Brookline's dumb parking signs

Clinton Blackburn doesn't follow the Red Sox and he's not much of a fan of the signs that Brookline's put up on certain streets about how people have to pay more for parking on game nights, such as the one on which he got a ticket while just trying to get some Chengdu dry hot chicken at Sichuan Gourmet:

“Red Sox parking available” doesn’t mean much to someone uninterested in the Red Sox game. I won’t even go into the fact that the sign assumes parkers have smart phones and data plans, or the fact that the schedule is a 4MB PDF! The sign simply needs to be more explicit about the fact that payment is required on the night of Red Sox home games. “Payment required night of Red Sox home games” relays significantly more information than “Red Sox parking available”.

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Change the signs to NO

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Change the signs to NO BALLGAME PARKING and fine those that park for more than 2 hours at meter/space $500+ tow them.

Oh and please do this in Fenway/Kenmore/Mass Ave and keep the meters running until 10pm please.

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$500 parking fine

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NO.

Seriously, aside from things that are a serious impact to safety, no parking fee should be that prohibitively high. People make mistakes. Make it high enough to sting, that's all that matters. $50 should be fine.

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$50 is CHEAPER than garage

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$50 is CHEAPER than garage/lot parking at Fenway. The whole point is to discourage people from breaking the law and taking away short term spaces needed by patrons of local small businesses.

Cheaper

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It's only cheaper than the lots RIGHT next to Fenway. There are plenty of more convenient places to park for way less than $50, like the Pru for $16.

Well it's pretty hard to tell

Well it's pretty hard to tell considering what a lousy photo he took, but it looks pretty clear to me that there are different rules (spelled out clearly) when the Red Sox are playing. Even if you don't download the FOUR MEGABYTE PDF, it should be pretty obvious if you're at Sichuan Garden whether there is a game that night or not.

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Why did this guy think parking was free?

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Even if you park there during a game, I would assume that you have to feed the meter?

The signs seem pretty clear to me. And I believe game day sign says "Pay the Multi Space Meter".

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You are mostly correct. I saw

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You are mostly correct. I saw the bottom sign; but, since I was not headed to the game, didn't give it much thought. I was pretty tired and hungry.

Write a letter

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Write a very nice letter to the Parking Department, including the photo, and protest it. They might dismiss it. (Boston dismisses a lot)

Really? Boston dismisses a

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Really? Boston dismisses a lot of parking tickets? Hah! What neighborhood are you getting your tickets in?

Read, then read more

Even if the sign is problematic, it's best practice to just walk over to the meter and read what it has to say. Anytime I park on a street for the first time I'm always walking 2-3 car lengths in each direction to make sure I haven't missed a rogue tow zone or something like this. If you're parking obsessed enough to be blogging about it, then you should be doing the same!

Side note: I wonder how the meters are programmed and whether they revert to normal rates when the game is rained out.

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Correct

Correct. I opted to use the word "meter" instead of the phrase "'multi-space parking' machines," which might also be fairly called "multi-space meters." So, uh, there you go.

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Doesn't matter

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He doesn't even need to download the schedule online either.

Go over to the multispace meter. The first thing it asks for is your space number. If you put in your space number after 8 PM on a night game day, then it will tell you it's $2 to park until 10 PM. The rate is $1/hr for the first 2 hours, $10/hr for any additional hours. To get to the ballpark, watch a 3-hr game, and get back to your car, it'll cost you about $22. For him to eat dinner, it would have cost him $2 and all he had to do was ask the meter how much his space cost.

I parked there on a holiday and still went to the meter because it was also a game day. The meter told me parking was free and Happy Independence Day. Even if I park at any meter after when I think they're going to be off, I'll still check all of the stickers on the meter itself. He should have done the same with the meter box at the end of the row of spaces.

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That's good to know. I've

That's good to know. I've done the same thing here in Raleigh where I've tried to pay for a parking space on Saturday and have been "told" by the machine that it's not necessary (yes, we have free municipal parking on Saturday; Raleigh is truly heaven on earth!).

That said, I do agree with his point that the legend "Red Sox Parking Allowed" (not "Available" as he wrote) is confusing and less-than-ideal. Seems like it would be better to have one sign with "Game Day:" and "Non-Game Day:" information right next to each other.

Agreed on signage

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I agree that these signs were done too hastily and they could be more clear in intent. I think the problem is that you need the "normal" 8a-8p 2 hour limit sign for *most* of the time (only 81 Sox home games per year not including playoffs).

However, on those 81 days, you need a sign that explains that you can park for the game, but that you're going to have to pay extra and beyond 8 PM.

Also, this sign is in combination with one on the outside curb on both sides of Beacon St that declare those spaces to be for Brookline Residents Only when Red Sox are home. This was to balance the need of the community with the desire to still get revenue from Red Sox fans.

So, "Red Sox Parking Allowed" is counter-point to "Brookline Residents Only" where the meters don't allow for the $10/hr extra rate and after 8 PM you have to be a resident on game days.

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I've seen multi-space meters

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I've seen multi-space meters in other cities that accept money 24/7, even though you don't actually have to pay past 6 pm.

