Double parking is as much a part of Southie’s culture as Castle Island and the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.  

Everybody has done it at one time or another.  Some people do it once in a while.  Others do it several times a day.  But not everybody knows how to do it. I know it is illegal to double park and any time you do it, you risk getting a ticket.  Parking regulation notwithstanding, there are some unofficial rules to double parking. With that in mind, I present to you some of my double parking dos, don’ts, and observations. These are just my opinions and completely open to debate.

Good for business

The street with the most double parkers is Broadway. Double parking on Broadway is good for many of the businesses so it is mostly tolerated by parking enforcement officials.  This is because many people are just running in to a business for something quick.  The Java House for a cup of coffee or the ATM for money for a cup of coffee. These are acceptable double parking errands.  It is not acceptable to double park for extended amounts of time and go into stores where you either can’t see your car or hear the person you blocked in beeping to get out.  If you get blocked in by one of these people, you have the right to give them a dirty look and they should accept it with a shameful wave and a sorry.

Double parking on side streets

There are different rules for double parking on the side streets.  Unless you have a driveway, hasn’t everyone had to unload their car of $200 worth of groceries and then park six blocks away down at the beach?  If you have kids, you have probably dropped them off then search for a spot. These drop-offs are acceptable times to double-park and only take a few minutes but there is one rule that often is broken during them.  Do not double park on the opposite side of the street of someone who is already double-parked on the same block, especially if you are on a two-way street.  This seems like common sense but apparently it is not.  If you do this on a one-way street, drivers must traverse from side to side like test drive cars going in and out of cones on the commercials.  Not a big problem.  Do this on a two-way street and drivers will be backing up, beeping the horn, and experiencing mild road rage directed at whomever was the second double parker.  This can be avoided by parking on the same side of the street as the first double-parked car.  Then you only have to listen for the beep of the car you blocked in.

It is also not very smart to double park in front of a bar.  If you’re double parked in front of Tom English’s or the Shamrock Pub, the police might put two and two together and figure out that you are drinking then driving. They usually frown on that.

There’s a fine for that

The gamble you take when double parking is of course a ticket from the police or a meter maid.  The fine for double parking is either $35 or $55.  Apparently the City of Boston thinks it is worse to double park in certain areas.  Sometimes parking enforcement officials allow many double parkers to go un-ticketed.

There is widespread double-parking on certain days and times.  It is okay around schools for morning drop-offs and afternoon pick-ups.  This might cause some frustration for neighbors but it is only for ten or fifteen minutes and at the same time every day.  It is also okay to double park in front of a church or funeral homes during many services.  This is mostly predictable but unless you want to interrupt a wedding or funeral, you might get blocked in for an hour.

Street cleaning

The craziest days of un-ticketed double parking are street sweeping days.  Since there are more cars than parking spots in most areas of Southie, it is acceptable to double park to allow the sweeper to get all the way to the curb.  So while transportation department cars, public works pick-up trucks and private tow trucks fly up and down the streets ticketing in record numbers and towing in record times, your car is safe if it is double parked.

So double parking is good for business, parents of school kids, people going to church, and helps keep streets clean. If done the right way, double-parking can make your life easier with little inconvenience to your neighbors.  
Newest Southie double parking situation? The overnight double park. Out of sheer frustration with the Southie parking crisis, people have abandoned the quest for a parking spot and have chosen to double park all night long.  Not sure how I feel about this.  I’ve been tempted to do a few times myself but have not.  What do you think, Southie?
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  1. Jon Ramos October 21, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Double parking on a side street… ok, that’s not too bad, because there is far less traffic, and its more often than not a one way street.  Stating that it is ok to double park Broadway you are unwittingly risking the lives of bicyclists who now need to go way out into the lane to get around a double parked vehicle.  Drivers often don’t have the patience to wait for a cyclist to go around a double parked vehicle and motorists often feel entitled to pass the cyclist at any time.  So now you have a situation where a passing vehicle is going around a double parked car, and a cyclist, and so now that passer is well into the other side of the Broadway and trying to maneuver quickly to avoid the oncoming traffic…  needless to say bad decisions happen and the cyclist or pedestrian pays the price.  Its not worth a cyclist’s life so that a double parker can save 1 minute while running into a liquor store or getting a cup of coffee.  Please don’t ENCOURAGE double parking, its illegal for a reason.

  2. Anonymous November 27, 2012 at 2:26 am

    Hmmm….has anyone ever seen any cyclists on this part of Broadway?   Same rules of the road apply….if a car needed to go around a double parked vehicle, you wait until it’s safe to do so.

