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Space-saver wars: City picks them up, residents just put out new ones

Where the space saver complaints come from: South Boston, East Boston, Charlestown

Hot spots for space-saver complaints, 2/14-2/16. Source. See it larger.

From Tuesday through Thursday of this week, Boston's 311 system received 753 complaints about space savers, including this one from Russell Street in Charlestown:

PWD had taken the space savers away earlier however people have put out new ones

The city responded:

We are continuing to remove space savers both DPW and Sanitation. We both are trying to get them all and will continue to do so. Thank you for your patience! -

The city used the same response for dozens of other complaints - often accompanied by before and after photos of streets in time of snow wars - although in the case of the Russell Street complaint, it added a photo of pickup loaded with space savers:

Pickup full of space savers

A resident urged fast action at Burt and Washington streets in Dorchester:

Constituent reports there has been a war on her street over space savers and she'd like them all picked up to end it once and for all.

A resident of Holworthy Street in Roxbury pleaded for similar action:

chairs, tables, cones, barrels, constituents don't believe ban is over and are fighting for spaces. Could turn violent.

One resident of East 3 Street in South Boston complained about getting unfairly blamed for moving a neighbor's space saver:

i not move her space saver, she spoke to me very angrily accusing me that i did! Parked anyway but now the barrells are back after leaving.

People who depend on help from others complained, as did one resident of Ruthven Street in Roxbury:

Constituent is elderly and her nurse can't come to her house and help her.

At least one Dorchester resident filed a complaint about the people filing complaints:

All these people complaining about space savers. If your ass was out there shoveling for several hours after working 10 hours a day. U would have a space saver too! Stop the complaining already!

Ed. note: Yes, the map at the top cuts off the southern third of the city. Not a slight; just there were relatively few complaints from there.

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Comments

Until someone is stabbed or murdered over a spacesaver? Should we get a Uhub pool going?

Question for he lawyers, since the city sanctioned this with written policy, can people go after them for damage and personal harm liability?

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Too late. Someone was already shot over a space saver. The mayor is apparently fine with it.
http://www.necn.com/news/new-england/1-Person-Shot-in-Dorchester-Section...

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in light of the issue where folks are putting out more after the officials remove, I think Maarty needs to reexamine the policy. I think it may be time to do away with the entire thing 'cause, gosh darn it, people just can't play nice.

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government sponsored anarchy resulted in tragedy and people acting like buffoons?

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Who spends hours shoveling a 15' by 6' foot spot, that was probably mostly uncovered anyways because a car was there when it snowed. Get over it. Shoveling a spot one time doesn't give you domain over public property till spring.

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This last big snow storm was wet, heavy, and persistent. Yes it did take a couple of hours for this 64 year old man to shovel my porch and stairs, my walkway, the sidewalk in front of my house and 2 spaces for myself and my partner, including all the snow pushed up on my car by the snowplows.

And yes, we use space savers, and most of my neighbors do too. We are not on the map, evidently because we don't complain,and the space saver system works just fine for us.

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I think what you'll find on UHUB is a very vocal group who doesn't necessarily live anywhere near the urban core or drive. Basically, they have no investment in it, but won't pass up the opportunity to complain. The space saver system certainly isn't perfect and it gets abused, for sure. With that said, it works quite well on blocks where parking is available for those who put in the work. Sometimes the only shortage of parking is due to spots that need to be dug out, and these are the stories you never hear about.

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How many tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars are being spent to clean up the mess that the lazy, entitled, criminal space saver scumbags create? Start charging for parking permits already. Enough hand outs to these people. Maybe $500 a year. It's below market value but it's a start.

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Start at 350 a year. That's less than a dollar a day! Call now and the city will throw in a Superbowl commemorative pass holder!

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For what it's worth, if I was Adam I wouldn't let you call people you disagree with scumbags,. When you attack like that, it just shows us you have the emotional maturity of Donald Trump.

