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Citizen complaint of the day: Return of street-sweeping ticketing is an outrage

After news broke that Boston will re-start ticketing on street-sweeping days on Aug. 10, some concerned North End and Back Bay residents filed 311 complaints, such as:

HOW WILL THIS POSSIBLY WORK IN THE NORTH END??? (North End):

There is hardly enough street parking as it is with the outdoor restaurants taking up/closing down many streets and construction on the others. I beg you to reconsider this. This is completely unfair for the residents of this Neighborhood. I understand the restaurant business is important, but if this is going to continue, the city should pay for residents to park in a garage for those hours. With many still working from home, this is going to be impossible.

Where will we park? (Back Bay):

You are asking people to work from home and not go to the office, where they would usually park their cars during street sweeping. How do you expect all residents to squeeze their cars onto one side of the street during a work day while social distancing and working from home? I live in the Back bay and parking is tight enough as it is. Did anyone think this through? Maybe offer residents free parking in garages during street sweeping like you do during snow emergencies?

No middle ground (North End):

If street cleaning resumes on Aug 10 in the North End residents will have no place to park whatsoever. Either stop the outdoor dining of restaurants or don't clean the streets. A middle ground is not possible unless the city pays for residents to use parking garages. Please consider the people who live in the neighborhood.

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Comments

1. Notify drivers 10 minutes before the sweeper heads down the street
2. Everyone runs out and moves their car.
3. Street sweeper passes and everyone moves their cars back.

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You cannot make them happy so don’t bother. These people are given parking FOR FREE yet still complain. They don’t want to get off their fat lazy asses for any reason even if you make it as easy as possible for them.

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Parking on a PUBLIC street SHOULD be free.

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so long and you and your neighbors go out every week or two and clean the street yourselves... FOR FREE.

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I do keep the street clean in front of my house. That doesn't exempt me from street cleaning tickets.

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If you clean all the dust, leaves, and litter from under your car and a 5 foot buffer around it, you could be exempted from street sweeper tickets.

But you'd really have to stay on top of it on windy days.

Makes no sense. If it's a public good, everyone should benefit from it. That can take the form of renting the spot with the money going to the city (the public) or it can take the form of the spot being used for something non-exclusive like a mini-park, bike lane, etc.

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Parking on a PUBLIC street SHOULD be free.

On the contrary, people who want to use PUBLIC property for PRIVATE purposes, whether to store automobiles, graze livestock, drill for oil, set up and operate a hot dog stand, etc. SHOULD pay fair market rent to the owners of the property (I.e. to the rest of us)

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Take a look at the Boston excise breakdown for FY19 Actual. Motor vehicle is 2nd only to room occupancy, and twice the next highest line item (meals). Guess which two of those three is going to drop significantly when FY20 actuals are reported.

You're getting caught up on itemization and semantics when it comes to "free" car ownership in the city.

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The city makes an obscene amount of money from "Aircraft Fuel".

I didn't even know that was something they collected, just kind of assumed the state would be.

But excise isn't a parking fee. It applies just the same if you park on the street in the North End, have a garage, or live in West Roxbury.

At least it's somewhat progressive, since a working person with an old Toyota pays about $35/year while a show-off with a new BMW pays several thousand.

Notify how? People often have to park blocks from where they live. They won’t see or hear anything unless they get a call or text from the BPD. Good luck with that.

You really want hundreds of people pulling onto the streets of the North End simultaneously, 10 minutes before sweepers show up?

They should to break down neighborhoods into even smaller sections and halve the amount they sweep every day. Also, do it every other week instead of weekly.

There are far less people in town so there's less of a need for regular sweeping.

Unless it's just a money grab during a global pandemic (which is entirely possible and wouldn't surprise me in the least either).

Why doesn’t the City hire people who want jobs to use brooms, shovels, etc that can clean the trash out and put it in place for the sweepers and trucks to pick up? Both sides of the street could be cleaned on one day instead of every other week. Probably would get cleaner streets doing it this way.

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What pathetic whining. Pay for your own parking you greedy babies. But who is surprised by anything Boston drivers do? Spoiled brats are going to throw temper tantrums. It’s what they do. The city has encouraged this behavior with all the welfare they give to drivers.

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temper tantrums...

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Just to show you he is going to stop at all stop signs and red lights, yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, AND not go the wrong way down one way streets. So there.

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A horse and buggy?

Boston drivers are indeed Welfare Queens.

We pay an excise tax to the city to have a car. So it’s not free. Unless you own a car in the city then you opinion doesn’t matter on this subject.

Did anyone think this through?

I mean, it's government who's running this, right? What do you think?

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Even without a car, I live in a neighborhood where every spot on every street is taken 24/7. Complaining aside, I agree with these points that I have no clue where cars could be moved to. They need to make some streets one-way and allow perpendicular parking temporarily.

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I have no clue where cars could be moved to.

I do. They could be moved to someplace else where they don’t block street sweeping on street sweeping days.

I am sympathetic, in that I live in a neighborhood where the number of locally registered cars with valid neighborhood stickers is over 5x the number of street parking spaces, but that’s nothing new for the North End and was already factored into the decision to own a car.

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I'm not all that interested in making moral judgments of these residents. Folks make choices based on the options available at the time, and it is a huge headache when the situation changes drastically underneath your feet (or car).

But one thing the pandemic has really made clear is how much of the cityscape - some of the most valuable real estate in the world - we've given over to car storage. Private vehicles that sit idle for the vast majority of the time, for free, on public spaces that could perhaps be better utilized for wider sidewalks, bike lanes, outdoor dining... in other words, for people instead of cars.

