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Patch Answers: Can Parking Spots Be Saved?

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Several Charlestown readers have expressed frustration over even tighter parking around town after the Feb. 8-9 blizzard dropped more than two feet of snow on Boston.

When the city lifted the snow emergency and parking ban on Tuesday, Feb. 12, it meant residents who had been parking in temporary free or low-cost lots, like MGH's Building 199 in the Navy Yard, had to fight for spots on the street amid huge piles of leftover snow. For many, the solution was to shovel out a spot on the street and leave a chair or traffic cone to "save" that spot until things cleared up.

Today, two weeks after the storm, that tactic is still being employed by some, leaving others frustrated.

One reader sent this email to Patch:

What's being done about the people abusing the right to save parking spots?Feel like if I can get a parking ticket for being on a crosswalk they should get [a] ticket or the parking attendant should remove their place holders. It's more than a week after the blizzard and something needs to be done!

So what is being done? For the answer, Patch turned to Danielle Fitzgerald, Charlestown's community liaison in the Mayor's Office.

Her reponse: "Space savers were allowed for 48 hours after the snow emergency and will now be picked up along with trash on trash days."

Fitzgerald also directed Patch to the city's page on parking rules, which include the following "don'ts":

  • Don't use space savers more than 48 hours after a snow emergency has been lifted.
  • Don't park within 20 feet of an intersection or further than 1 foot from the curb.
  • Don't park in crosswalks or in front of fire hydrants or ramps.
  • Don't park in front of driveways or extend your car from the driveway over the sidewalk or street.

Understandably, with lots of space taken up by snow, these rules limit residents' options when it comes to parking. This Patch editor left her car at a relative's house south of the city for the past two weeks because of limited parking near my home. I've been getting by on the MBTA system since then, although I know others may not have that luxury or an out-of-town parking option.

With no official advice from the city on what you can do, does anyone around town have any other good ideas on where residents can put their cars for now?

