Citizen complaint of the day: I shouldn't have to fear retribution from my lazy-ass neighbors

I Street parking saver in South Boston

A wary-eyed citizen reports from I Street in South Boston this afternoon:

This is absolutely ridiculous and unfair. This person left for work and left trash on the street to hold a spot. Across the street at 32 I Street another resident left for work and put a foot stool out in their spot (which we moved to park our car because up and down I St, E 2nd, e 3rd, and H St., people took it upon themselves to mark spots before heading out to work. This is not fair. There is no snow on the ground NOW, forget about at 7 or 8 this morning when they left for work. I'm all for saving a spot you shoveled out, but not a spot that you didn't shovel because there wasn't any snow when you left!! Please, Mayor's Office and BTD, take note. It's NOT fair! Now I have to worry about retaliation.

Neighborhoods: 

Topics: 

Free tagging: 

Comments

Now that Menino is out, we

Now that Menino is out, we have a chance with the new mayor to do something about this before someone gets shot. The best thing to do is remove any and all space savers you see as you are leaving your house. Thats what we have started to do.

up
37

doubtful

Considering the new mayor's stonghold of support coincides with the neighborhood most attached to doing this, it would seem very doubtful he'll make any quick moves to change anything, as much as changes need to be made. The general sense of "Southie exceptionalism" is the main reason that even as a Southie resident, I hardly ever vote for Southie politicians. I was kind of proud to be one of 20 people in my precinct who voted for Linda Dorcena-Forry against Nick Collins.

up
20

Stronghold of support?

Southie backed Walsh in this election, but you really think 4 years from now, it'll be close? That's a lot of time for "patronage." Remember, the last mayor of Boston to lose re-election was Curley. Walsh needs to worry about his political base if he's got eyes on the State House, but losing a few lunatics in Southie isn't much of a problem.

That is probably the worst

That is probably the worst idea ever- instead of talking to your neighbors about the problem you just remove the space saver. Now when the next person parks there they are subjected to the rage of the original parker.

up
21

Assumption

You (and the 'just talk to you neighbors' anon posters) seem to assume the neighbors are nice, rational people but why? So the guy who nail-gunned someone's tires over a parking spot issue would have been totally understanding if you told him he couldn't preemptively save a spot? Is that really your position?

up
47

Who even knows

which cars belong to which home or apartment? The complainant said that they patrolled four streets before deciding to move a space saver to park their car, which means that any car found on the street could belong to a home/apartment in a 4-5 block radius of the house.

I'm all for getting to know your neighbors, but c'mon.

up
15

Removing space savers

I've always been afraid that if I removed a space saver left by one of the numbskulls that the numbskull would just assume that the space saver had been removed by the person whose car is in the spot - thus giving the numbskull license (in his mind) to vandalize the car in the spot.

up
15

No mayor can take Boston to that level

DC is capital of the world's last superpower. London is the capitol of the still substantial British empire. SF is huge player in Pacific Rim and technology. NYC is, well, NYC. These are just political forces. There is also geography and history in play.

What in the world do you think a mayor could do to change any of this?

Let me know

when you are going to come down East Fifth Street to remove space savers tough guy. I'll meet you at the spot I shoveled out. And no, I'm not a longtime resident but moved here a couple of years ago.

Citizens Connect has a

Citizens Connect has a turnaround of between a week and 2 months, so doubtful anything will be done, but it does have Meninos name on it, so Mission Accomplished. They just closed one I made this summer.

up
12

Doesn't need Citizen Connect.

Doesn't need Citizen Connect. DPW just needs to troll the streets and grab anything left in a parking space.

At one point, I thought this was common practice. So common that I once heard a guy state that he used the space-saver pickup as an opportunity to put out trash that the city wouldn't normally take.

up
14

Come On

Come Folks, did we REALLY think people wouldn't put out space savers before the first flakes flew? Seriously.. I called it last night, and poof it happened.

Its almost a running gag now... report of POSSIBLE snow (whether we get some or not) = space savers go out days before first flakes fly

I will say I agree its ridiculous that people do this BEFORE a storm.. but it happens all the time, year after year.

up
15

Not too sure

Either I'm thick from the snow storm and shoveling.. but

wtf do you mean??? :)

Yeah 'escalation' happens, and yes I agree. OVER A SILLY PARKING SPOT.

not to sure what you mean by the rest.

