The Massholiest street in JP gets a visit from the hazmat unit

So this out of towner makes the mistake of parking on Oakview Terrace in JP last night and makes the further mistake of telling the local to be more careful the next time he parks after he bops into her car with his. And then she comes out later and finds a threatening note on her windshield, inside a bag with a biohazard sticker on it.

Jamaica Plain News reports what happened next: She calls police, who, of course, aren't getting anywhere near a bag marked as containing a possible biohazard, so of course they promptly call the Boston Fire Department's hazmat unit.

BW, who lives on the street, is not surprised at the note, although the biohazard wrapper was a bit of a novelty:

It's in front of my house. Saw note when I parked in front of it around 6.

We have a long history of jerk notes left on windshields up here on the terrace. Biggest biohazard is usually dog poop on my lawn.



Free tagging: 


SoBo space saving

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SoBo space saving professionals are taking notes RIGHT NOW.

Who does that?! That was a

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Who does that?! That was a very expensive message, thanks for coming out boys! Piss poor attempt at keeping the note dry.....pun intended.

The only yelling mentioned in

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The only yelling mentioned in the article was done by the local man who bumped the woman's car, not by the woman. (At least according to her side of the story as reported to police.)

I hope the person who left

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I hope the person who left that note, if identified, is questioned and, if appropriate, sent a bill for the cost of the response.

How is it a nuisance call? At

How is it a nuisance call? At the very least it may be vandalism, so you call the cops for a report, the cop gets there, sees it says biohazard and calls the fire department.

Biohazard bags are ubiquitous

in any kind of medical, dental, clinic, hospital, vet, lab etc. for anything from used bandaids to urine sample cups. How is putting a note in the only handy plastic bag someone might have had so it doesn't get wet, an act of vandalism? Parking her Jeep by braille sounds more destructive.

If everyone just stayed home,

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If everyone just stayed home, it would also solve our nation's transportation problems.

If everyone stopped eating, it would solve obesity and the high price of health care as well.

No, it's not.

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And even if it were, somehow I don't think legal 'restrictions' would include donking someone's car or (apparently) leaving threats that even the police think are a bit ominous.


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"Private way" in Massachusetts doesn't mean what you think it does. Private ways are simply roads which were requested by and paid for initially by private parties, instead of being created by public need. They are planned out and constructed by the town/city.

The public has full right to the way. Yes, even if it's private land, because ownership of the land, and right of way, are two different things.

If the town/city laws allow parking on ways, then parking's allowed on the private way, too.

You're not alone in misunderstanding the laws regarding public vs private ways; many police departments don't, either. Same for land owners who post "no entry" signs on private ways - although many of them may know the laws, but are taking advantage of ignorance.

Not that I'm aware of

The public has full right to the way. Yes, even if it's private land, because ownership of the land, and right of way, are two different things.

All the private ways that I know of are indeed private, and there is no right of way. Maybe there are some cases out there where the public has a right of way, but I'm guessing that's a very small number. Private means private. The driveway going to my condo has a street name and is a private way, but it is very private. We have to plow it, maintain it, etc. The town doesn't pick up our trash because it's a private road.

In some cases, a private road enjoys all the benefits of a public road, usually for no particular reason. We have some private roads in town that are plowed and maintained by the town, and have their trash picked up. When asked why the inconsistencies, the answer is "That's the way we've always done it". In other words, no legal reason. This is a source of tension between condo owners and the town.

Two years ago, the Weston Golf Club closed Meadowbrook Rd to bicyclists because it's a private road and they therefore had the authority to restrict access.

again, wrong

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"Way" means the public has a right to travel on it.

"Private Way" in Massachusetts simply means the road was built at private request and expense. Massachusetts is unique amongst most states.

Ownership of the land 'underneath' the way has NOTHING to do with the public's right to use the way.

And as I said, the police frequently don't understand the law either, and property owners definitely don't, or intentionally abuse the public's misunderstanding of the law.

Meadowbrook being closed to cyclists is exactly what caused me to spend hours and hours looking into this - but if you spend a couple of minutes with Google, you'll see that you're wrong, and that Weston Police had not right to close that road to a particular kind of traffic.

private roads and private ways are different

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As an addendum to my comment: private ways are ways laid out at the request of private parties.