If all that free street parking hadn't been available in the North End / Back Bay to begin with, plenty of these people would have either gone car-free, ponied up for an off-street spot, or just lived somewhere else. And that would've been just fine.

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...even in smaller cities, there may be no free street parking in more dense areas. If you have a car, you need to rent a parking spot. Park on the street for more than a few minutes (to drop something off or pick someone up) and you get a whopping big ticket (and have your car towed and pay those fees too).

Right on! Cars are pretty much the only thing that can be stored for free (most places) on public property -Ok, bikes too, but they take a tiny fraction of that space. Even though it's the biggest impediment to safe, affordable green and equitable transportation, way too many people are now considering free or cheap public parking a sacred right.

For those who have the access and the time to read it, there was this very thorough and thought-provoking article in the NYT two weeks ago about all that could be gained by banning private cars from Manhattan. Much of it could be applied to the denser parts of Boston.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/09/opinion/sunday/ban-cars-manhattan-cit...

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Apparently these people don't actually need a car if it's been sitting in the same spot for 2 weeks.

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I was thinking the same thing. Sounds like a great time to sell their cars!

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That they are now doing from home. If/when their offices reopen, they'll need to commute again. And, no, it's often not possible to switch to commuting by public transit.

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I've often not used my car for 4-6 weeks at a time. And then when I do need it, it's very handy. The fixed costs are low, much less than getting a rental or Zipcar for a peak travel weekend.

If they can afford to live in Back Bay, surely they can afford to pay for garage parking.

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are the growing number who own townhouses and large condos with garages and/or multiple parking spaces in back for their family, staff, and guests. Or they live in luxury buildings with valet or automated parking. The rest of us, not so much. Plenty of people in Back Bay still rent or own small, crappy units and need to park on the street.

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I'm frustrated that I'll need to pay $110 to park my UHaul when moving next week, which is $110 more than people pay for resident parking permits. Since I don't own a car, I never even got to take advantage of the free public space for private storage.

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The $110 moving permit gets you a reserved space and the rights to tow anyone else who parks in it. The resident permit, on the other hand, is merely a hunting license.

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As others have pointed out, car owners pay excise tax to the municipality their car "lives" in. So car owners are paying a fee that you are not paying. I'm not saying whether or not I believe that should equate to a parking permit that has no additional cost associated with it, but it's not fair to say that car owners pay nothing more than non-car owners in this respect.

Yeah, but you also saved on gas, insurance and excise tax.
I think we can call it even,

If the city charged for parking permits, how would that address the issue of street cleaning logistics when people are working from home and some parking is taken by outdoor dining?

How much do restaurants pay for that street space?

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If the city were to charge for parking permits, then at the margins, some number of people who were on the fence about whether or not to get a car, or people with cars but on the fence about whether or not to pay for a private parking space, would change their minds, which would reduce the number of people competing for the available spaces.

It probably doesn’t take a big shift in demand to make a big difference in the parking experience.

Maybe. But the fact remains that if the area reaches parking equilibrium when the situation is people's cars are at work when 50% of the spaces become illegal for street cleaning, it will be a problem if you take away the work commuting but don't cancel the street cleaning.

Move out of the city to the burbs or to a place with a driveway or garage.

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While it's obvious that the commenters are fixated on parking and evil automobiles in general, I'm just glad to see that street cleaning is resuming.
It's overdue.

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When I lived in JP, they did one side of the street on week and the other side the next. It was every Monday and I learned my lesson after my car is towed. Sometimes I could park close and sometimes I had to park far away. It was just part of living in the city.

Now I live in HP and they don't have use move our cars so they don't clean close the sidewalk. Why?

I either did not have a car or had a driveway/lot when I lived in Boston for my 14 years there. Now I’m one of them suburban rats who doesn’t even think about parking.... until I start taking the commuter rail again from Stoughton.

Now I kinda miss my West Roxbury parking sticker. Oh dear, I am having a moment....

Where’s my space saver?

resident street parking spaces in City Point, where it can get ugly, and has gotten uglier as more old-timers have sold their homes to developers that turn them into multi-family dwellings, bringing many more cars to the area to compete for a finite number of spaces. I've spent many more years relying on resident street parking in the South End: not as law-of-the-jungle an ordeal, but I've still spent countless nights at the end of a long workday searching for a space for 20 minutes.

It is what it is. Resident street parking is a benefit with a very low price tag, given that the alternative is buying or renting a space (pre-pandemic, $30-40K and up for the former, $200-$400/month or more for the latter, depending on the neighborhood, indoor vs. outdoor, etc.) I'd be okay with a sliding scale for penalties based on one's ability to pay, but saying, "I will take the benefit, but can't move my car twice a month for the privilege" doesn't square with my sense of civic responsibility to help keep the streets clean.

I also feel an obligation to help our desperately-struggling restaurant industry by sacrificing spaces to throw them a lifeline. That's something they can only take advantage of for a few warm months, and so many of them are going to fail anyway. Bite the bullet for a few months for the sake of your neighborhood quality of life, as measured in having decent places to dine out nearby.

Huh. Aren’t cars easily moved? If you can’t make the effort to do it when you know when it is happening, then let the BTD trucks and contractors do it for you. Is that worse? Yeah. It is.,

How come no panic in Brookline?
Oh. No overnight parking, so people figured out they aren’t as helpless as they thought.

I'm not anti-car by any means like some fanatics here, but tough to feel bad for these folks when I'm paying >$200K for a couple of garage spots in the city. Pony up. All things considered, the cost of paying the tickets monthly for the parking isn't all that bad at all.

Magoo’s go go gadget car conveniently transforms into a briefcase. All Magoo has to say is “go go gadget car turn into a briefcase” and presto. Magoo.

Who the hell told you to live in the North End with a car?