I, and virtually everyone else in my neighborhood, use space savers. We are not lazy entitled criminal scumbags as you suggest. I live near a T Station just south of the map, and we have the problem of a lot of commuters who park on our streets and take the T, which even without the snow puts pressure on the number of available parking spaces. We use space savers after a storm and the system works just fine. I am not aware of any fights, or notes, or vandalism as a result of space savers being used in my neighborhood and I have lived here for many years.

If you lived on my street, and if you had a car, of course you would use a space saver. I am only aware of one time in recent years that the city picked up the space savers, and I think that's because a certain area just became a dumping ground for used tires and an old toilet. If the city picks up my space saver I will absolutely put out a new one, but in my neighborhood we don't complain, and the city does not pick up the space savers , because the system works.

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It would be a handout to the wealthy.

Talk of "charge market rates for X, and let the market determine the optimal resource allocation" originates with people for whom "optimal" effectively means "more for me and people like me".

If you think there's anti-wealthy-newcomer sentiment now, imagine that they get the on-street parking effectively reassigned to them disproportionately, through fees that are insignificant to them, but hurt long-term residents.

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I have lived in cities that charge for street parking permits (Chicago charged $90/year when I lived there in 2006, they probably charge even more now). I can safely say that I did not hear this sentiment uttered a single time.

On street parking is a service that costs money to provide. Car owners should have to pay to use that service, otherwise the non-car-owners are effectively subsidizing the car owners, and also people tend to waste things that they get for free. The fact that rich people can get more of it is true for everything else (including basic necessities like FOOD), why should parking be an exception?

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It looks like the non-Bostonian residents who have no idea what it is like to park n the City during a snowstorm are the loudest whiners about cars and parking.

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Kinopio, you are a car-hating dork with a real apparent chip on your shoulder, but you're right on this one. The city needs to enforce permit parking with some interspersed visitor spots. There are way too many freeloading out of staters dodging Mass excise and insurance rates with no consequence. Space saver abuse is another problem. It's one thing if there's a legitimate snowfall, but some people seize the opportunity to reserve spots beyond the weather limitations. Not everyone saving a spot is a "scumbag", but there's at least a sizable population of lazy and entitled people out there,.

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Some on my st are still using space savers. I used 311 a wk ago and they never picked them up. The city shouldn't allow space savers at all

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Amazing how the map overlays perfectly with the "trashy people per acre" map.

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The heat maps overlays pretty well with population density.

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Yup, the densest people live in those neighborhoods! (zing!)

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It overlays pretty well with how many white people are in the area too. Which is pretty much who thinks they're entitled to public property.

West Roxbury is also really white, but most houses have driveways and/or are far enough apart that more cars than household members fit in front of each one.

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If you ever went through parts of Boston with nonwhite populations after decent snow storms, you will see cones, chairs, and whatnot on streets as common as in other parts. The difference is the griping about it.

My takeaway is that density is the factor on this map. If parking is scarce, residents will be more inclined to gripe about savers, while in West Roxbury mst people have adequate driveways. Places like Roslindale and Hyde Park would be more tolerant of the issue (the editorial position of this website notwithstanding) because the issue is more claiming the usage rights because of sweat equity.

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I live in a traditionally Black neighborhood. There are some space savers, but not in every spot like in Southie or Charlestown. When I did a job where I went to people's homes, it was impossible to go to those neighborhoods in the snow.

The attitude around here is different though. Most space savers are for things like the spot that my teenage neighbors shoveled in front of my elderly disabled neighbor's home so the health aides can park there. The long-time residents -- and the newer people who culturally tend to get to know their neighbors -- would leave it alone without a space saver, but the new young professional types who aren't interested in knowing their non-white neighbors or realizing there's an established community here need something tangible.

I also haven't seen passive-aggressive notes or threats or any of that. I have seen people come out, say excuse me, introduce themselves, and explain that they put a cone in that spot because they carry a ton of heavy stuff to and from work, but there are several spots down the block that no one's been parking in, or you can borrow my shovel. Oh, and the space savers around here tend to have a name and house number written on them, so you can ask the person if you want to use the spot for a while. They aren't anonymous threats like they are some places.

