian?

Visit Europe

On narrow streets, its quite common for cars to be parked on sidewalks.

Visit Europe

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On narrow streets, it's quite common for cars to be forbidden completely.