Wait, Can I Park Here?

There are many wonderful luxuries to living in Boston; Beautiful parks, delicious food, historically-laden streets, high-caliber institutions, the best sports teams around…ask any Bostonian why they love living in Boston and you’ll hear answers across the board. But, if you ask any Bostonian what the worst part about living in Boston is, they will say, “Pahking.”

According to the city of Boston’s official website, there are approximately 7,300 electronic parking meters offering two-hour parking. No one is ever lucky enough to grab one of these coveted spots. The merciless drive around forever, praying to the parking gods that someone will leave. The weak give up and pay an exorbitant fee at a garage. And the fools park in places they’re not supposed to, falling prey to inscrutable parking signs. But is this foolishness or confusion?

How many times do you pull into a wide-open space, about to do a driver’s seat victory shoulder dance, when you suddenly start to second-guess your good luck. Is there an invisible fire hydrant? Is the handicapped sign completely faded you think as you exit your vehicle to read the inscrutable parking sign. For some reason, parking signs in Boston have always been a source of panic, confusion and frustration.

But it’s not for nothing. On Clarendon Street, there are parking signs that say they are reserved for residents, but also say visitors parking. Suffice it to say, if you are ever unsure of a sign that says “Resident parking,” don’t park there. Parking tickets in Boston typically range from $40 to $65, and a ticketing officer will not hold back. They patrol parked cars so well, that after spending two hours on Newbury Street, the longest amount of time it took an officer to issue an intimidating neon orange ticket to an illegally parked car was four minutes.

Boston’s policy of ticketing and towing vehicles is without mercy, so your best bet is to just leave your car in the driveway. But if you do need to park in Boston and find yourself with a ticket, it’s okay to fight the man and not succeed to parking signage ambiguity. A lot of people won’t fight parking tickets because they think they can’t fight city hall, but the ticketing officers might not be as fool-proof as you think. They are human and make mistakes. So when you pull the ticket out of its tight envelope, check for accuracies, specifically on the make of the vehicle, license plate number, address where the infraction happened, accurate date and time, and signature of the officer. If any one of these things is inaccurate, congratulations, you’ve won your case. Even if you’re wrong, you can still write an appeal and hope for the best. That’s what parking in Boston is all about anyways, hoping for the best.

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