Monday, March 2, 2015

Parking Savers - A Uniquely Boston Concept

When your street looks like this (everywhere) and it takes 2-4 hours to dig out your car, you get a bit worried about having a parking space when you get home.  So the City of Boston has a policy - if you shovel it - you are allowed to 'claim' that public parking space for 48 hours.   Now how do you do that?  You use "Space Savers".  That means, anything you can stick in the spot to say "Yo - park here and I will key your car, take off your mirror or smash your windshield."  Yes - all that has happened.
Now deck chairs are the most popular savers.  But there are creative people using whatever they have on hand...

And the very best....

Tomorrow officially the extended (very, very extended) saving policy ends and everyone has to take their stuffed animals, chairs, toilets and other crud out of the road!  Just in time for another small storm.  

Only 3" to go to beat the all time record.  This week we are really gunning for it - storm last night, one tomorrow and then another Thursday.  We will have to beat it!

An Update to answer the question - how is it enforced.  The enforcement is by the holder of the spot using nasty means to vandalize the car that takes the spot.  There have been doors removed, windows smashed or very nasty notes.  People right now put notes on their car if they take a spot and beg to be called to move their car immediately if caught by the 'spot owner'.  There is actually an unofficial list of the 'rules' online.   As soon as the mayor puts an end to the 'legality' of the spot saving - it is announced on the TV/radio and the DPW starts picking up the savers that haven't been removed.  

Today's haul:


  1. Okay, everyone at my work here in Melbourne, Australia (where it never snows) are fascinated by this! We have a question:
    How is this rule policed? Upheld? If someone takes your spot can you report them? Please tell us more!

  2. I'm in Japan and saw this on the news. Today's story showed the space savers being picked up and thrown in the garbage truck. The snow Boston is getting this year is normal snowfall for Hokkaido Japan, but it's prepared for it every year.

  3. Sorry, not uniquely Boston. We've had "dibs" in Chicago since I was a kid (50s). People here get creative, too, with the items they use to "hold" their spot. Lately people have gotten really nasty if someone takes their spot--doing real damage. When I lived in the city it was mostly nuisance stuff. (I've seen a car that bogarted a spot be covered in piles of snow--it had to have taken the shoveler longer to cover the car than it did to originally cleaer the spot!) The city's position is that it is not legal to hold a spot you shoveled, but tend to be tolerant during big snows. The snow you guys had is pretty epic--I can't imagine the problems getting around, much less parking!

  4. In Pennsylvania, this is called the "passive-aggressive chair". While technically illegal in most cities, the chairs come out in force after large snow storms.

  5. Yeah, we have the same 'system' of spot saving here in Waterbury, CT...I'm lucky enough to have a driveway, but I've got to get out my old parking cone to put across the street up against the wall of snow opposite my entrance. Our roadway is still 'just wide enough' for someone to park on it and still allow passage of another car. But if someone parks opposite our driveway entrance (which looks sort of like a narrow mountain pass), I can't get the right angle to squeeze into the entrance...We came home this evening to find a big SUV partially blocking our entrance....grrrr. I got in finally, but I 'get it' when people take revenge after they've dug out their area. I'm not sure what kind of damage folks do to parking spot offenders around here - I would not want to find out either! I left a note - not nasty, but I did ask that he PLEASE not park across from a driveway.

    Supposed to be a melt day tomorrow! Yeaaaay! Maybe we'll be seeing bare ground come April...get the feeling it might be by May for you guys; and even though I would not wish any more snow in you, I do hope you get just enough to set a new record - after all this, you deserve it!

  6. Here in balmy Central Texas, my heart goes out to all of you snowbound folks, especially to Tricia! It's bad here when the temperature is in the upper 20's with sleet or ice; which is possible for late tonight and tomorrow morning.Many of us don't drive in these conditions (I'm sure you are laughing!), simply because other drivers refuse to take precautions - like slowing their speed to accommodate ice on the roads. Ah, well, I'm sure you wouldn't want our summers!