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Boston begins to look at plague of double and triple parked delivery cars outside restaurants

The Boston Licensing Board today began grilling operators of new restaurants how they plan to keep their establishments from becoming street-clogging destinations for food-delivery drivers who insist on parking right out front even if that means double or even triple parking.

Board Chairwoman Kathleen Joyce said BTD has started studying the problem, which now occurs regularly not just in places that have long had issues, such as South Boston, but even West Roxbury, where neighborhood motorists have learned to beware as they travel past a strip of takeout-focused eateries clustered along Centre Street at Manthorne Road.

Everybody who appears before the licensing board seeking a license to open a new restaurant or permission to take over an existing one, is now quizzed on what percentage of their business they expect will come through delivery, their plans for working with delivery services and what sort of plans they might have to keep the drivers from stacking up on the road outside.

Richard Sullivan, who wants to transform the former Itadaki on Newbury Street in the Back Bay into a Spanish-influenced gastrobar, told the board he's yet to spend a lot of time thinking about third-party delivery services because he want to get his restaurant up and running first. He said that if he does begin to get delivery drivers, in warmer months at least, he'd likely set up a table outside on which to put completed orders in bags, to reduce the amount of time drivers have to park to pick up food.

An attorney for Desmond Sinlee Cheng, who wants to transfer the liquor license from his closed Hei La Moon on Beach Street in Chinatown to a "mini Hei La Moon" a couple blocks away on Essex Street, told the board Cheng has a parking lot next to the restaurant where delivery drivers could park to pick stuff up, although Cheng acknowledged that some insist on parking in front of the restaurant. He said he has a shelf on which to place take-out orders to reduce the time drivers spend getting food.

Sarah Wade and Mackenzie Dame, who hope to turn the closed Our Fathers deli on North Harvard Street in Allston's Barry's Corner into a "comfort food" restaurant called Sloane's, said they aren't expecting a lot of takeout business, but that if they do get any, they could direct drivers to a small side street next to the restaurant, to keep them off North Harvard and Western Avenue.

Restaurateur Joey Arcari, seeking to open a new American restaurant on Dorchester Avenue in Dorchester's Savin Hill neighborhood, said he has yet to decide if he will formally work with third-party delivery services, but says he has an easement next to his proposed The Dorchester that would let drivers pull in behind the restaurant to pick food up. His attorney, Ryan Spitz, said Arcari's previous restaurants have not attracted much delivery business.

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Comments

Sure. Go ahead and study the problem. Study it twice. Make recommendations. Post signs.

The market parameters will be adhered too. I am sure of it.

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Double parking in a travel lane is a $500 fine. The cop or meter attendant gets $400 of that.

Parking or idling in a bike lane is $1000. The cop gets $800.

Any restaurant who requests a loading zone in front of the establishment is provided one without question provided there's otherwise a city parking spot. Complaints about loss of customer parking will not be heard.

Edit: My point is that cops have never taken double parking seriously and probably won't take double parking seriously unless they get a kick back.

I'm not actually suggesting the city put this into place because it would have plenty of negative consequences. But it would stop people from double parking in ways few other things will.

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sending law enforcement out on bounty hunting duty probably isn't a great idea?

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But in NYC they really do give citizens who report vehicles idling for too long and other infractions a cut of the ticket. And there are people who go around all day making reports just to get the cash.

Here's a news story:
https://www.cnbc.com/2022/03/31/make-87point50-in-3-minutes-by-reporting...

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I'll even leave earlier for work so there is extra time to dedicate to reporting. Do it for double parking, bike/bus lane violations, parking in the crosswalks/on sidewalks.

In areas where there high volumes of deliveries, remove the free parking and make business pay for delivery zones.

Can't imagine that anyone would be against something like this! The parking loss certainly would be an issue but we only have so much road space, so people are going to have to learn prioritize and incentivize our public resources with their private convenience.

And I guess another concern are the delivery drivers themselves, a few have commented on this thread about the impacts this has and why double parking is so prevalent (aside from the police straight up ignoring the issue.)

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Somebody's gonna get hurt or killed trying to make less than $100.

How distinctly American.

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Someone is going to murder to avoid turning off their engine.

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I’ve seen attempted murder with a motor vehicle for less countless times.

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… incentive for abuse.

No never.

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Incentivized law enforcement is kind of like, um, not good.