I shouldn't have to memorize the baseball schedule, or maintain a phone with a data plan, or reverse-engineer the payment hours by playing with a machine. If Brookline wants to impose a fee or time limit for on-street parking, it's their duty to post signs that explicitly say when it's in effect. I.e. list the actual dates when you have to pay until 10 pm, and what the time limits are.

While we're complaining about Brookline parking signs, I've been entirely unable to figure out the rules for the municipal lots that allow overnight parking by long-term permit and by one-time fee. The signs are contradictory as to what's allowed in which spaces, what times it's safe to park with an overnight permit, and what times short-term metered parking is allowed.

What ever do you do anywhere else?

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I mean, not every meter is marked with a bunch of signs telling you what to do. Some have *gasp* words for you to read on the meter itself. In the case of multi-space meter boxes, the meter for you to read the words on is *gasp* a few feet away.

If you park at a meter, check the meter itself AND the signs. If I park in Back Bay and don't read the signs, I could be at a meter that says it turns off at 8 PM and still get a ticket because some streets go to Resident Parking Only after the meter turns off at night. The opposite is true. You might read a sign that doesn't specify what happens after a certain hour, but the meter may be more informative. In this case, the meter just isn't right in front of your bumper...so go read the meter.

Programmed by date

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They have no knowledge of delays/rainouts/etc. They only know if the game is supposed to be on that day just like they are aware of holidays and don't let you pay if it's a holiday.

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Even at the hint of a Sox game

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I would throw money in the meter. Just in case. And it sounds like it was not beyond a shadow of a doubt in his mind that the Sox were out of town. Also, if you don't feel like downloading the 4 meg file, you could just google it on your phone and the first hit will be where and who they are playing (and the score if it's already started). OR you could just pop into the restaurant and ask the host, because I'm sure someone who works in the area would know when the Sox are in town (I used to work in the area, and we all had that schedule memorized). Paying more for parking is just one of downsides of visiting the Fenway area during baseball season. You have to plan your trips accordingly.

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Classic Boston Signage

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That sign stinks. Just like many Boston-area signs which are only intelligible to people that already know what they say. Why didn't they write...

"Payment required until 10pm on Red Sox game days Monday - Saturday. Pay at multimeter."

Also, is there an exception to the 2hr limit on game days?

Also, Brookline has the 2013 Red Sox schedule on their site.

Apparently you can feed the

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Apparently you can feed the meter for up to 4 hours on game days, but the price is $10 per hour after the first 2 hours.

Only 4 hours? I guess they

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Only 4 hours? I guess they're not used to the post-moneyball Red Sox: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/i-dont-care-if-i-ever-get-back-and-i...

Anyway, if you can legally park for 4 hours, that's yet another strike against this signage and the city's website. I get that the meter tells all, but a) the website should have that info and b) the signage could be greatly simplified by just referring people to the meter for more info.

Honestly, what they should probably do in these areas is just have the same rules all the time: meters always go till 10pm, 4hr parking always allowed, 3rd and 4th hours always charged at $10/hr instead of the "normal" rate. There's little downside to doing this. Maybe you overcharge for parking a little after 8pm, but that's not going to make or break anything. Maybe you don't want to pay for enforcement after 8pm when the Sox aren't play--fine, don't send the meter maids out.

Heck, what's a ticket for parking more than 4 hrs? $25? Let people park indefinitely, but just charge $25/hr for any time after 4hrs. IMHO, cities are too hung up on nebulous concepts of parking fairness when they could just let pricing take care of the problem.

From that location..............

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If you are at Beacon and St Mary you have no problem telling if the Red Sox are home as you can see Fenway and the glow of lights.

What does Brookline do when there is a non Red Sox event at Fenway?

The sign could definitely be

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The sign could definitely be more clear.

We know what happens between 8 and 8pm. 2 hour pay to park.

We DONT know what happens after 8pm. Is parking free? Is it unlimited? Is it banned?

Theres nothing there that says you can park overnight for example.

What they really mean is for

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What they really mean is for Brookline residents and visitors to go park in unrestricted spaces in Allston/Brighton. Since Boston is dumb enough to not mark many streets there as resident parking only or meter them.

I know that. But it should be

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I know that. But it should be on the sign. Thats the whole point of the sign isnt it? Explaining the parking rules for that location?

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City wide rules

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It's citywide. They post about the exceptions (like the city lots that allow overnight parking in them). In the city of Boston, it's illegal to park in front of a hydrant. They don't mark every hydrant with a sign telling you not to park there.

Not parking in front of a

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Not parking in front of a hydrant is nationwide. Most places also mark that restricted area with red paint.

Not parking overnight is an odd quirk that people shouldnt have to go online to research before they drive into the city.

Border crossings

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At a number of the border crossings into Brookline, there's a sign that says "Entering Brookline No overnight parking".

But the distance from a

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But the distance from a hydrant varies by state. 15 feet in NYS, 10 feet here, as little as 5 feet in some places. And most states in the Northeast don't use painted curbs.