Note wars erupt in Somerville

Parking space saver removed in Somerville

AWC reports finding both this note at a parking space in Somerville, a city where, unlike Boston, space savers are theoretically never allowed.

There was, of course a response to the note - shown below. Even now, we can imagine the note writers in their kitchens, furiously writing additional notes on the sides of old paper grocery bags.

Angry note demanding the space saver be put back



Free tagging: 


That does it

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I'm keying every car I see parked on the street tomorrow. Just in case.

especially if they are parked in travel lanes

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unless it's an emergency - don't park your car in a f-ing travel lane (and travel lanes include bike lanes, btw). I was on mass ave across from the christian science center yesterday and it was down to one lane because people were parked in one of the lanes - someone in a giant mercedes SUV parked in front of the bus stop - which someone had gone through the trouble of shoveling out. People were squeezing between that car and snow banks to get to the bus. I'm serious - the city really needs to crack down on people who feel entitled to park their damn car wherever they please - people need to get places - whether you're also in a car, on a bike, walking, taking the T... don't be an asshole.


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They'll get to it as soon as they start enforcing double parking the other 50 or so weeks of the year.

If the city needs help give

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If the city needs help give me some tickets and I'll gladly give one to everyone I see blocking the box.

Unless, of course...

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.. they're about to conduct the message exchange in the Comments section of this page.

I don't love space savers

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... but this is a truly epic amount of snow. If someone takes the spot that another person has shoveled out, it's not viable for that person to shovel out a 10' tall mound of snow to make room for another car. I think we're going to have space savers for a while. That said, don't key anyone, people.

(Random prediction: the day is not far off where enough people have electric cars that streetside parking is allocated spot by spot to accommodate chargers in the sidewalk.)

There are hundreds of

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There are hundreds of potential parking spots just waiting to be shoveled out by the people who sweep in and reap the benefit of other people's labor. That public space would be completely unusable if the driver of the first vehicle didn't shovel it out in the first place. Laziness, entitlement and inconsideration are not admirable traits.


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There are possibly hundreds of buried cars waiting to be shoveled out, but that is 0% the same thing as what you describe.

Shoveling the 2 ft section of road between 2 cars doesn't magically make a space appear. Nor is it conceivable to shovel out the mound of snow that was created by the collected efforts of 12 people shoveling out their own cars. Where would you even put it?

Logic and human decency dictate that a shared resource can't be claimed by a single person. Anyone who believes otherwise is either a fool or a sociopath.

Agreed. Its amazing how many

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Agreed. Its amazing how many people want a gold medal for shoveling out their own car so that they can actual, you know, *use it*. These same people have had a saved spot for about a month now, and you bet your a$% they will be "saving" that same spot for the next 2 months. Its absurd. A few hours of shoveling apparently entitles you to your own private spot for the duration of he winter? Get over yourselves.

A fool or a sociopath?

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Which of those was Mayor Menino? Even he said you have 48 hours after you've shoveled out a spot.

I will agree that just bulldozing your car out of the snow and then sticking a lawn chair into it's footprint does not give you claim to that spot, but many of us actually clear all of the snow from the street. I have the 9 foot tall snow banks in my front garden to show for it. From my clear sidewalk I can see snow banks that haven't been touched that could accommodate multiple cars.

If I come home and find someone in MY SPOT I will not vandalize their car, but I will search them out and offer to help them shovel out a spot for my car' since I have so graciously already done so for them.

Will you help me out?

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I want to shovel a space for a tiny house - guests visiting!

Oh, and another so I can make a nice raised bed garden.


Get over yourself and get a driveway if you have this "I fucking own iiiiiitttt wahhhhhhh" attitude.

Menino was a politician

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.. therefore equal measures fool and sociopath. He lived in Readville, and therefore most likely never once in his life had to put out a space saver. His acquiescence to the practice was a political move calculated to insulate my neighborhood, amongst others, to the need for proper parking control.

Paul, what about a week after

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Paul, what about a week after storm? Two weeks? Is it still YOUR spot then? Just curious about when the spots reverts from your private space to a public one. Is it a matter of personal conscience? The Menino/Walsh rule is 48 hours, not a week, or am I mistaken?

Exactly. I don't like space

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Exactly. I don't like space savers. I don't like war either, but if someone invades your country you can't just sit and talk about how you don't believe in war. If everyone with a car did a great job shoveling and no one saved a space, there would be no need for space savers, but alas, here we are.