There are already people who are supposed to enforce illegal parking rules.

Somehow there is one of those programs running like in Star Trek Insurrection which causes BTD not to see the double parking in Copley or the the valets and residents parking where they are not supposed to by One Franklin.

Perhaps, the mayor could give out special glasses to BTD and notice the illegally parked cars.

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Not only is this not an ideal solution, it's perhaps one of the worst suggestions for ANYTHING that I've seen on UHub in quite a while. Giving cops and parking officials hundreds of dollars to write a ticket? That's absolute nonsense, a ridiculous idea that is quite literally only good for the people writing the tickets while getting paid for every one.

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Obviously it's a non-starter and I'm not seriously suggesting the city put it into action. (Not that Boston looks to anonymous commenters on Uhub for advice.)

My point is that giving cops extra cash for writing tickets is about the only way to get them to take double parking seriously and aggressively. And the fines being extremely high will greatly reduce people wanting to risk it.

The problem with double parking is enforcement. It's already illegal.

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….. are so in need of cash that we should definitely pay them for this and for catching murderers and rapists too.

I suggest that the witness boxes in court be set up with one of those card reading machines so that when you go to give victim testimony you can pay the cops you called to the crime the standard fee plus add any suggested gratuity you select.

Same concept might incentivize judges and magistrates to move cases through the courts faster.

Would this help firemen do a better job as well? A quick contact free Apple Pay to get that ladder up to your window in the burning building?

Hell! We all know justice doesn’t just grow on trees.

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half the city budget isn't enough?

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If you pay cops per infraction, it incentivizes them to create infractions that don't exist. And there is very little a victim of such a citation can do to prove that the cop was wrong. We already have issues around police profiling, paying them to do it, will make it an even larger problem.

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The Bill of Rights prohibits excessive fines (8th amendment), so nobody is getting a $1,000 ticket for double parking for 90 seconds. Even if it is infuriating when deliver drivers lazily double park right in front of a legal parking space.

However, the current fine structure is such that double parking is often the cheapest ticket they're risking. Loading zones, no parking areas, etc are a $90 ticket, and double parking is $55 (only $35 in Zone B, wherever that is). It should be the other way around, with increased fines for repeat offenders.

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The Bill of Rights prohibits excessive fines (8th amendment), so nobody is getting a $1,000 ticket for double parking for 90 seconds. Even if it is infuriating when deliver drivers lazily double park right in front of a legal parking space.

However, the current fine structure is such that double parking is often the cheapest ticket they're risking. Loading zones, no parking areas, etc are a $90 ticket, and double parking is $55 (only $35 in Zone B, wherever that is). It should be the other way around, with increased fines for repeat offenders.

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Have the City target restaurants with double parking problems by just showing up and booting the cars idling outside, and then charging $100 to remove the boot when the driver comes out. A bit of this and I bet we'll see behavior start to change real fast.

"But Ari! There are people who are just trying to do their job!"

Their job is to obey traffic laws and operate their vehicles in a safe manner.

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Or maybe just ban food delivery all together at that point. This suggestion is so regressive.

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Explain.

Pro tip: driving is not a right

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YOUR CONVENIENCE SHOULD NOT COME AT THE EXPENSE OF THE SAFETY OF OTHERS.

Food delivery can easily be made while also following traffic laws. If we really cared about [safety / the environment / etc] we'd mandate it be made by foot or bicycle. The externalities of driving a 5000 pound gas-powered vehicle to deliver a quarter-pound of beef are off the charts.

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One could get off their (expletive) and get their dinner themselves.

When did Boston stop being walkable? Maybe make it a thing where the double parker gets the fine waived if they can prove they were serving a customer with a disability.

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This problem is SO egregious on Centre Street in Westie and what's absurd is there's that dentist office right on the end of that strip that closes at like 5pm and is super easy to park in. We go pick up los amigos and just park there, and I walk the extra 15 yards past all the assholes double (TRIPLE) parking so they can be right in front of the restaurant. Technically it's still parking illegally cuz the dentist does have a sign but if they're closed and it means not causing a safety hazard, whatever...

Ultimately this whole situation is a joke because we HAVE the ability to address this already. Cops can give traffic tickets! The Westie police station is RIGHT THERE, they KNOW this is an issue every. single. evening. They could choose to sit there and write dozens, nay, hundreds of tickets if they cared. They don't. That would require GETTING UP and putting down their phone and doing actual work for all that overtime and why would they do that.

