South End group renews push for ban on post-storm space savers

Neighborhood organizers in the South End are renewing their push for an exemption to the current citywide space-saver rule now that there's a new administration in City Hall.

South End Forum member Stephen Fox says the group, which represents smaller neighborhood groups, is hoping to convince Walshites at a Feb. 11 meeting to let the neighborhood ban space savers after storms - and maybe even let other neighborhoods request their own bans on the cones, chairs, statuary and potted plants that fill local streets and lead to the occasional violent outburst and vandalism.

The forum first proposed a neighborhood exemption last year to the rule that gives people 48 hours after a snow emergency to save a space in the street, but the Menino administration did nothing with the request.

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      *smh*

      As much as I agree the space saver thing needs to go away, this has little ground to stand on. I just don't see it happening by neighborhood only. It should be a city wide thing. Doing it by neighborhood will just cause more problems than the space savers themselves.

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      Everything in Boston is Neighborhood Specific

      We do resident parking by neighborhood, trash collection differs by neighborhood (weekly schedule, number of days, containerized vs. bagged), police deployment and focus is specific to neighborhoods; every city (service delivery) department always has and always will treat neighborhoods as unique and will tailor to it. What works in Charlestown may not work on Beacon Hill, but may work in Dorchester, and so doing it by neighborhood makes enormous sense if neighborhood identity is respected. If the Southie neighborhood wants to maintain the practice, so be it. But if neighborhood associations in the South End are unanimous in not wanting it, that too should be respected. I don't see any downside in giving it a try. What have we got to lose?

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      I disgaree

      Everything else you list here, especially trash have to do with not enough man power to do all neighborhoods in one day and are mostly CITY SERVICE related.

      Last time I checked we didn't have a 'space saver' department in the city of Boston.

      Space Savers are a CITY WIDE issue that should be address a CITY WIDE issue. No matter if you live in Dot, SoEnd, or South Boston, Space Savers is an issue all around, not just one specific neighborhood's issue. All this is going to do cause more problems because its not going to stop people from using it because other neighborhoods can (as much as you may think it will), and again the whole "if they can, why can't I" attitude that goes on, and probably will start a lot more fights over parking spaces (meaning people moving space savers thinking they can because your neighborhood got the OK to do so).. This just won't end well. I guarantee it.

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      Different strokes for different folks

      I think this is a perfect example of something where different rules might apply to different neighborhoods. Divide the number of cars with valid resident stickers (or, in neighborhoods without sticker programs, the number of cars registered to addresses in that neighborhood) by the number of on-street spaces. if the number is over, say, 2, then no space savers. if less than 2, then maybe space savers aren't going to inconvenience anyone and they could be allowed.

      Got your caution, think you're underestimating neighborhoods

      No question that space savers are a citywide issue--like trash, crime, resident parking programs, street lighting, blah blah ad nauseum. So you're absolutely right--every neighborhood deals with a pretty common set of issues. The difference lies in the actual solution or management of those issues where there is frequently a boatload of variety. Here's a good example: if you live in Roslindale or Hyde Park or Dorchester, you're pretty much free to maintain your property in a way that works for you (within zoning code limits of course). No one is especially interested in your installing new windows, for example. But if you live in any one of Boston's historic districts (what some think are the generally fussy "au pair" neighborhoods), you can't even paint your front steps without specific approval by a historic district commission. And let's not even talk about windows. So why is this relevant? Because those that live in historic districts are familiar with and ready for many more restrictions on what you can and can't do in an historic neighborhood. Doesn't make it better or worse than any other Boston neighborhood, just distinctive. The jaw-droping contrast with what homeowners in JP or Southie (both of which I've been) can do to or with their homes without asking for permission versus what homeowners in historic commission controlled neighborhoods is pretty dramatic. That's why I think your concern about "if they can why can't I" doesn't really concern me. Southenders are used to it. Before someone jumps down my throat, don't get me wrong, no one is having a temper tantrum about being restricted; folks in these neighborhoods are more than willing to put up with all these restrictions because there are both financial and historic preservation benefits. And so that's part of the reason why I think your pessimistic predictions fail to take into account how different neighborhoods would approach a space saver ban or space saver acceptance--based on what is familiar to them.

      25 years ago, there wasn't a single space saver in the South End every old timer tells me. They really just started to appear in the past 5 years and in the South End--given our unique parking environment--they don't work well for us while they might work well somewhere else (or not). But what Southenders in general sense--confirmed by our neighborhood associations--is that we prefer a neighborhood environment where space savers are not used. A lot of people seem to think that's a decision that every neighborhood ought to be able to make independently.

      So Cybah, if we get the exemption we're looking for and it turns out to be a total failure, I owe you a beer. If not, it's on you.

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      Slightly OT

      The jaw-droping contrast with what homeowners in JP or Southie (both of which I've been) can do to or with their homes without asking for permission versus what homeowners in historic commission controlled neighborhoods is pretty dramatic.

      To be a bit nit-picky, the zoning in all parts of the City is more specific than neighborhood by neighborhood. For instance, the street I live on in JP does not require parking stickers, but the portion of street I am on is within a restrictive zoning district.

      OK Stephen Fox

      You got it. Since you've been writing DECENT replies (and not being a troll about it), I'm willing to take on your bet.

      You get your exemption, pick a place in the SoEnd for a beer, and I'll meet you and buy you one.

      You get denied, I pick and you buy me one.

      I'll put an end date of June 1st for this (because we all know City Hall can drag its heels with this stuff and do nothing). If nothing is done and the city drops the ball, we'll still meet and just buy our own beers. How about that?

      anyone else want to join us?

      It seems to me that

      other Boston neighborhoods are learning from Southie how to act stupid, when it comes to parking on public streets that everybody's taxes pay for the maintenance and upkeep of. The best thing would be for the City to move right in and put a stop to this practice of space-saving on public streets altogether.

      Space savers

      This being the South End, why can't people just send their au pairs to wait in a space until they return? That makes perfect sense. If my maid or au pair has shoveled out my space with an organic, fair-trade artisanal snow remover, why should someone else benefit from my efforts?

      But seriously, I wish Mr. Fox all the best and hope he succeeds. You can't claim public property for yourself; people who have shoveled out have no ownership rights to that space, and should consider it a civic duty that they improved their neighborhood by clearing out one more space.

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      How about reducing the amount of resident parking?

      Areas that used to be metered are now "Resident Only" after 6PM, or 8PM. I've noticed it the last four or five years on streets like Columbus Avenue and Washington Street. These are areas that have lots of businesses that operate until 10PM or later. Why not make it resident after midnight, to accommodate South Enders returning late as well as more patrons of the many area restaurants or people visiting their local friends?

      I'd suggest removing all

      I'd suggest removing all nighttime resident restrictions from spots that are metered or time-limited during the day.

      People like me have a right to go to neighborhoods like these from time to time.

      And these spots are usually underpatronized by residents at night. Even in the places with the highest unmet parking demand, like Beacon Hill.

      Southie only

      We're so fed up with everyone wanting to be like Southie. Stop copying us, you just can't pull it off. Space savers should only be allowed in Southie.