Citizen complaint of the day: The old suburban contractor parking trick in the South End

A fed-up citizen complains about contractors who block off larger swaths of valuable curb than they need for dumpsters:

We have a serious problem in this neighborhood where contractors are abusing occupancy permits and taking all available street parking. I get it when a dumpster is there for a week if demo work, but they are extending restricted space way beyond necessary and keeping restricted spaces for months as a way to keep their easy parking. Right now the dumpster spot at 3 Lawrence has two pick-ups in the 40' they've reserved for themselves. The parking lot at Columbus and Berkley has always had special $12 all day parking for contractors--the guys who worked here for years know that, these suburban dudes who don't even bring a little business to Billy's are scamming you and your taxpayers.

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I'll never understand why the

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I'll never understand why the city hasn't set up lots/garage specifically for vehicles with commercial and livery plates with a flat rate and then banned all on street parking for those vehicles where such facilities are provided. Businesses would be guaranteed spots without tickets and at a known rate, residents would be happy, and visitors wouldn't have to compete with commercial vehicles.

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but that would require the

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but that would require the government to take the land for those lots away from the people who them. Some call it eminent domain but it really is the government stealing.
We've been enculturated by the public schools and the mainstream media to always posit a solution that starts with "why doesn't the government" of "the government should"...
The federal, state and city governments have specific responsibilities which they have difficulty meeting under the best of circumstances.
Asking them to be more involved in the parking in the South End is just asking for nanny.

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Suburban Dudes! Duuuuuuuude.

I agree with all points...but...

Interesting how the complainant slurred "suburban dudes", and not the local fancy-folk engaged in a non-stop renovation fest. This polemicist sure has a selective type of outrage.

Also, left unsaid: how much the city subsidizes the storage of the resident's private vehicles on public streets. It doesn't upset me too much to see those ridiculously inexpensive residential parking spots made a bit less available, for whatever reason.

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Interesting how the

Interesting how the complainant slurred "suburban dudes", and not the local fancy-folk engaged in a non-stop renovation fest. This polemicist sure has a selective type of outrage.

Yeah, if people just never renovated their homes and were content to live in shitholes, this wouldn't happen, amirite?

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How do you know that the

How do you know that the homeowners who are hiring the contractors in question are building "Versailles" and not a usable kitchen?

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Not inexpensive when you

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Not inexpensive when you factor in the registration fees, excise tax, sales tax, insurance, gas tax, tolls...get the picture? Motorists have already paid plenty for that spot.

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Bullcrap

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What "drivers pay" is only 28% of what they get in MA. The rest is paid by people who don't have cars.

Look it up!

Pay 4x as much and we will talk about what rights you have.

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Wrong Again!

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I pay all those same fees to own a car, but most of the time it sits parked in my own driveway (that I also pay property taxes on). However, by choosing to commute by bicycle and/or the Ⓣ as much as possible, I don't impose the same demands on government services (or the planet) as people who choose to drive everywhere.

Please, enough with this false notion about cyclists and Ⓣ riders not paying their fair share. Cars are very detrimental to an urban landscape, and private vehicle drivers are coddled way too much!

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More importantly

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T riders actually pay a much larger percentage of their transport - despite the far lower cost of that transport.

If car owners paid the same percentage that T riders do, their fees and taxes would jump by 100%.

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I don't want to argue your

I don't want to argue your point, but do you happen to have a source on that? I'd love to pull it out when a tax-hatin' relative started wailing on the cost of registering a car in Mass...

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I'll disect those expenses

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Registration fees - These are a whopping $50 every two years. This is necessary so your vehicle can be be tracked and tied to an owner in case of theft, accidents, toll/parking violations, etc. This fee does not pay for parking.

Sales tax- Sales tax is applied to all consumer goods, not just vehicles, and revenue is for the state general fund. If the sales tax on your car justifies a parking spot, then my laptop also should get its own parking spot. If you want to lower this tax, get a cheaper vehicle.

Insurance - None of this money goes to the government. This is simply to cover you own liability and protect yourself from losses.

Gas tax - This money is used to fund state and federal highway construction, not local parking spaces. It is not indexed for inflation and so no longer even covers those expenses - general fund money is now used to make up the gap.

Tolls - Again, used to fund highways and bridges.

Excise tax- This is the only tax that could arguably pay for residential parking spaces. It starts out at a few hundred dollars for a brand new car, but the assessments rapidly decline - I paid a whopping $56 last year for a four-year-old car. This money pays for the local budget including schools, street repairs, sweeping, plowing, etc. I'd say $56 was worth the plowing alone. This tax can be largely avoided by buying a car that is a few years old.

There are a lot of ownership costs for cars because, well, there are lots of external costs as well. It doesn't change the fact that the abundant free parking on city streets, at stores, and elsewhere is highly subsidized.