Wu needs to develop a non-cop parking enforcement team. That would solve so much.

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That's a way to make sure the car is double parked and blocking the road WAY LONGER that it would be otherwise. How is it better than a $100 parking ticket? It's not like they're ticketing delivery cars today but the drivers somehow avoid paying.

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This is such a Boston way of dealing with this problem, going after the restaurants instead of doing the work to directly crack down on the drivers who are actually the ones breaking the law. Very much parallels the way we hold bars responsible for people's bad behavior instead of focusing on holding individuals accountable.

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Why are 5,000 pound SUVs being used to deliver a half pound burrito? These deliveries should be made on foot, bike or scooter.

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People use SUV's for food delivery jobs? How the (expletive) is that worth it financially? What an asinine investment.

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…. live in their SUVs.
Or have another job requiring a vehicle.
Or share a vehicle with roommates they hopefully don’t live with in the SUV!

Might also be someone’s display of wealth they don’t have so they do delivery to pay gas until the vehicle is reclaimed for non payment.

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…. live in their SUVs.

That's a gross societal failing.

Or have another job requiring a vehicle.

Common, but also a (less gross) societal failing.

Or share a vehicle with roommates they hopefully don’t live with in the SUV!

I can't think of a scenario in which I would let someone else drive my car ever for any reason.

Might also be someone’s display of wealth they don’t have so they do delivery to pay gas until the vehicle is reclaimed for non payment.

Sidebar: Stupidest thing I ever did for money was temp at a car loan place for three months. I handled loan paperwork, and I saw the terms under which people would borrow money to acquire vehicles. One person was paying $800 a month at 20% interest to have a BMW.

The guy who handled the repos never had a shortage of work. Sometimes poor people are poor on purpose.

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I’m agreeing with about 3 of your posts already.

Many of the poor are poor by design. Beginning with early education. Credit is a risky business and if you don’t understand it, don’t get tangled up in it. I do understand why some people do to pay medical bills or buy groceries.
But for a shiny new oversized gas guzzler? That just might be nobody’s fault but your own.

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Not arguing that the drivers aren't "actually the ones breaking the law", but if you want solutions, you need to look at causes. Restaurants offer delivery services through gig workers who don't have access to legal parking close to the restaurant. Their situation is a little different from someone who's going out to dinner, no? You don't like "going after the restaurants", but it seems like the restaurants shouldn't offer the service if it's not going to be practical. Maybe a "loading zone" of two or three spaces very close to the restaurant, plus making the restaurants report honestly if an order is ready for pickup so that the delivery driver won't have to hang around for more than the 30 seconds it should take to pick up the order? Maybe make restaurants have a curbside handoff service for delivery orders? Maybe make the restaurants limit the delivery orders that they take? There are a lot of things that could help; coming down hard on some low-wage gig worker is probably not one of them.

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But I think it can be attacked from both ends. Also making places limit delivery orders is the sort of horribly meddlesome policy that we need less of. If it achieves the desired result, enforcing the laws already on the books should always be preferable to passing new policy.

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horribly meddlesome policy

What's NOT "meddlesome" about policing the use of public spaces?

If it achieves the desired result, enforcing the laws already on the books should always be preferable to passing new policy.

And if the "laws already on the books" were written at a time where this issue didn't exist?

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the laws on the book were written before the creation of cars?? give these people PARKING TICKETS.

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This won't solve the existing issues with the bus lane on Brighton Ave that is frequently clogged with illegal parking.

Also why just restaurants? What about ride sharing services and deliveries? Or the parents picking up their kids at Warren Towers?

I mean the police/BTD could do their jobs and enforce the law but fat chance that happens, 311 cases are frequently closed hours later with "CLEAR" and enforcement vehicles just roll on by ignoring violations.

Citizens should be allowed to report violations with pictures that result in fines.

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An easy fix is too enforce the law and start aggressively (or at all) ticketing and towing double parked vehicles citywide. This would really help traffic flow. It's not delivery drivers who do this, it's rideshare, taxis, people "just grabbing a few things" etc.

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That would be my solution too: Ticket and tow. That would almost guarantee stopping this double and triple parking behavior from delivery drivers, that's how they make their living. Not so much the "just stopping for a few minutes" crowd.

