The minute snow begins to fall in Boston, the fight for parking spaces is on.
But in the South End, the only space saver you can use to keep your shoveled street parking spot is your car.
Not everyone has gotten the memo on the new policy in the South End.
"People who shovel themselves out have a moral right to that spot. They have invested their sweat equity."-- Mayor Menino, 2005
"What's the only space saver you can use to keep your shoveled parking spot this winter?-- South End Forum, 2015
One question about which people have a strong opinion is whether or not it's okay for people to shovel their parking spaces out and then retain use of city-owned space for some indeterminate period of time thereafter.
The practice has been going on for a long time in the city, but was officially sanctioned by Mayor Menino back in 2005 with a rule allowing one a 48-hour grace period after shoveling a car out. Mayor Walsh, upon taking office, preferred to refer to it as a "guideline" rather than a rule and that guideline is still in effect throughout the city... with the exception of the South End.
The South End Forum came out last year and officially discouraged the practice, but it wasn't until this year that the city hopped on to that and made it official: in the South End, it is no longer permissible to shovel your car out and then homestead the space.
It's very interesting, the multitude of ways that people save spaces. Cones, barrels, chairs; they're fairly commonplace. But Elvis statues, statues of the Madonna - and who'd want to run over one of those? - are also found throughout the city neighborhoods. All interesting means by which people retain use of their spaces.
People have come to blows over this. There have been examples of car tires with holes in them. One 66-year-old man ended up with a broken jaw. And definitely a number of people having cocktail party discussions and not agreeing. I found it really interesting, what makes certain people think they can retain use of the space - almost as if they have taken ownership to it - while other people don't seem to recognize the homesteading aspects, the proprietary claim, which one can assert, having shoveled out one's space.
One thing's for sure, the signs in the South End are clear: the only item you may use following a snowstorm to save your space is a car.
What are your thoughts on this?
Should residents have exclusive rights to the fruits of their labor, or is all fair in love and parking?