The Great Space Saver Debate

January 12, 2018

It's winter again in the Commonwealth, and with that comes a heated debate which has been plaguing city residents all across our state: whose spot IS that anyway?

Do you *own* (at least temporarily) the parking spot that you take the time to shovel out? Or is it every man for himself?

It snows, and it snows a lot. So much so, that business-as-usual has been called off in most corners of the state. Days after the storm, the non-essential personnel wake from their snowy slumber, and head out with shovels in tow to survey their vehicles, parked up and down city streets all over Massachusetts. They dig, and dig, and dig, making small bits of progress, stopping once in a while to pull a glove off with their teeth to check their phones, lest they miss some important Instagram notification. (Guilty.) They hack away at the ice-encased cars and SUVs, each swing of the shovel marking one step closer to vehicular freedom. Finally, there is enough room to pull the car out past the four-foot wall of ice left behind by the plows. They go back to the sidewalk, grab their space saver of choice, put it in the spot, and go about their day. The City of Boston allows you to leave a space saver out 48 hours after the parking ban has ended. After that, it's getting picked up by the trash guys.

I grew up in East Boston, so I think I've seen nearly every possible type of space saver there is. Lawn chairs, traffic cones, and those oak kitchen chairs with the spindles are always popular. Non-working fans and vaccuums are also a common choice. Then you run into the more unique, or at least hard-to-move items, such as air conditioners, refrigerators, toilets, and even the spare fire hydrant that you happen to have lying around in your garage. (I've seen it happen in Revere at least twice.) 

Do you, or do you not have a right to that space? Many will say "yes, yes I do! I did the work! Screw everyone else!" But what about the people that just need to get somewhere? There's already a lack of parking because no one can figure out how to space cars as it is, and now everyone on the street has a space saver out. What about those occasions where there is NO space saver? Is the spot free game? Or do you just not even go there, because you know it could be potentially dangerous? One of the big issues this week is that people have been leaving threatening notes on cars. It's not a *new* issue, by any means, but people are talking about it. Even Boston Mayor Marty Walsh weighed in on the issue:

I certainly enjoy a well-written passive-aggressive note once in a while, and I'd be fine if people left it at that. But to smash windows, slash tires, and key someone's car over it? C'mon. Yeah, it sucks to shovel out a spot and have someone swoop in and take it, but there's no need to damage someone else's property. Just swear and talk about them behind their back like the rest of us.