You didn't shovel out the

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You didn't shovel out the whole damn space. You shoveled a 2-foot area around your car. Boohoo.

Not being snarky at all but

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Not being snarky at all but wondering if you are from here?

It's been an unwritten rule for as long as I can remember. I don't know anyone that is actually from here that has an issue w/ space savers during epics storms. The only ppl I know that have issue with this are ppl that are not born and bred here. I always thought everyone all over the country did the space saver thing.

Oh, lather, rinse, repeat

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The mistaken belief that space savers have been "the unwritten rule" throughout the Boston area since the birth of the automobile has been long since debunked. Sniffing "you're not from here, obviously" at people may stroke the ego but it has nothing to do with reality. And it's certainly not something that "everyone all over the country" does. It's a toxic practice of some neighborhoods of our little cabbage patch, let's not make it into some grand universal human truth.

Let me rinse & repeat and say

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Let me rinse & repeat and say again I wasn't being snarky. I am in my 40's and everyone we knew whether you were from JP, Rozzie, Southie, Easite, Dot, etc. did the space saver thing during storms like these (if you didn't have a driveway). Like I said I *thought* it was common practice everywhere. I haven't lived anywhere but here.

I don't drive, I take the T and we are lucky to have a double car driveway and we only have one car. We have offered the other space to our neighbors over the years bc we know parking can sometimes be an issue. If someone wants to park there it's cool with us. But we are also the type of ppl that shovel the full sidewalk and down to the pavement unlike so many other inconsiderate ppl. We also shovel the handicap ramps, fire hydrants and sewers when needed. So simmah yourself.

IMO I do think it's rude to watch someone shovel out a space for 4 hours and then swing in your car when they leave. Maybe instead of doing that they could also help shovel for hours and clear out several spaces for everyone to use rather than rely on someone else's labor and then get pissy when you're called out for it.. But ppl that do that are also ppl that probably don't even shovel their sidewalks or pretend they shovel by only making a 3 inch pathway.

There was no snark in your

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There was no snark in your original comment, and that's not why you were being argued against. It's because stating that something is an "unwritten rule" does not mean we suddenly nod our heads and go "Ooooh, I see. Huh. Well that's perfectly alright, then!" --- a LOT of people disagree with this unwritten rule. Afterall, there are very plain written rules that state the opposite of this unwritten one.

You can chalk it up to common courtesy to not steal a neighbor's space they spent an hour or two shoveling at the wee hours of the morning, but it's not a rule of society nor should a person feel like they've had property stolen when they return to find the space taken by a stranger.


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I totally agree. I am from here. My parents bred me in Roslindale. I was of the finest stock. When I was five years old they sat me down and gave me the talk about space savers. They said "Son, when the time comes, you're going to have to shovel out a car. And when you do, you want to put something down in that space. Ideally, an air conditioner or a broken chair. And if someone takes that spot, you need to slash their tires. Or take a tire iron and bash out their windows. That's just the way it is if you were born and bred here."


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Thank you. An upvote from another born n' bred who thinks this space saver thing is BS.


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I'm not obligated to be nice to people, there's no law against being a dbag.

I'm not obligated to help someone in need, an elderly or disabled person, for example; it's a free country and I can do what I want, as long as I don't actually assault someone.

I don't have to be pleasant to strangers I encounter daily, hold doors open, nod hello, etc. Why should I? It's a free country, I can do what I want, as long as I'm not technically breaking laws.

Somebody just shoveled out 6 feet of snow and ice, guess they had to leave in their car for something...well, you know what?Fuck 'em! I'm taking that space! It's my right! Too bad about them! Let them dig out another! Maybe I'll take that too!

Do you see any distinction

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Do you see any distinction between saving a space for a few days and doing so for a week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks?


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I second that. Plus what about the people who had to work and then came home 3 weeks ago and haven't been able to park since... anywhere. I think pro-space saver folks would feel differently about the absurdity if they didn't have a space and now can't get one for, oh, 2 months.

I'm gonna take a guess that

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I'm gonna take a guess that you aren't from here, don't drive, and don't have to shovel.

Ah, another one

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"You're not from here, because if you were, you'd acknowledge the universal wisdom and justice of the orange cone." Right up there with green beer, a custom more honored in the breach than in the observance.

Hey, lbb - I'm starting to

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Hey, lbb - I'm starting to think you have an unhealthy obsession with hating the space saving system. Your feelings are evident, based on the fact that you are all over saver-related topics. I'm thrilled that you took the time to respond, but there's no misunderstanding about where you stand on this. Please get your blood pressure checked, bud.