Seamus O'Sullivan February 22, 2013 at 03:09 PM
It's pretty simple. If you see a spot saver on the street after 48 hours, put it on the sidewalk. Problem solved.
Sandy Cali February 22, 2013 at 03:41 PM
It sounds like the people that want to remove the savers are the ones that don't want to do any of the work. I grew up in Charlestown and parking has always been difficult, but I believe that if you take an hour or two to dig out a spot, it's yours until the snow has been cleared. Why should somebody else come along and take it?
Seamus O'Sullivan February 22, 2013 at 03:46 PM
It's actually not "yours" Sandy. It's a public space and hence, to be used for public good. Not your personal good. 48 hours is plenty of time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. After that it's simply selfish and absurd. And for the record, I shoveled out my own spot and didn't leave a saver in it after the blizzard.
Matthew February 22, 2013 at 05:34 PM
That didn't take as long as I thought it would for someone to mention that they grew up here. Anyway, in the spirit of compromise, I can abide 48 hours. It would be great if people dug out parking spots for the greater good of the community, but that's not going to happen. However, one minute after 48 hours has passed I will absolutely take a "saved" spot.
Just a person! February 22, 2013 at 05:47 PM
I am so happy for you Seamus, Give the real reason why you didn't? Put a space saver in! That is...... You never moved your car..... Hahaha
Seamus O'Sullivan February 22, 2013 at 06:56 PM
JAP, do you usually respond in unintelligible, haiku-like paragraphs or am I just special? Not that your idiotic comment merits a response, but I actually drove away and when I came back (GASP) someone had taken my spot. Can you believe that?!?!?!? I had the mind to break their windshield, but then I remembered - I am not a mindless neanderthal; he/she had just as much right to that spot as I did. Crazy right?
TheMaskedTruthsayer February 22, 2013 at 08:07 PM
@Seamus and JAP: get a room you two, you've been coy minxes long enough.
Just a person! February 22, 2013 at 09:00 PM
Hey Seamus, I put my spot saver out on the first sight of snow , no matter what the accumulation, and I don't remove it till the daffodils bloom! And, I dare anyone to move it!
Just a person! February 22, 2013 at 09:05 PM
Seamus I usually put my space saver out before the first snow accumulates, and leave it there till the daffodils bloom! And, dare someone to move it!
Matthew February 22, 2013 at 09:08 PM
Seriously, guys. We don't have to stoop to this level of confrontation. We can act like grown ups and have a civil discussion. JAP, It seems like the law is pretty clear on this: 48 hours after the snow emergency ends. You seem like you respect those who obey the law. Why is this different?
Just a person! February 22, 2013 at 09:18 PM
Matthew My feelings towards this is that if I get up and go out in the am when everybody has left for work already and there are space savers in place, well you can bet I am putting mine out also. 48 hour rule or not!
Matthew February 22, 2013 at 09:37 PM
I get it. But the rules are the rules. And after 48 hours AFTER the snow emergency has ended, I don't think it's unreasonable for all spots previously saved to be open. You will most likely have the spot you dug out for several days after the storm. We can't get pissed at the city for not following the rules and then choose to ignore certain ones ourselves.
Just a person! February 22, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Just like the rule that sidewalks should be cleared 3hours after the snow ends. Walk around, nevermind the sidewalks try some streets not cleared, Medford st yesterday was one lane. Are you kidding me! A week later..and our Main Streets in town are not clear, and more on the way!
TheMaskedTruthsayer February 22, 2013 at 09:51 PM
What about the one-family & rental units on main street that either don't shovel at all or, shovel only a walkway to their "held spot," leaving 90% of the sidewalk covered in snow. There are entire blocks that remain like this every year. Who goes after the absentee landlords? I see alot of City of Boston Transportation Department vehicles issuing tickets for cars but that is about it.
Matthew February 22, 2013 at 10:11 PM
JAP, So it seems like we want the city to enforce the shoveling regulation, but we want them hands off when it comes to parking? I walk to work almost everyday, so I'm as pissed off as the next guy when people don't shovel. Really at the end of the day, I believe it's the pedestrians who truly get shafted after a big storm.
Matthew February 22, 2013 at 10:25 PM
POT, It all comes down to residents doing only for themselves and not having the bigger picture in mind, and the city selectively enforcing their own regulations.
Seamus O'Sullivan February 22, 2013 at 10:51 PM
JAP, what's your address and what do you put in your spot to save it? I give you my word that I will park my BMW there 48 hours and 1 minute after the snow emergency is over. I could use a new car and would love to sue you.
Joshua D February 22, 2013 at 11:28 PM
Fun times parking in the city ! This is why we can attribute an 80,000$ property value increase on anything with "off street parking". I grew up in south Medford, with a driveway, family from cambridge/Somerville, lynn, revere and the north end. My fiancé is a "valley girl", (Merrimack that is), with her family throughout Lowell. In all my life experiences it is a matter of "common law". It is simple, if we have snow (6 inches or more) and people shovel, using their time and labor to preserve a spot, then you respect their time and labor and subsequently, the spot. It is everyone's choice how to treat the situation in these circumstances, but n my experiences, people who take other people's labored cleanly shoveled spots after they dealt with 1 foot of wet heavy Boston snow, usually don't get that spot for free. My dad used to work in Southie in a warehouse with my uncle and in the winter their was "employee parking" on an adjacent street. Well people seemed to keep parking in these spots, despite friendly conversations and all. So one afternoon, as these folks returned to their vehicles after a long day at work, they discovered that every single tire had been mysteriously gutted out and the entire block of cars had to be towed away; what a shame. I have seen paint, key work, tire destruction, name writing, super glue, and more. Luckily I have my own private helicopter that lands on my roof deck every morning ( really is the only way to travel).
Joshua D February 22, 2013 at 11:35 PM
It is such a tragedy when people have no where to park their Audi !!
Matthew February 22, 2013 at 11:37 PM
I bet if you two were face to face you'd find a way were work out your differences. This is why the internet is so toxic.
Joshua D February 22, 2013 at 11:44 PM
I need a hug
TheMaskedTruthsayer February 23, 2013 at 01:57 AM
Hold me!
Larry Fine February 23, 2013 at 03:02 AM
Kiss me hard
Just a person! February 23, 2013 at 03:58 AM
I am not hard to find! And as far as your word, I have seen a lot of posters out here ask you to meet them and you are all "hot Air" As far as your BMW, it's probaly a Ford Taurus,
TheMaskedTruthsayer February 23, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Can't touch this!
Toonie February 24, 2013 at 08:08 PM
Saving a spot is perfectly acceptable, but only for 48 HOURS after an OFFICIAL SNOW EMERGENCY. If it's not a snow emergency and you feel that entitled after shoveling 6" of snow, perhaps you should consider moving to a warmer climate. Also, if you're still saving a spot since NEMO and someone moved your saver recently, chances are it was me! You're welcome.
Alphanaut March 10, 2013 at 12:17 PM
You, the entitled that think "shoveling" snow for 8 minutes entitles you to a parking space for the next two days, sooo annoying. Very little snow on the ground last night, but as I drove around at 8:30pm looking for somewhere to park, space savers everywhere. Problem is, the entitled who think they can save their space even though it's not a snow emergency, are the same people who will key the hell out of your car for moving the space saver that shouldn't be there in the first place. Follow the freaking rules like the rest of us, we live in a society, not Thunderdome.

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