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But in some places, like Washington between Kneeland and Avenue de Lafayette, standby tow trucks would take up some of the legal parking or just block crosswalks and bus lanes.

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What is this? Colonial times when news traveled at the speed of mules and couriers on foot? In seasons of passable weather?

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And demands a suite of solutions from the city...

Is a city parking spot a public or private resource?

If you think it is a public resource its fking silly to foist this on a business.

If you think it's a private resource, you are wrong. It doesn't belong to a private enterprise, although an abutting business may have a strong stake in the matter.

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People say "you should park somewhere far and walk" to a restaurant that says the food is done and ready for pick up but then that restaurant asks you to wait 10 minutes as they 'finish the order'...

It's just not worth it to me. I feel bad about double parking but parking as far as is needed o find a legal spot and then get there and wait. It's like a 20-minute ordeal just waiting and walking. Driving to the Spot, waiting then driving to the home is literally 50-55 minutes sometimes and we get paid $5-$7 bucks often with no tip

Restaurants should not be telling couriers and 3rd party servers the food is ready if it's not ready. It's a recipe for disaster.

I stopped because being someone who provides a frivolous service for privileged people and being labeled the bad guy and barely getting paid just wasnt worth it.

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That last point hits home so hard. Maybe we should be curbing demand...

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You've just described exactly why food delivery services shouldn't exist. They only work by oppressing labor in ways that almost certainly violate the spirit if not the letter of employment law. The restaurants have externalized delivery management to Door Dash, Uber Eats, etc., and the services have externalized cost to the drivers. This only incentivizes customers, who are not paying the full cost, to order delivery.

If the city is serious about this, they need to crack down on the labor law violations. Double parking is just a symptom of economic incentive distortion.

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Or probably dense parts of Boston … where they can be made on foot or by bicycle.

The externalities of people driving for food deliveries, not making enough money doing it, etc are bad for everyone except the end user who is subsidized. But hey, look, Uber took $40 billion in VC cash to create more traffic and danger. Good thing we didn't invest that money in something like public transit!

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The city needs to work on this neighborhood by neighborhood. Have meetings in the areas most impact and invite local businesses and residents. At these meetings present a plan for having areas designated for quick in and out pick ups and then increased enforcement. In order to activate the plan you need support from the local elected officials and the local business community. Areas without a plan can no longer offer food pickup delivery services. So businesses need to choose to lose parking out front or lose food pick up services. The enforcement could be in the form of a boot or a massive ticket.

I know in many places there is a reluctance to enforce these rules and that needs to be addressed. Even on private property it is becoming an issue where fire lanes are clogged with cars doing pickups. In many cases the landlords have asked communities to stop enforcing the law because it was bothering their tenants. Either firelanes and bus lanes and hydrants etc need special protections or they don't. This haphazard enforcement just causes widespread disregard.

I was driving down a street with a bus lane the other day and there were people casually driving in it, including a State Police SUV that was not in a hurry. When our enforcement is openly breaking the law why should I bother following it?

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Sure they will...lol

We can't upset the car drivers.

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The city already has a program for valet parking. Restaurants can get 50 feet or so of curb space reserved for valet parking for a nominal annual fee. Can that be reworked to accommodate delivery pickups?

Once a legit solution is in place, enforcement against double parking becomes more practical.

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Anecdotally, I run into plenty of valets parking cars in the bike lane right next to a valet curb space. And it's not accidental, they need to thread their way through some flexposts to get there.

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See that in a few spots.

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The BTD does not do anything when it comes to traffic enforcement. They are reactive not proactive.

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begins to look at plague of double and triple parked delivery cars outside restaurants

Ha, the, the citizenry has been looking at them for years.

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...told the board Cheng has a parking lot next to the restaurant where delivery drivers could park to pick stuff up, although Cheng acknowledged that some insist on parking in front of the restaurant

No shit. And if he tells THAT driver to never park in front of the restaurant again, do you even know the odds that THAT driver gets a delivery for THAT restaurant ever again? Is he supposed to tell ALL the drivers in the area about the parking lot somehow? Is he supposed to make EVERY company doing food delivery tell ALL their drivers where to park out of the way? Is EVERY driver supposed to know the personalized designated spot to park in for EVERY restaurant EVERY time they go out to do random food deliveries?

