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The Unofficial Rules for Saving a Spot

Winter is upon us and we’d like to take a moment and review the time honored Boston tradition of saving parking spots during a snowstorm. Check out our video Heather + Maureen did for NBC10 Boston here! 

Before we even begin – a snow emergency must be declared in the city of Boston!

Let’s go over the “rules” agreed upon by our ancestors:

  1. You can’t put something in your spot until AFTER the snowstorm is over.  I understand how inconvenient it is if you have to go to work or a party or wherever and won’t be back until after all the spots on the streets are claimed and you end up five blocks away from your house – but you can’t “hold” your spot until you get back – that’s just bad manners.  It follows the same sentiment as Rule #2
  2. If you did not shovel out your car, you cannot keep the spot.  Self-explanatory, right?  Wrong.   How many times have you seen somebody drive their car out of a spot without shoveling any snow and put a barrel there? Not cool.  You must shovel.
  3. If you move someone’s space saver and park your car in its place, you have no right to complain about what happens to your car.  (Although if someone has prematurely saved a spot – see Rule 1 – you can move it.)
  4. The City allows for space savers up to 48 hours after a storm.  This is just a guideline – not a law.  Don’t be the guy who keeps putting out the spot saver until the spring.  Nobody likes that guy.  If it’s a blizzard with over 20 inches of snow – maybe 48 hours isn’t long enough.  Be respectful of your neighbors.
  5. After the 48 hours are over, the City will pick up any space savers still left out.  Seize this opportunity to get rid of anything laying around your house you want to get rid of i.e. radiators, foosball tables, mattresses, old televisions, whatever you want to get rid of.  Just put it in your space and the City will haul it off.

We hope this review helps make winter a little more bearable and clears up any confusion over spot saving.  Be a good neighbor – take the pledge today!

Happy shoveling!

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Co-host of Caught Up, storyteller, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.


  1. SeanB says

    we need to explain the double parking rule on side streets.For example when I double park on the left side of the street you should also double park on that same side,no need to park 3 feet from your door on opposite side and cause gridlock

  2. Anonymous says

    Also, no parking on the sidewalk!  Double parking is one thing, but parking on sidewalk on a small side street – not OK.

  3. Kate says

    Number 1 is paramount!   Love the ‘my sister’s cousin’s nephew is coming to visit’!  That would be E 7th Street… but can’t beat #5… I have two big #%!TVs that need to go… try to wait for recycle day, but….

  4. Kate says

    I agree totally with number one… the ‘ saving for me sister’s best friend’s cousin’s mother’ gets old…that’s for E 7th Street.  Though I am looking forward to # 5….Kate

  5. DotRat says

    Have to confess broke that one. House next to Marion Manor….had to it was 7:00 am shift change, wanted that spot to unload the grceries. Don’t feel bad no guilt there over 60 allows for the breach. It’s an age thing.


  6. adl says

    Disagree with rule number 1!  If you’ve shoveled you get to save it…as long there is at least like 5-6 inches already down.


  7. Rule 4 says

    Rule 4 is for lazy people who like to screw up the process for everyone else.  If everyone obeyed the 48 hr rule, parking would be much more managable.

  8. notayup says

    this storm was absolutely NOT parking spot saver worthy. If you could drive out of your spot without shoveling (and basically even a toddler on a tricycle could) then you have no claims on the spot. Unwritten rule is a “snow emergency” or at least 10 inches of snow, then sure yea throw a cone/beach chair in that spot. But not for a 6 inch dusting. If someone takes your cone and throws it on the sidewalk too bad, shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

  9. Kevin says

    No one wants to shovel and everyone with a car had to. Stupid rules!!! You get no claim to anything because you shoveled.
  10. Miss Southie says

    If you shoveled the spot you “ABSOLUTLEY” own it for a few days.  Different cars = different sizes.  If you have a Camry and I have a Sienna, how the hell would you like me to get MY car into YOUR spot?  The spaces are custom sized at this point.  If you think these are stupid rules you must be new to the neighborhood.  When you’ve ived here for 42 years and have been shoveling for most of those years then let me know how you feel about being able to save your space.  If you don’t want to abide by the rules then go buy a house in the burbs with a driveway!

  11. Guy says

    Obviously you’re not from Southie. And that’s fine. I understand people move here and stuff. But its not just Southie that has the spot savers. If you put in the work to clear a spot then why do you feel it’s alright for someone to take the spot you worked hard to clear when that person did not? Wouldn’t you feel slighted at work if you did the job but your co-worker got credit. I know that we will agree to disagree on this topic but I felt like I should put in the 2 cents for people that have actually lived here their whole lives.