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What if someone needs a home health aide, but wasn't able to space-save a spot before everyone else did?

You can't conflate some people's special need for parking with a justification for hogging a public resource when you're not even using it.

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In my neighborhood in Dorchester, it's a mixed area, definitely not majority white. Space savers are very common, but we are just south of the map, so I guess complaints are close to non-existent. As Waquoit mentions, we respect sweat equity. And I am not aware of any fights or nasty notes or arguements. Space Savers work in my neighborhood.

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perhaps it's a correlation to the ethnicity of people who live in the area. i know here in chelsea, 99% of the space savers i saw in use were by hispanic people.

i just carry my shovel in my trunk. it's easier than dealing with stupid people.

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This is about being white???? Sorry I don't think so.

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These comments personify the typical d-bag that follows your site and how big of one you are Adam for allowing the comment through. Nice job.

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I realize how hard it is for a Southie tough guy like you to say anything nice about somebody or something on the other side of 93, so I really appreciate it.

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You let people call others trash and I guess I will go down to your level. I never said I was from southie, I was just seeing if you would bite. That was easy. You're no better than trump with the name calling.

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How do you find the time between teaching those MIT physics classes to comment here?

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I posted this in the last space saver thread this morning but seems appropriate for this one...

IMAGE(https://s32.postimg.org/rpy5m6j5h/patriots_day_poster_9.jpg)

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Nah, I'm waiting for his Superbowl LI movie: Another Patriots Day

He'll play a fictionalized, composite character (he's QB, coach AND owner's son).

Mysteriously, the role of Martellus Bennett will be left out of the cast.

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Wahlberg will be both the quarterback and the wide receiver, in the same play.

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i cant think of a more toxic and pathetic group of people than those who claim they own some piece of the street because they shoveled it.

oh wait, i can, its the people that get violent over it.

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It starts with a "toxic and pathetic group of people" who genuinely feel they are entitled to their space no matter what, then you have another group of people who see them doing it so figure they might as well join in, then you have everyone else who only do it because they know if they don't there will be nowhere for them to park. I think the majority of people would be more than happy to see the practice abolished, even if they currently partake in it

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In your scenario you entire leave out the portion of people who refuse to participate in such childish nonsense. I don't know how big a group that is, however.

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Bunch of children making fools of themselves.

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on everyone's dime...

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We can pretty much get anything collected for free with curbside pickup.

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Yep, we can get most anything picked up here for free. Furniture, mattresses, appliances are fine. Anything the city deems industrial or construction waste won't get picked up at all, and hazardous stuff requires a call to the city or visit to a dropoff site and there's a limit per household per year.

I gotta say though, as much as I think that space savers need to fuck off, it was pretty brilliant during one of the city's massive space saver sweeps a couple years ago, when people started using CRT monitors, air conditioners, cans of paint thinner and motor oil, and boxes of drywall debris as space savers. If they won't pick it up, you get to keep your space saver. If they do, you got rid of stuff with no effort.

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There a really simple solution to this stupidity. Street cleaning should be all year long so that cars are moved regardless If there's no snow, as was typical most of winter just send in the street cleaners. If there is snow on ground you send in plows so that all spaces are effectively cleared. This would end the spacer saver nonsense. Free up spaces and make winter parking more efficient Jdf02as well.

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So where do the cars park when it's snowing?

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Boston already allows people to park in garages and lots for a few bucks or free during a snow emergency:

https://www.boston.gov/departments/311/snow-emergency-parking

They would just need to open more of these if every street was one-side-only. They could use school lots, park lots, etc.

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And many streets have no street sweeping whatsover.
Enacting and enforcing these rules when there isn't even snow will just make parking worse more often.

School lots need to be plowed fully so busses, teachers and kids have access when school opens.

A lot of ideas are thrown around but have there ever been any studies done on how much this stuff would cost and what the real results would be?

I think it's a tempest in a teapot personally. Neighbors argue over where sidewalk snow goes and trash problems.
They argue over fences and pets.

I'd like to see savers go away but I'd like my tax dollars used for more important stuff and I don't want my taxes going up over this.