I'm actually all for this now

I'm actually all for this now.

I mean, you don't own the parking spot after you shovel it, so what's the difference? It's selfish anyway and the outcome is still the same. So screw it, go all out.

If you wanted to justify it as you do with "it's ok after" then just imagine it's "I'll park here when I get home then I'll shovel it".

up
14

Menino is to blame for this

Yes there was always some space saving going on in some neighborhoods, but when he created that 48hour policy he put a stamp of legitmacy on the practice. So now people feel like you have to join in on this foolish practice or be the one left with no space. If it was up to me I'd put an end to it and have all trash removed from street and ticket offenders. Enough already.

up
39

They could start...

with issuing tickets for the people who use cones, chairs, trashcans, etc. that are marked with who they belong to. Enforce an existing code like not having your property secured, illegal dumping, obstructing a street, etc. That would at least send a message. And sure, do some stalking. You don't actually need a high percentage of enforcement of a law or code to get people to stop doing it. I would venture to say that tickets for stuff like trash being out too early happen MAYBE 5% of the time people do it (except for in downtown areas where code enforcement goes out regularly), but it's done enough that people know someone who got a ticket for it, so most people in my neighborhood won't do it.

up
16

Here's an idea

In order to better clear the streets and serve the residents, there should be no street parking in Southie during a snow emergency.

Take it to Fort Point and stow it in a private lot or garage, or get it towed.

up
26

Really? Your idea is to have

Really? Your idea is to have NO parking in Southie during a snow storm? That is absurd! Morons who put out spot savers before any snow falls are just that..morons! Move the spot saver and hope for the best!

If people were only more

If people were only more attentive when it comes to following the weather reports, they would realize how stupid this behavior is because (1.) we're getting the light, fluffy, blowing kind of snow that comes with colder temperatures. Since it's going to stay cold over the weekend, that's how it will stay - you can easily drive through the stuff and (2.) it's going to warm up dramatically Sunday night into Monday, with rain forecast - which will cut down the amount on the ground a great deal. If anything, the time to shovel out anything would be Monday evening before what's left freezes over overnight into Tuesday when the temperature drops again, turning the slush into frozen rock.

same in JP

I saw a few people pre-emptively saving spaces in JP today, too. I can see shoveling and saving it, but this was before there was more than a couple of inches out.

How About

Each resident sticker comes with the option to purchase a city-issued space saver for a few bucks, tied to an address and renewable every few years. You put it out when it's not permitted, you get ticketed and potentially lose the saver. And if you don't opt in, tough luck. Still not perfect, but a bit more fair and better than the current system.

up
13

How would that work?

So, there are about 5 resident stickers issued for each available street space. Take, for example, the building next to me, which has 18 feet of curb (one space) and 4 cars registered to people who live in the building. Who gets to put out the space saver?

up
10

Great idea

The program would need to pay for the cost of administering the space savers as well as the cost of picking up unauthorized space savers. While it would be ideal to fine people who use unauthorized space savers ("Sorry ma'am, but a toilet is not a space saver") I imagine most space savers can not be clearly traced back to the owners.

How many to issue for a street? Why bother counting? Just issue the space savers to anyone who wants one and they can then put them out wherever they can legally park. What prevents someone from stealing them? Caveat emptor.

But I don't think the problem is just about wanting to claim rights to the space a person cleared. The problem is the wrong headed belief that there is no distinction between private and public ownership. at portions of the street used for parking are considered extensions of private property; they merely lack the deed. I've heard a neighbor in JP refer to the parking spot across the street from his house as "my parking space." He views the spot as belonging to him. He knows its a public space; doubt if the has the arrogance to damage a vehicle parked in the spot. But that doesn't stop him from viewing the spot as somehow mystically belonging to him.