There have been 3 really big

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There have been 3 really big storms. Unless you've left your car unmoved far longer than the city legally allows (48 hours) or started using a space saver weeks ago, chances are that the spot you're trying to save was partially shoveled out by other people. Which means that Somerville police should crack down on these space savers. The other day, somebody had a space saver in a spot that I had shoveled out in the first (and largest) storm.

same space

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I've been in the same space since we started getting these storms. most everyone on my street has.

This is getting old.

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I, too, have spent hours shoveling out a car on numerous occasions this winter. And then I drive away without leaving a space saver because it's PUBLIC SPACE. It's the price we all pay for 1. Living in New England 2. Owning a car in the city 3. Parking in public space. Try taking the MBTA (hahaha) to work. If you have to drive to work, consider getting a private parking spot or moving somewhere on public transit. People can make a million excuses for why they need a space saver but parking in a public space was your choice.

I mainly don't like space savers for the hostility it breeds among neighbors. Terrible system.

Missed business opportunity.

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I'm surprised a less passive aggressive business opportunity hasn't started in the wake of the space-saver drama. I bet it won't be too long before we see people hired to stand in a parking space for 8-10 hours to kindly tell people to "move along, this space is claimed by my client."

(If the person is forced from the spot, they then have to key the car that takes the space, or they don't get paid.)

There would be plenty of

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There would be plenty of spots for everyone to park in if people weren't "reserving" empty, unused spaces for hours at a time.

I don't think so. Most of

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I don't think so. Most of the spots I've seen without space savers have turned into 8 ft high snow mounds.

There are 8 foot mounds of

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There are 8 foot mounds of snow because people put the snow from their car onto the mound. And then they put a space saver where their car was so now that is two spots that are being unused.

Shovelling out spots may have

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Shovelling out spots may have contributed to the 8 ft mounds. They are mostly from the plows and other equipment used to move snow. How many people do you know that will climb 8ft to get rid of snow?


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It's a "truly epic amount of snow" for everybody, not just someone who shoveled out one space once upon a time. Consider: if you were away visiting your mom on Magic Space-Saver Day, you wouldn't have had the opportunity to do this holy labor called shoveling out Your Space. Instead you'd be counting on coming back to your neighborhood, possibly having to do some shoveling to get a space for your car, and park. Space-saver proponents rest their arguments on notions of fairness that are easily dismissed if you just think through it a bit, and generously lard them with absurd hyperbole about the amounts of snow being shoveled (really, show me a picture of a 10' tall mound of snow in the street) and the time needed to shovel it. It just doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

In my experience people who

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In my experience people who were away during a storm came back to a street with a bunch of snow on it and dug out their own spot and then proceeded to save it. I've seen like ten people on my street do this and I don't have a problem with it at all.

Thank you. There is really no

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Thank you. There is really no response from the "savers" to the issue of fairness to those who were unable to leave work midday before the first big storm to get a spot. those people are SOL for the next month (or 2!) while the savers stake their never expiring claim to public property.

This is a Problem in Some Neighborhoods

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Space savers tend to be a problem only in neighborhoods where the City has issued more on-street parking permits than there are spaces, and that have parking issues to begin with. In Dorchester, Roxbury, Roslindale, Hyde Park, etc. people regularly use space savers (as it has been customary to do so in Boston for as long as I can remember) but it is never an issue because there are enough spaces to begin with. The "saver" is just a customary token. The real issue is that in other neighborhoods (South Boston and the South End to name the most prominent), the City has issued far, far more parking permits than there are street spaces. Space savers just make this problem visible. The solution is to reduce the number of permits to the greater of the number of available street spaces, or the number of units of housing in the neighborhood (i.e. a tripple-decker = 3 permits) and to limit them to one permit per unit. Whether people feel its their god given right to own a car or not, the fact is that our denser neighborhoods were not built with cars in mind at all, and if your family needs more than 1 car to operate (which some do) you should probably consider moving to a neighborhood that can physically accommodate your needs. Likewise, three people sharing a unit just can't expect to be able to each have a car, and should either consider getting rid of the car in favor of public transit or, again, if they really need a car should consider a neighborhood that can accommodate that desire.

