Everyone in Southie knows how difficult the parking situation is in many areas of our neighborhood. If you come home after 6pm, you drive around and around hoping to find a spot within a 10 minute walk from your house. The quest for a parking spot begins with hope. “Maybe I’ll get lucky and find a car just pulling out directly in front of my house,” and hope is quickly replaced with disappointment when there are no spaces in front of your house or on your block for that matter. And so it begins – circling around the first block and then two blocks etc. etc. Sometimes the search turns into a competition when you see other cars circling around the blocks looking up and down the streets. If I find the spot first, I usually give a good fist pump in the air and there’s a feeling of satisfaction like I won a race. If the other person wins, I immediately hate that person and make a mental note to remember their car so if I see them again I can give them a dirty look.
The quest for a parking spot is also filled with frustration. I’m frustrated that it’s not even late and there are no parking spots. I’m frustrated that I’m gonna have to walk 10 blocks to my house which means I’m gonna have to walk those same 10 blocks in the morning back to my car. I’m mostly frustrated by all of the “potential” parking spots. What is a “potential” parking spot? There are several different types of “potential” parking spots. One is when someone parked like a jerk and didn’t pull all the way up to the car in front of them, thus giving themselves a spot big enough for two cars. This is not to be confused with parking spot “jockeying.” This is a strategic maneuver and it appears to be “parking like a jerk” but in actuality you are holding a spot for someone else like your spouse, or roommate or neighbor. When that said person comes home, you pull up your car and “voile” another spot. “Parking like a jerk” just keeps two spots all night long or worse for a few days. In my neighborhood, we once had a “parking like a jerk” incident that lasted a week and a half.
Bus stops. Another potential spot issue that many people talk about is bus stops. Why can’t you park overnight at 50 foot bus stop? I know the state says that it’s a safety issue for people getting on and off the bus. That is just complete nonsense. Buses run about 40 minutes apart at night and there may only be two or three people on each bus. And after midnight they stop running all together. And besides the buses never, ever pull into the curb at stops. There is no reason why cars shouldn’t’ be allowed park at bus stops at night. The law should be amended so there is no parking at bus stops during rush hours – say 7am-10am and then 4pm-7pm. After that, parking at the bus stop should be legit. This would create hundreds of valuable parking spots, especially overnight parking spots. The city would like this new law too because they could give out more tickets. And the tow companies would also love this because they could troll the bus stops during those hours and tow. So the tow company is happy. The city of Boston is happy. And I’m happy because there are a few more spots available to frustrated parkers.
Handicapped parking. Another night-time parking issue is handicapped parking spots. In the two or three blocks around my house there are about 9 handicapped spots. Now I have no problem with handicapped spots or the people who need them. I’m just puzzled as to why at 10pm at night, every single handicapped spot is open. Are all these people out together? And handicapped people must have the best social life because I’ve driven around the block at 2AM and those spots are empty. Is there a handicapped bar that has a very late last call that I don’t know about? Where the heck are they?
McGruff. Although this is one good thing about not having any parking at night – I get to survey my neighborhood and see who’s out at night – sort of a neighborhood watch if you will. So if you see me walking down your darkened city block, don’t walk to other side of the street. It’s just me, your neighbor – walking the 10 blocks back to my house and keeping an eye out for wrong doings and shenanigans at the same time. I’m the local McGruff and I’m taking a bite out of crime while silently cursing city parking.