Simplest solution is to rescind the 48 hours rule and just pick up savers when trash day comes. In the winter start enforcing the 72 hour rule on moving cars.

No real additional expenses and improved parking for all.

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Somerville does it. I seem to recall it working pretty well there...

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The problem with that is if the storm happens on your street cleaning day it would be four weeks of space savers before it's cleared. Plus, not all neighborhoods have street cleaning, even in places where space savers are common.

The real solution involves a better system of snow removal for major storms. The first full day after a snow emergency ends there should be a parking ban on the odd or even side of the street from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m (excluding snow emergency routes so people can move their cars there if needed) so they can clear snow to the curb and the following day they can do the other side of the street. Two days after the storm and there is no excuse for space savers and they shouldn't be allowed for anything short of a snow emergency.

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Why aren't we using those things? This heat map tells us exactly where they should be deployed. Montreal has done the legwork for us of figuring out a system to clear one side of the street of cars at a time so they can haul the snow away. We've got the equipment. Each of those machines can do about 6 blocks (both sides of the street) per hour, by this point we should have all of the problem areas cleaned to the curb.

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is the same as Menino's. Until the City gets serious about REMOVIING the snow, instead of plowing it from intersection to intersection, then people will continue to use space savers. City Hall should get off their lazy asses and look how other cities deal with snow. And they can do it from their lazy ass desks on Google.
You also have numerous vehicles which haven't moved since the first storm that are covered with snow and should be towed off the streets the same as removing space savers.

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I thought the city bought giant snow melters, not snow-blowers. (I think. Maybe they have both?) But on Twitter, I only see them working the old-fashioned way, with front-end-loaders.

I believe they've mostly working on main streets like Mass Ave. It makes sense to clear major corners, bus stops, bike lanes, etc. But yeah, they also need to clear side-streets as this thread indicates.

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I'd love to find some hard numbers on this, and wouldn't be surprised if the data is released if this keeps up, but it's a reasonable assumption that sending public works around to pick up space savers in the first place costs quite a bit of money. Sending them a second or third time costs even more. And if this has to happen after every significant snowfall, it really adds up.

And who will be the first ones to complain when taxes go up because of these increased costs? These selfish, entitled people who, despite the city having a clearly stated policy (which is a more than fair compromise on the issue), do whatever they want and make up excuses for it (in my neighborhood, "the way we've always done it" and "respect" are the terms that get thrown around).

The city either needs to end space savers, or regulate them in a way that enables fines for "unauthorized" use. The latter idea would be much better, as you could use it to ensure residents are the ones getting parking spots, and it would be easier to combat those who are stuck 20 years in the past and think they can just do whatever they want.

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Selfish,entitled people? Actually most of my neighbors are pretty generous and humble here in South Boston and we all use space savers. And when I see that my elderly neighbor has left her chair out two days too long it doesn't bother me at all.

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The city has a posted policy. Period. I don't care how long things have been done any which way, it's selfish entitlement when people are putting new savers out even after the old ones are taken by the city. And when people are vandalizing cars over a parking spot, that makes them selfish, entitled criminals. Period. And the things I see neighbors saying and doing to each other is just sad and pathetic.

I've long been a proponent of a city-managed system with uniform savers tied to registrations, and would even be in favor of some sort of preferential parking program for elderly drivers, somewhere between handicapped parking and a moving/work permit during the winter months.

In the meantime, if you're really going to use elderly neighbors as an excuse to claim a spot for the entire winter, maybe you should just be good neighbors and make sure if she isn't in it, someone else who could move their car later is.

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She should talk to her doctor and get a handicap placard, then talk to the city and get a convenient space marked off.

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Actually she does and it is. My point is that we are all getting along fine.

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for your little pocket of Southie. I think we have enough evidence that the city as a whole is not getting along fine.

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I wouldn't say that "we have enough evidence that the city as a whole is not getting along fine," but there are definitely sections where there is a problem.

There is no "one size fits all" answer to this issue. It is great when a community like the South End can come together and decide to ban space saying after snow storms, but that won't fly in Southie.