Or, just charge what permits

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Or, just charge what permits are worth. A deeded parking space can be worth well over $50k in the densest neighborhoods. The rental value of such a space is hundreds of dollars a month. Charge a fair fee for on-street parking (instead of absorbing the opportunity cost into everyone else's taxes) and permit supply/demand will become more balanced.


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No, because that would disproportionately hurt low income people, elderly people etc. who have lived in the neighborhoods a long time but could not afford to "buy" a public parking space. A rich person should be no more entitled to more than one parking permit than a poor one. One space per unit. Based on name on electric bill. Not hard to implement (except for the angry mob issue).

Then put in some sort of

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Then put in some sort of income discount that you can apply for. Just because some people can't afford it doesn't mean all the people with their BMWs and Audis parked in the South End, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, etc should get free parking subsidized by everyone else.

Um, its PUBLIC parking

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Of course its free parking - its PUBLIC parking. I'm talking about overnight parking permits, not "giving out" dedicated parking spaces to residents. Your parking permit basically gives you a chance of finding a space in your neighborhood and hardly would be valued the same as a dedicated parking space that you own. The issue is that right, now there are two to three times as many parking permits issued in some neighborhoods than there are parking spaces in those neighborhoods. The only reason to implement the kind of fee-based incentive you suggest would be if the number of units of housing in a neighborhood far exceeds the number of on-street spaces such that even reducing the number of permits to 1:1 would still leave a huge supply and demand issue.

No, charging fair value for

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No, charging fair value for stickers (say, 25% or 50% the going rate for a deeded space) is fairest to everyone in the broadest sense. Those elderly and low income people in Back Bay which you speak of, are effectively getting valuable free parking being subsidized by the elderly and low income people in Hyde Park who might not even be able to afford a car.

Whenever the government gives something away, someone pays for it.

Space Saver Heroes

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We've been disposing of space savers throughout the city of Boston with some expeditions in Cambridge. Help out our movement: Please dispose of space savers whenever you see them.

You can read the manifesto at

Do you really believe only

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Do you really believe only "entitled locals" use space savers? The only problem I had with a space saver was when a girl (not from Boston) tried to put a huge Rubbermaid bin in the ( unshoveled)spot I was about to pull into. I told her not to even bother
putting the bin into the spot because I was going to move it.


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So how old was she? 8? 9?

Sorry, woman. That better? 20

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Sorry, woman. That better? 20's, few years younger than me, probably. Do you have to reply to/ pick apart every comment on each thread?

Unaware car owners may suffer damage because of this

If you go around the city and toss space savers then later when somebody parks there without the knowledge that a space saver was previously in the spot then you know there is a good chance that their car will suffer vandalism. I'm not so sure that person is going to be happy with your "heroic" act.

Then perhaps we should blame

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Then perhaps we should blame the culture that tolerates private claims of ownership toward public goods. Or perhaps we should blame the assholes out destroying property over their alleged claims to same.

Really, there are any number of people we could blame here. And yet I see this same tired argument made over and over again, aimed at the people who are enforcing the laws that the city can't or won't enforce.

My name is Erik, I live in JP, and if I see a space-saver after 5:00 tonight, it's going in the dumpster.

The blame does lie there

But, you also have to live in reality. The reality is that by moving that space saver the person who parks in that spot probably has a 50/50 shot of getting their car vandalized. As long as you are OK with that, then carry on. Playing the blame game will not change reality.

This is all precisely why the city needs to take an official stance on the practice, one direction or another.

If the city removes a space

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If the city removes a space saver and then the car that parks there gets keyed, should the city feel guilty about that?


because presumably it would be in conjunction with them taking a stance on the issue, which is exactly what I said they should do in my post above.

But the end result is the

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But the end result is the same: space saver is moved, new car takes the spot, new car is then keyed

While I agree the city should take a stand, ultimately it won't matter if they do. Feeling guilty about a car being keyed should be irrelevant in this situation.


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Yeah, because bayyyybeee boomers were never ever so very annoying.

Nope - just entitled and stridently always right with their 'philosophy' of whatever they were being stridently absolutist about.

Now they're broke and want everyone else to pay for their lack of savings.

Boomers don't set up websites

Boomers don't set up websites and twitter accounts that call themselves heroes for being aggressively non confrontational and claim what they're doing is ok because they voted for Conelly (according to the website).

I hate these "parking

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I hate these "parking vigilantes". You are not cops. Mind your own damn business. You are probably going to get someone's car keyed or slashed by taking someones space saver. Seriously, don't people have anything better to do?