And that lot next to his place on Essex Street is a separate private lot! It says you get towed if you don't pay the fee. Do you think any driver is going to pay to park there or hope their car is still there when they get back from picking up the food?

The restaurant isn't the problem nor the solution. The city should be making 15 min high-turnover stopping areas for food delivery in zones where restaurant count is high and parking is limited. Violators of those spaces should be immediately ticketed/towed. Violators of the travel lanes should be ticketed/towed. Drivers should get the impression that "just running in real quick" has consequences that upend their risk-reward calculations for double parking everywhere while also being given obvious and convenient places by the city to legally stop to do their business. If the entire "parking" lane on Brighton Ave in Allston were a pickup/dropoff 15-min zone (with carve-out(s) for bus stops) and a BTD/BPD person patrolled it as part of a loop of 15 min zones in the area throughout the evening, then nobody would need to double park. Outside normal delivery hours (say, 10 PM to 4 PM) set it back to 2 hour or whatever parking.

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The delivery services should provide pickup instructions for every restaurant, which includes where and where not to park.

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The delivery services can't even keep up to date on menus, prices, or whether the restaurant even still exists. Do you really think they're capable of providing "pickup instructions for every restaurant, which includes where and where not to park"?

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Just stop!
It will throw the earth’s orbit off center.

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Do you think any driver is going to pay to park there or hope their car is still there when they get back from picking up the food?

Don't pretend drivers are making some kind of risk-assessment here. They're double parking in traffic lanes. You're likely to get rear ended by somebody not paying attention in the 2 minutes you're in the restaurant. It takes 2 hours to get a cop out to ticket in a private lot and then another 30 for a tow truck.

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I'm more concerned about moving violations than parking violations. Double parking is an inconvenience, and a safety hazard when emergency vehicles are impeded. Speeding and ignoring traffic signals is a direct threat to life and limb. In a fantasy world where motor vehicles and drivers were effectively regulated, we would address both priorities, but in the real world, Boston is showing no interest in either. If resources are limited, focus on preventing injuries.

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occupying a bike lane forces a cyclist into the auto lane.

occupying a crosswalk or curb ramp forces peds into the street.

occupying a bus cutout forces riders to get on and off in traffic.

they're not just "an inconvenience" - parking violations put people at risk and shouldn't be ignored.

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restrict deliveries to off hours. No reason these bars and restaurants can’t have deliveries between 3am and 6 am.

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Make the delivery services, rather than the drivers, liable for parking fines incurred while drivers are picking up deliveries.
Instead of punishing low paid gig workers, who have absolutely no power to change the situation, with fines that might make them miss rent, punish the companys profiting from this nuisance who absolutely know this is happening but pretend it's not their responsibility.
Also, any restaurants accepting delivery orders should be required to provide a place for drivers to park while picking up orders.

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The apps will just delist any driver that costs them money. Of course, that will eventually get rid of the services and therefore the traffic. So it could work.

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The situation on Brighton Ave in Allston has to be one of the more egregious violations I've seen. Daily around dinner hours multiple delivery drivers double park in the *bus lane*, rendering it unusable by the 57 and 66. The parking lanes should be 15 minute zones during the evening.

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Who's kidding who, this is an entitlement, just like space savers.

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This is an entitlement; they'll never be able to take it away.

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Wouldn't it help if they don't have to leave their cars?

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Be a good citizen instead of a lazy ass who enjoys being catered to and lording the tip amount over the servers.

When pigs ….

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I'm trying to decipher the comment above. Are you calling the drivers "lazy asses" who would be "catered to"...by what exactly? Are they "catered to" if they walk into the restaurant (which is the only way that they could "lord the tip amount over the servers"), or are they "catered to" if they stay in their vehicle and the restaurant brings it out to them in order to minimize the time their vehicle is in front of the restaurant?

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At least that's how I interpreted Lee's comment, in support of the idea of meeting the drivers outside.

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…. are essentially servers.

Get it now? I served you with an illumination.

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What you said before was gibberish, and your snotty retort didn't "illuminate" anything except perhaps your rosy red ass that you keep showing in these acts of pointless hostility and aggression.

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… of fun and sometimes actual food for thought as it does in varying degrees with bobo, Bostonpuppy, Johnboy C. and others.

But it doesn’t. It’s just icky. And pity provoking.

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