Honestly, while one sees the color map bright yellow in parts of the city, few complaints allegedly are coming from Roslindale, Hyde Park, and Mattapan, where one can see cones and whatnot (my favorite of late has been a cozy coupe marking a space. And I will note that it is in better space than the coupe rotting in our backyard, and our kids are roughly the same age) saving spots even today, days after the last storm. You tailor policies to locations and severity of events.

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Do they have a significantly higher concentration of off-street parking than "hot spot" neighborhoods? Serious question, because I've never really spent enough time in either to know the answer. A quick look at both on Google Maps seems to show a lot of driveways and other off-street parking, but I know that's not reliable.

Obviously the issue will affect neighborhoods with less off-street parking and higher population densities more, but these are also the neighborhoods where most of the reported threats and/or vandalism tend to come from. I'd think a resolution that would work in these areas would fit the others.

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But the lower 3 neighborhoods (minus West Roxbury) have more cars than driveway space. I have a driveway, but the 2 triple deckers next to us have no off street parking at all. They're the kind of places where some residents have to park on street, but they don't have to spend time driving around looking for a space.

Of course, there is more neighborhood stability out this way, so if someone either grabbed "your" space or retaliated for whatever reason, you'd know who did it, at least by sight.

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Could turn violent.

Traffic cones are orange, so it checks out.

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Now in Boston you can put out your trash every day! Just put it in a parking spot.

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Makes good news but they didn't collect most savers in South Boston. When I was leaving my home I saw the truck and they quickly grabbed some savers but left many behind.

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We use them, to be sure, but we don't whine like a bunch babies with dirty diapers, and we are not on Adam's heat map. We like space savers. They work just fine.

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it brought back a lot of bad memories of people stealing my spots! space savers (chairs, recycle bins and a baby blue baby bathtub!) everywhere. stuff just thrown onto piles of snow. I think you should at least shovel out a full proper spot if you are going to stake a claim. I quietly re-arranged all the space savers into different spots along the street while no one was looking. I put some of them on random piles of snow and some i moved down 4 or 5 houses and to the other side of the street. I really miss the old neighborhood.

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it brought back a lot of bad memories of people stealing my spots! space savers (chairs, recycle bins and a baby blue baby bathtub!) everywhere. stuff just thrown onto piles of snow. I think you should at least shovel out a full proper spot if you are going to stake a claim. I quietly re-arranged all the space savers into different spots along the street while no one was looking. I put some of them on random piles of snow and some i moved down 4 or 5 houses and to the other side of the street. I really miss the old neighborhood.

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The correct title should be "Rat Bastards". The 311 App has created a new generation of self-entitled rats who cannot carry on a social conversation with their neighbors. Passive aggressive reporting their neighbors to the City, who obviously are not doing their municipal jobs.

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it brought back a lot of bad memories of people stealing my spots! space savers (chairs, recycle bins and a baby blue baby bathtub!) everywhere. stuff just thrown onto piles of snow. I think you should at least shovel out a full proper spot if you are going to stake a claim. I quietly re-arranged all the space savers into different spots along the street while no one was looking. I put some of them on random piles of snow and some i moved down 4 or 5 houses and to the other side of the street. I really miss the old neighborhood.

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I get knocked down, but I get up again
You are never gonna keep me down
I get knocked down, but I get up again
You are never gonna keep me down
I get knocked down, but I get up again
You are never gonna keep me down
I get knocked down, but I get up again
You are never gonna keep me down

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That's on Spotify's current Throwback Thursday playlist, and was/is playing when I read this comment.

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"If your ass was out there shoveling for several hours"

I don't know where this person is shoveling, but it's not Boston.

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It's been my first real winter in East Somerville, since last year was very mild, but after having lived in Boston proper for a decade, I have been surprised at the lack of space savers out here. Yeah, we're not Southie, but people shovel out their car and then go on their merry way. Everyone else does the same, and how about that, there is street parking for everyone when they need it

Still see a few here and there, but it's very much the exception rather than the rule.

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