Private roads, such as many in Weston, are actually privately maintained in the sense of many people's idea of "private."

There are a number of roads in Weston for which no town resources are used. They're not plowed by the town, not repaired by the town, etc.

The road in your condo complex is probably a private road.

The town or city you're in can 'adopt' the road, but it has to go through town governance like anything else.

way vs. road

So, you're saying that there is a legal distinction between a "private road" and a "private way"?
How does one even know that a road is a private way or a private road? I doubt the street sign is a good source.
Was the closing of Meadowbrook road to cyclists valid or not? I remember at the time, if I had the time, I really wanted to research the road and see if the public really had a right to use the road.

I apologize for the thread drift....

Somerville private ways

are maybe different from others? Anyone can walk or drive on them, but at least two of them I know of are posted as Parking for Residents Only -- and that means residents of the private way only, not people who have city-wide Somerville residential parking permits.

Both right

Everybody here is partially right. Massachusetts has (1) wholly public ways, (2) wholly private ways, and (3) statutory private ways as described in anon's post above. The public can be excluded from wholly private ways, e.g. a driveway or a gated community's access road. On statutory private ways, which have been accepted by the municipality for public travel but are maintained by the abutters, the public has a right of access that the abutters cannot restrict.

All three types exist in great abundance in our fair Commonwealth. Residents-only parking would definitely happen on a wholly private way, or it could happen on a statutory private way by custom and/or by agreement between the abutters and the municipality.

This makes a lot of sense

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There is a little stretch of road by my house that is marked as a Private Way which appears to be of the statutory variety - as it connects two public roads and the trash company comes down it and all the neighbors walk down it to get to the CR station - and it is home to some interesting holes and ruts as it is not paved.

Google thinks the road is fair game when plotting directions though. You would think Google would know better. :)

Google seems to provide an

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Google seems to provide an alert when directions include a private way.

It also seems to go out of its way to avoid them. I had to force it to take the shortest route to a house on a private way -- it kept trying to go the long way around.

Can you provide a single

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Can you provide a single example of one of these supposed statutory private ways, where the abutters aren't allowed to restrict parking?

If memory serves, some

If memory serves, some streets in the Channel Center area are going through the private-way-to-public-way conversion process or have just completed it. I don't know the current parking status down there, but roads that are going from private to public can be an example where city parking would be a part of the deal. In a situation like that, you'd see a developer lay out a private way according to city standards, allow city signs to be put up, and then proceed to navigate the rest of the approval processes. Maybe it shouldn't be done incrementally that way, but that's an issue to take up with the Public Improvement Commission (and, jeez, take a number).

(edit: I now see that I wrote my original comment backwards. I meant to say that public parking could be by agreement on a statutory private way. Private parking is indeed much more typical on such streets.)

Did Oak View Terrace Home Owners/Renters ever consider

Asking the City Parking Clerk's office to apply for JP Resident Only signs on the street? I used to rent on this street, before I owned a car and parking was always at a premium. Now I live on The Arborway, near the courthouse and we had to do the same thing in order to restrict parking here. Far too many folks from Mattapan and Dorchester were leaving their cars on our streets and hopping on the T at Forest Hills.

How do you know they were

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How do you know they were from dot / Mattapan and not Rosalindale or Hyde park? Did you ask?

Most cars in the city of

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Most cars in the city of Boston have a nice sticker on them telling you what neighborhood they came from. It makes answering this type of question quite easy.

Is this true?

> Most cars in the city of Boston have a nice sticker on them telling
> you what neighborhood they came from.

Only true of neighborhoods (and micro-neighborhoods) with lots more cars than parking spots. Certainly very few places in Roslindale (and I think West Roxbury) have resident (restricted) parking with matching stickers.

I agree Michael, I also

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I agree Michael, I also believe neighborhoods close to T stops, have them? Not sure exactly how residents sticker neighborhoods are determined.
Most of Dorchester is "sticker free"

West Rox

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I live in West Roxbury, my street is resident parking only and I have a West Roxbury resident parking sticker.

They exist for every neighborhood and are free for residents, but in a lot of places if parking is abundant you might choose not to bother. I used to live on Forest Hills St. in JP where the block was no-sticker and I had a driveway, so for all the years I lived there I never got a JP sticker though I could have easily done so.