  12. Ganja Gooball says

    Noticed a bunch of spot savers moved to the side on East Third Street. Finally, we have a Robinhood of snowstorm parking. Hide your cones, hide chairs. 


  13. OFS says

    You need to get a life you have been crying about saving parking spots for the last two weeks if you don’t like it move this is how thing have been for as long as I remember an parking is going to stay the same for the next life time if you don’t like it move to the south end or back to Ipswich no one needs you in are neighborhood.
  14. janice says

    These rules are clear…

    If you did not shovel it…you hve no caim to it…..No spot savers until after you shoveled your car out


  15. Mark says

    You clowns crack me up with the term “Yuppies”.  As though anyone with a decent job who moved to the neighborhood is somehow beneath you. BTW – your post makes absolutely no sense.  What does any of this have to do with living here for your whole life? You act like shovelling out a spot is a week’s worth of work. You could always get a job and buy a parking spot like I did, but I understand moving out of your parent’s house might be a bridge too far.

  16. Anonymous says

    It’s pretty irresponsible for a media outlet to condone vandalism in this day in age.  I would think a better argument would be that people taking spaces may be putting their good neighbor or perhaps an elderly person in a very difficult position with potentially dangerous weather outside.

    Shame on Caught in Southie for perpetuating the feeling that damage can be done to personal property because it snows out.

  17. Anonymous says

    Whether it’s a snow emergency or not. I have been going down the streets and kicking out comes and chairs and spot savers! The unfounded arrogance and this “mine,mine,mine” attitude of the “old-timers” is disgusting.
  18. Anonymous says

    Whether it’s a snow emergency or not. I have been going down the streets and kicking out comes and chairs and spot savers! The unfounded arrogance and this “mine,mine,mine” attitude of the “old-timers” is disgusting.
  19. DOT-OFD says

    A friend of mine just posted on Facebook that he was upset that he spent two hours shoveling out a spot and someone is now parked in it. He left the spot to go to the store and didnt put a chair or a cone or a toaster out to save the spot. He returned a few hours later and he is now upset that someone took the spot and he is watching out the window to identify the perpetrator that took his spot. Is he serious? He says that whoever this person is visiting in the neighborhood should have asked them where they parked and let them know they shouldnt have parked there. REALLY? Is this guy serious? I would love to hear what others think. I think he is CRAZY!
  20. Anonymous says

    …spot savers on the sidewalks?  I’ve seen spots open but there’s what looks like a spot saver on the side of the road, not in the spot.  What’s the verdict – safe to park?

    Also note that I’m not contributing to this southie-born vs “yuppies” argument because it’s ridiculous.  Whether you were born here or you chose to live here, we’re all Southie residents, braving the storms and parking wars together.

    Anyways, actually looking for opinions on this. Looking forward to responses and hoping my car doesn’t get keyed!


  21. Anonymous says

    My husband didn’t save our shoveled out space yesterday when he went to work. Came home to find a chair in the spot. Ironically, the folding chair looked a lot like ours so he thought I saved the space for him…only to realize there was an extra chair on the front porch. Someone in our neighborhood placed a chair in a completely cleaned out spot…bare pavement… that they never even touched. Who does that?!?

  22. Johny Harvard says

    to my neighbor who left his spot with a dusting on the ground this morning, put out a cone, and thought he owned the spot – not so.

    I moved the cone and parked there and intend to put the real labor in and shovel once the snow actually hits.

  23. annie says

    Shame on those for putting space savers into spots already shovelled out. How self-centered can you be? This goes for L St and Day Blvd that have been plowed by the city. How can you justify saving a spot when the city plowed it? Any open spot is just that—an open spot for anyone. We need this problem fixed, and one way to start is to have parking garages built in stead of one more condo building.

  24. SoBro says

    What if I spray paint ILY ( I lothe Yuppies) on the cone, batterie, chair, refridgeator box, rash bag, etc? Can Billy Bakers father offer some more dumb ass advice?

  25. Anonymous says

    being a southie resident all my life. with all going on with people putting cones before a storm and weeks after shoveling,my opinion is no more claiming a spot. if you don’t want to lose your spot don’t move your car wait tilll spring

  26. Anonymous says

    This makes absolutely no sense? How can you own a piece of government pavement? No one “owns” rights to any space officially or unofficially unless they have a driveway which they purchased or rent. The whole saving spaces debate is senseless.
  27. SoBoYuppie says

    and dropping out of HS has been a long time Southie tradition.  Should we continue that too?