I say the same thing about..

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...entitled space saver people. It's a terrible practice that needs to stop. I've never done it and have never not found a spot to park in.

Both types suck.

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But when the police refuse to deal with these issues (and the mayor even endorses the practice) this is what you get.

Welcome to Boston.

I think the more important

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I think the more important question is why someone thinks vandalism is of personal property is a rational and justified response to someone parking in a publicly available parking space?

...Or you might get three

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...Or you might get three Muslim students with a bright and promising future shot dead. And it's 100% your fault, because you removed a space saver from a parking spot.


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No blame on the raging asshole with the gun and the civic-backed belief that he owns a spot on a public street?

Oh, goody: more notes

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I guess we have officially become a nation of Pissy Note Leavers. Our forefathers and mothers would be so proud.

Thou Royal Bastard

King or no, if thou parkest thy chests of tea hard by the wharf clear'd by the sweat of my brow, I shall stove in thy yardarms.

Question for you...

By on vandalizing a car whose owner is nowhere near also "passive aggressive"? It's not like you're actually risking a confrontation. Seems like a completely cowardly act to me.

Our Forefathers' Pissy Note

Really, can you get much pissier than the one that begins:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

At least they signed it.

somerville is a mess

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i had the displeasure of driving through there last night. they need some help. i understand why tempers are short.

we haven't had this sort of issue in Charlestown, or at least on my street. everyone has been very gracious. i'm thankful.

At least Somerville has a system/plan

We checked the info on the snow emergency because my son wanted to celebrate his birthday at a restaurant there. All we had to do is drive to a nearby school and park there. It was less than a half mile away and all but one property en route was passable on the sidewalk.

Somerville is keeping a number of public lots open for free parking to compensate for the loss of street spaces. All you have to do is look at the city website. That does involve some walking, of course.

still a mess

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It's true they haven't ended the snow ban, but they also have not plowed many of the over flow lots. They have also not plowed my side street, which is a frozen track (and I can hear my little Honda bottom out every day when I go home).

So having the lots is so necessary I can't even count it as good the city is doing it. Without the lots all even sided parkers would have nowhere to go, and there aren't garages to rent here.

I'm glad you could come to a Somerville business though! I went out to eat this week too - made sure to leave a bigger tip. I can complain about my parking issues all day long but ultimately my job/livelihood is not in danger since I am salaried - for hourly folks it's got to be getting tight.

Roxbury RULES!!! T he people

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Roxbury RULES!!! T he people of Dorchester and Roxbury get A bad name but in my neighborhood their is no note writing just people helping people.


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I'm in Dot and it's the same way....neighbors helping each other, and they're all saving spots, too. No notes, no parking wars, but plenty of help shoveling them. People respect tradition and have better things to do than think they're awesome for going around on their fixie moving stuff.

I'll one up you guys

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I've got 2 SUVs in front of my house. Two different families. I don't even think they know each other. But I swear I've seen each family clearing snow from the other family's car. and they both have savers for the spots.

But that said, it is true that when you get into the right places, people totally look out for each other.

Though seemingly cruel

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Though seemingly cruel/impractical, it would amuse me to see someone (or a group of people) shovel all the snow back into that space into the vague shape of a car covered in snow while this guy was out.

Either that, or move a junker into the space with "KEYING TARGET PRACTICE" written on the sides of it. Then he could live out his fantasy of keying the FUCK out of a car like a badass!

Typical Human Behavior...

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When things get rough, we turn on each other. It should also be noted that the responses from the entitled space saver brats are almost always hostile and violent. And I've never taken "hours" to dig out a car. An hour, tops. Put some ass behind it and don't take so many breaks to tweet how much it sucks.

When things get rough we turn

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When things get rough we turn on each other but when things get really rough we get nicer. I've noticed people being jerks for the first two weeks of this but at this point it's like natural disaster mode where everyone feels oddly generous. After the next storm we will probably enter a new level.

So I guess...

By on get to choose what kind of person you're going to be. As always.

I probably won't get tired of

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I probably won't get tired of saying this for another couple of months: what a great, world-class(tm) city we've got over here! Enjoying the gridlock on the streets, the delays on the T...

Have you ever lived in 'World Class City's,

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Let's, for the sake if argument, say, NYC, London, Paris, really think daily living in these 'World Class Cities' is cake for the average (non-trust fund, non-rich) person? Do you think these cities don't have pitiful overcrowding and delays on transit, or hideous traffic?