Yes, interact,speak, with your neighbor(s)

I realize this is a novel idea for many people who are from suburbia and move to the city as a student, young adult, yuppie, or empty nester retired executive type. And if that neighbor should happen to be a (clutch the pearls) 'blue collar' (trades man / woman, electrician, plumber, construction worker, or whatever) worker, don't be automatically terrified of them like so many of the people I described in the first sentence are. By far, most are perfectly sane, reasonable people. Don't be afraid automatically of people different from you. Police can't always be around to act as your personal body guard / babysitter. My suggestion is to grow a pair. If you as an adult can't handle one of these silly space saver 'problems', something is seriously wrong with our country. I realize we've produced generations of precious snowflakes raised in a bubble, but this is now just getting ridiculous.

up
11

"And if that neighbor should

"And if that neighbor should happen to be a (clutch the pearls) 'blue collar' (trades man / woman, electrician, plumber, construction worker, or whatever) worker, don't be automatically terrified of them like so many of the people I described in the first sentence are."

I am not afraid. Well, I am afraid the townie wouldn't understand the vocabulary I am using. Therefore the conversation wouldn't go anywhere!

- The Original SoBo Yuppie!

This is helpful, Mr. Anon, except

Let's say I grew up in a blue-collar family, and most of my relatives are still tradesmen or farmers. But I got an education, and have a white-collar job. I'm new to Southie. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that the space pre-saver is not one of the yuppie d-bag arrivistes who's ruining Southie's old-time flavor, but a 60-year-old who still lives in the three-family he grew up in on the block. What's your advice on approaching him, again? What do I say once I get past my tale of Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer ignorance of the strange folkways of the neighborhood?

up
11

It's a bad thing

someone 60 years old lives in the house they grew up in? Why, exactly? Maybe they inherited the place and actually live in it, and are lucky enough to be located in an economically and socially vibrant place like Boston. This is not out in the boonies. You can't realistically compare it to to small town America, which is mostly dead and dying. Apples and oranges. And you don't know what life such a person lived, where they have been, you assume a lot.

I'm sorry you have a chip on your shoulder and attitude regarding 'non-educated' (you mean non-college educated?) people. Many people live petfectly fulfilling lives minus a university degree, are intelligent, make a decent living,etc. And as for the $ part, many tradesmen and women make better $ than the average person with a BA, even masters. And they aren't all the Neanderthals you seem to look down your nose at.

Interact, speak how?

Let's pick three minor crimes in decreasing order of severity.

What do you say to the guy who is breaking into a car to steal the change from the ashtray? What can you tell him that he doesn't already know? That you don't like it? That you wish he wouldn't do it? That it's against the law? Do you think talking to him is going to influence his behavior?

Same question, guy who is pissing on the sidewalk.

Same question, guy who is trying to lay claim to public property by putting out a space saver.

I have never been of the belief that attempting to have a reasonable conversation with such a person is likely to go anywhere. Has your experience been otherwise?

up
17

"Excuse me, neighbor, but I

"Excuse me, neighbor, but I do believe that this parking space is public property. Would you please be so kind as to move this chair out of the way so somebody else can park there? Thanks so much, and Happy New Year!" is probably not how the conversation is going to proceed.

Simple math.

Let's say that there are 15 spaces on the block and 20 cars on the block. So there are 75% as many spaces available as there are cars driving around. Not perfect, but not horrible, either, since not everyone needs a space 24 hours per day; some people work different hours than others, etc.

Now one person of the 20 decides to try to save a space. Now you've got 14 spaces for 19 cars, which is a little worse. Seeing that parking is getting tighter, a 2nd person starts saving a space, and then a third, by which point you have 12 spaces for 17 cars. Instead of 75%, the number of spaces is now a little worse at 70%. And so on... by the time 5 people are saving spaces, you've got 10 spaces for 15 cars, or 67%. By the time 10 people are saving spaces, you've got 5 spaces for 10 cars, which makes the owners of those 10 cars pretty unhappy. And it gets even worse, since by the time 15 people have decided to save spaces, then you have zero spaces left for the 5 cars whose owners didn't save a space.

I have never understood whether the people who defend space saving do so because they simply can't understand arithmetic, or because they just don't give a shit about inconveniencing everyone else.

up
23

Space savers on my street make absolutely no sense

I'm in Roslindale on a street where there are exactly 3 two-families and 30 single families, and people put them out - and most houses have driveways. and we all know each other - who is going to take your spot? I even shoveled out 2 extra spots on the street because we had people coming over, and no one EVER bothered to park in them - even though the people across the street kept putting their space saver out a week after the storm. I'm shoveling out an extra two spots again tomorrow just because I want to show our neighbors just how stupid they're being.

up
11

sorry...I thought that was revoked/debunked

I thought I'd read....here on this forum (this is my only source for news really), that never was an official policy, just something Menino said a few years ago. And that it was recently (earlier this winter?) re-emphasized as being no-such thing and that space saving wasn't allowed.