  28. SoBoYuppie says

    The fewer the years one has lived in South Boston the more credibility they have.  It usually means the person has experienced the world outside of 128, has a good education, isn’t mad at the world, doesn’t do drugs, doesn’t break into cars, doesn’t rob banks, doesn’t assualt ppl…etc

  29. SoBoYuppie says

    Why do life long residents think the parents of all these yuppies bought condos?  If the family had that kind of money they would be living in Back Bay, South End or Beacon Hill.  I guess when you are so low on the socioeconmic ladder (like life long southie residents are) even someone who is middle class appears to be uber rich. 

  30. Anonymous says

    Are nothing but a bunch of self centered haters and bigots. Read all the comments from the Yups and Newbies. No wonder why you can't get along with your neighbors.

  31. Anonymous says

    Why does it take so long for comments on articles to be posted? I know you are a small operation but I see that you are posting on Twitter so you are on the internet.  Also, it would be helpful it you posted the date/time a comment was made. Universal Hub has a good comment sytem. Take a look. 

  32. real douthie says

    I walk down the street throwing them.this is a southie rule..yuppies and puppies don’t count..
  33. chad willington says

    You’re a clown. Glad your parents worked hard to get you where you are’ll never be excepted here…just a peice of the yuppie puzzle trying to fit in..have a good day chad the yuppie
  34. Hypocrite-catcher says

    So you want a guaranteed spot for your work with a shovel? Guess you should take your own advice and head for the ‘burbs and its driveways.
  35. Anonymous says

    I'm all about the space savers within reason. You take the time and effort to dig out a car, then by all means! However, if everyone respected the 48 hour rule (I even sympathize with the blizzard a little longer), life would be a lot easier. I was one of those people who moved my car to the emergency lot during the blizzard because of where I was parked originally. Since everyone is still saving spots, I had to move it again to the lot. Again. Doesn't seem fair I guess. 

    This yuppie versus old timers banter is ridiculous. We're all neighbors. Let's help each other out and respect each other. 

  36. No spot saving says

    Who exactly are you saving the spot from?

    You neighbor?  Where was his/her car before the storm? 

    Everyone who lives here had to dig out their car.  Yes, a handful of folks maybe were away and came back.  Sucks they get to take all your hard work.

    The rest of the people you're being an asshole to are just like you:  Live here.  Had to dig out their car.

    You have absolutely NO right to "claim" public parking just because you happened to dig that spot out.  We all did.  Get over it.

  37. snowy says

    I am actually a long time resident of boston and completely agree and have always felt that this space saving is absurd.  the idea of Boston holding the olympics, which is supposed to be a celebration of worldwide unity and harmony,  is kind of hilarious when this innate selfishness persists.  there is an exquisite irony in the notion of a city that can't get its own citizens around via public transportation or have people on one street exist peacefully without coming to blows over parking host something of this magnitude.  ludicrous…and stop with the construction all over the city as well.  we are at maximum capacity!!!

  38. sidewalk sam says

    maybe they are laying claim to the sidewalk and you are not allowed to walk on it anymore.

    nothing would surprise me.  i am going over to the bank now to put a cone on the atm machine because i shoveled around it and it is mine…

  39. Bill says

    Been here all my life and couldn't disagree with space savers more. You're simply being rewarded for managing to find a spot before it snows and nothing more. If I have to drive to work and a parking ban gets called I have to park in one of the overflow lots after work. I STILL have to shovel out my space when I get my car but I can't keep my spot. I did the same amount of work as the guy that shoveled out his car on the street. The only difference is that he was lucky enough to get parking on the street and I wasn't. Same labor, different reward.

    And what if I get up early and go shovel out your car and your entire spot? Is it now mine? Yeah, somehow I don't think anyone will agree to that. They're just seizing on the tradition of saving spaces because they selfishly want a space to call their own.

    Parking sucks for everyone. We all have to shovel out our cars and deal with it. Being lucky enough to have parked before a storm shouldn't make your life easier and everyone else's MUCH harder for the rest of the winter.

  40. F your space saver says

    It must be nice to claim things that aren't yours. I am going to start Shoveling out every spot in my neighborhood and claim them all and charge for them. Then when houses are on fire I will hose them down and then claim ownership of the house. That is how this works right? 

    You don't own a space in the street, you chose to drive a car. Buy a spot, but/rent a place with an off street spot or stfu. You don't own anything so stop crying. Bunch of entitled old crabby Bostonians. I will continue to take all savers out of spaces and pike them in one location. You aren't special despite what mommy and daddy told you.