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more suburban armchair judgement (yawn)

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Hill-of-Winta ...local fancy folk? You do know that the South End isn't all fancy folk right? Oh, right. You've never been to the South End! Too scary for ya. All those subsidized housing projects and people from different socio-economic backgrounds sharing the same neighborhood just blows your mind. Thanks for playing though!

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Straw man alert!

I know you're probably trolling...but whatever...

I was specifically referring to the people who are renovating their homes, an activity which necessitates the pulling of permits, and which sometimes necessitates putting dumpsters on the street for abnormally long periods of time. It also usually means the permit puller has disposable income, a thing that correlates highly with "fanciness".

As for my knowledge of the area, ever thought about how I arrived at the sardonic "local fancy folk"? Perhaps it is because I am quite familiar with the area and it's transition from arson alley during the Kevin White era to double-wide stroller-ville. The nouveau residents are ascendent; ain't no denying that.

It's the best use for that space

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Parking on city streets is a public resource. Allowing parking for a contractor who needs frequent access to his vehicle is simply a better use of that resource than the storage of a resident's personal car. I live in Somerville and often work in Boston, and it takes me at least two trips carrying as much as I can to bring all my equipment to a work site. If I had to park in a lot, I would waste a lot more time walking and would have to leave valuable equipment unattended at the site while I made extra trips. I often need to go back to my van throughout the day to get extra tools as well.

For the record, my own city doesn't allow resident permits for commercial vehicles, even though my van does double duty as our family's only vehicle. I have to pay $100 a month to park off street - so I can't really sympathize with someone from the South End expecting free, unlimited parking in a very dense and expensive neighborhood.

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Not quite right

so I can't really sympathize with someone from the South End expecting free, unlimited parking in a very dense and expensive neighborhood.

Nobody gets free, unlimited parking. What you get as a resident is a sticker that allows you to compete, first come, first served, for a very limited number of spaces. The ratio of stickers issued to available spaces is somewhere around 5 to 1

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5 to 1? Then where are the 4

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5 to 1? Then where are the 4 out of 5 cars with stickers in the South End parking every night that don't have a space? Does that mean 4 out of 5 cars in the south end with stickers park in private lots every night?

Some people have driveways

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Having an off street spot doesn't keep you from having a sticker for street parking - be it elsewhere in your area or when guests need space.

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Then whats the problem, if

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Then whats the problem, if the 4 vehicle with stickers that don't have spaces don't need them (they have driveways) there isn't an issue. You think the government should give out free spaces to every person, including those who own a driveway?

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and they're bad around bikers/walkers too!

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a couple weeks ago I watched a construction vehicle ride the wrong way down a street in a contra-flow bike lane in brookline, and then proceed to park there. often I see construction vehicles not bothering stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks in central square - they'll just blast their horns at you even if you have a walk signal or were in the crosswalk long before they even reached that point (I watched a dump truck speed down mt. auburn street recently too - I was on the sidewalk and it was still terrifying). And it's as if they've never encountered a person on a bike before. yes - some are nice, but a scary run-in with someone driving a cement mixer definitely stands out when you're on a bike.

maybe if traffic enforcement around here wasn't so lax?

Also - can anything be done about the diesel smoke?

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Diesel is the Worst Pollution

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Far less regs are on the trucks' exhausts than cars' in this country. Trucking lobbyists have seen to it. It would "cost too much" to retro fit all the trucks. Jeez, the particles are what makes all the dirt in your house when the windows are open! It catches in my throat and makes me cough! It coats my skin after a short trip and comes off on a tissue every night with one wipe! FILTER OR BAN DIESEL TRUCKS IN THE CITY.

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Tough it out

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A contractor has been building a house on my street for the last few months. My street is two cars wide with 1 side allowing parking even though it's a 2-direction road.

The contractor has been parking his work truck half-on/half-off the sidewalk on the opposite side from the allowed parking. He's been good enough about it to get even with a large driveway entrance on the other side of the road, so there's nobody parked parallel to him on the parking side. But what it means is every morning and usually afternoon too, I have to swivel around his truck half in the travel lane so I can get to my house and get out to work.

Tough it out. At least they're not partially blocking you from accessing your house.

And which neighborhood is

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And which neighborhood is this in which you own a house? Furthermore, you're complaining that you have to 'swivel around his truck' ... sorry, I'm not understanding how this is a hardship for you.

Flip side to this was few

Flip side to this was few years back when living in the Back Bay, we paid for one residential parking street spot out front for a contractor to use and had it clearly marked off. Yet on a somewhat frequent basis, various cars with Back Bay resident stickers would be parked in it at 8 am when he came to start work, resulting in a call to have said car towed, frustration to the contractor and to us, and delays in the job and so on.

That having been said, this person does have a point that these contractors sometimes take up way too much room on the spots. It's deeply frustrating when the signs are there yet no one parks in them for days or just uses a small part of it.