But there it is right on the city's website.

So, your citation proves that it is perfectly okay to put out space savers before the storm! Can't use one for more than 48 hours AFTER the storm. Doesn't say anything about using one BEFORE the storm! Ergo, Citizen Connect complaint is hereby rendered frivolous. Prepare ahead everyone, and put your space savers out before the storm. Apparently it is allowed after all.

Thanks for pointing this out, boy was I wrong.

OK, I Was Too Snarky

And I apologize for that. You're a good U-Hub poster and I shouldn't have gotten all holier-than-thou when trying to give others the razz for the same thing.

The point, of course, was that use of a space saver is OK in some situations, as far as The City is concerned. It probably should be amended in some way to point out clearly that the intent is for AFTER storm usage, not for reservation of a spot prior to clearing (which I agree is reprehensible.)

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

I'll see your snark and raise you my wiseassness

Suldog, no apology necessary!

I really did think the 48 hour thing was unofficial.

There were other posts about regularly scheduled 'street sweeping' being continued into the winter, which would be 'street plowing' when snow hits, and I think that's a great idea. Would prevent people from parking for too long in the same place on city streets year-round.

And don't change a thing about your writing style or anything else!

Parking problems...

The problem with the system are the people who abuse it. Those who never actually shovel a spot yet save the spot they parked in simply because they parked there. If you're lazy and using your car as a shovel it shouldn't allow you to save a spot. Also, those who reserved spots on Thursday morning before any snow had accumulated. I saw someone leave a blue recycling can in a spot from early Thursday morning. It was still there when I was looking for a parking spot on Thursday evening. The spot remained reserved without ever returning to the spot all night. On Friday morning the entire garbage can was buried in snow. If people believe saving a spot is fair and justified then it they should be fair and move the spot savers after 2 days.
In addition, a general problem and not just during snow storms are those who park like complete a$$holes. Maybe they're intentionally taking up two spots so their friend can park behind them or maybe they're just completely disrespectful and careless. I'm not talking about those who appear to be taking up two spots because another car left in front or behind them; I'm referring to those who park about 10 feet from the crosswalk or from a handicap sign. These cars cause problems all year and reduce the number of parking spots for everyone.
It seems that all of the Southie residents who feel that they're the entitled Southie residents because they were born and raised there are the ones creating the most problems. They're also the ones who shoot down any ideas for development in the neighborhood. If parking is such a problem and priority why not vote to build a public resident parking garage? I found it absurd that parking wasn't allowed in the Castle Island parking lot yesterday. It seems like that would be an ideal place for people to park during snow emergencies. Maybe a garage would solve some of the problems.

Waaa... they might retaliate?

Waaaa. You people whine too much. There are streets in Dorchester where the space savers are out YEAR Round. This happens for 5-15 days a year here. If you are worried about retaliation then don't move the space saver. It is common sense, someone parks in a spot that I shoveled for an hour or 2, they will regret it. If someone puts a space saver out before the storm or during the storm, that spot is open. If you are too timid to move it, THEN DON'T.

Would Appreciate Opinions, Re: Space Savers

I'm writing up an opinion piece on space savers. I'm trying to give a balanced view, so would appreciate quotes from one or two who are utterly opposed to their usage. If you are willing to give actual name and address, and a contact phone number, please e-mail me at [email protected] (I'll use your name, but only give the town or neighborhood. Need the full address and phone for verification, in case my editor wants to fact-check it.)

Give me your argument in as succinct a fashion as possible - no more than three or four sentences, please. Don't be afraid to be obvious. What you think is easily understandable may be a new thought to someone else.

FYI: I'll be coming down on the side of pro-saver, for the most part, but I promise I won't say anything personally insulting to you. Your words will speak for you, if you're willing.

Thanks!

Jim Sullivan (Suldog)
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com