  3. Malena November 27, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    “Only in Southie.” Love it!

  4. seanB November 28, 2012 at 2:12 am

    If you dont like the fact that cars are double parked on broadway go ride your bike somewhere else.We have been doing this long before this nonsense about putting bike paths up in down every street.I rode my bike in southie for 30 years and never had a problem.The fact that these bicycles are in such a rush is the real problem,why is it more important for you to get where you are going before me ? .This is essential for businesses to exist I am sure you will understand this when Starbucks opens on broadway.Just because their is a law on the books doesnt neccessarily mean it should be enforced {jury nullification}.So my understanding is you are one of those people who believe minority rule even if a vast majority of Bostonians double park you wanna change the rules for that one bicycle.That might work in Cambridge where your people have multiple parking lots but not in South Boston.I bet you are the same guy who complained about the leash law but now lets your dog run wild up Mst park .If I knew just taking my kid to a park would run you off so easily I would have had more kids .take care

  5. Jacinda November 28, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Flood Square hardware has sadly closed up shop for awhile. Also, be wise when you double park on side streets! Avoid what happened years ago when fire engines didnt have access to a house fire and a young girl died!!

  6. Scott Sayman November 29, 2012 at 12:22 am
    Definitely a privilege I enjoy, and you’re right- only in Southie. Makes life easier. I hope it never changes and can’t disagree with the comment above me more. Bicycles should stay in Brookline and Cambridge- along with their ruthless meter maids.
  7. Pat lavey December 1, 2012 at 9:10 pm
    Double parking on broadway is and always will be a way of life here in south Boston.there are certain streets you will learn that while you are free to give it try it is not recommended that you ride your bicycle on,and sorry to say broadway is one of with that remember always wear your helmet.
  8. Anonymous January 4, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    I don’t even ride a bike, and I’m 100% guilty of double parking but  not for nothing, if there were more people riding bikes instead of driving, we might have more available parking spots in Southie.  And just because something has been a certain way since the beginning of time, doesn’t mean it should stay that way forever.  That argument is absurd.   If that were true, I couldn’t vote and I’d be at home cleaning and getting ready to make dinner for my husband every single night.  (Some may argue that should still be the case…I say if that’s how you feel, go live in Iran.)

  9. Anonymous January 4, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Bikers…want to be cars when its convenient to follow traffic rules and want to be pedestrians when they don’t feel like dealing with cars. And double parking was definitely NOT made illegal with bikers in mind…get a life and hop on a side street.

  10. Hardly Comparable January 12, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    The argument between double parking in Southie and not being able to vote seem pretty dramatic and far fetched. Way to take a perfectly respectable/good opinion and make yourself seem less credible. 

  11. Double Parking Anger October 25, 2013 at 4:02 pm
    The person who double parks on my street OVERNIGHT, yes overnight should read this and he NEVER gets a ticket. Annoying!
  12. Anonymous October 25, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    I completely disagree with the school pick-up/drop off.  You parents who do this should be aware of YOUR times and not the people who are LEGALLY parked.  I have had to sit and wait on more than occassion for a child to be picked up because parents think it’s social hour and show up much too early to get their child(ren).  And on more than 1 occasion, been given an attitude by the ILLEGAL parked owner.  This entire subject is ridiculous.  If you double park, ANYWHERE, be aware of your surroundings and know that YOU are always going to be wrong when called out on it!

  13. Anonymous October 25, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Bravo! I second that.

  14. south boston resident October 26, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Excellent observations Mr. Gailunis. You got the rules of double-parking down pat!

  15. Moderndancerkb October 26, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    i dont mind is usually i just mind it when there is a actual parking space that i can use and people double park right in front of it…. NOT COOL

  16. Dude November 3, 2013 at 4:47 pm
    I enjoyed your perspective, and you made sense until you started talking about leash laws. Quit while you’re ahead, or risk looking like an idiot.
  17. Rachel April 23, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    I’m fine with customers double parking when they need to pick up a pizza, coffee, etc. But what is REALLY annoying is when delivery drivers double park in front of their restaurant for 30 min to 45 min at a time waiting for their next delivery. AND the worst part? THEY PARK IN FRONT OF EMPTY SPOTS so I can’t even park my car. ANNOYING and RUDE. 

  18. Anonymous April 23, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Don’t Bike up Broadway!  Use Silver or Athens!!!  I bike all the time and use the side streets with lesser traffic.

    I have no desire to bike down Broadway.

  19. Henry Ford April 24, 2014 at 9:27 am
    Bikes were invented so you wouldn’t have to walk, cars were invented so you wouldn’t have to ride a bike. Ask your parents to buy you a Land Rover.
  20. Anonymous April 24, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Hey Peter, why don’t you mention your self entitled cop neighbor who parks his white Ford Expedition all night in front of his house on M Street. You write an article for all of Southie to follow, but you can’t get your own neighbors to go along with the spirit of the article?

  21. Amy April 24, 2014 at 7:12 pm
  22. Sanjida Shanta January 22, 2015 at 5:30 am

    Double parking on a side is not too bad.Bikers want to be cars when its convenient to follow traffic rules.Double parking was definitely not made illegal.

    .Cheap Parking.

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