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Citizen complaint of the day: Guy insistent on a particular parking spot won't take no for an answer

At 8:02 a.m., a disgruntled citizen filed a 311 report about some major cacophony on Copeland Street in Roxbury:

There's a guy blasting his horn yelling about needing someone to move their car, parked in a legal spot on the road. 20 minutes of yelling and honking. Other residents have told him to knock it off and he's still out here, insisting he gets this spot.




Doesn't matter where someone is from or the color of their skin, here in Boston all kinds of people can be total assholes about on street parking.


The city, state and country spoil drivers. That’s why so many act like entitled babies. Non drivers foot the bill so this obnoxious clown can have “his” free parking.

The city will do nothing about this criminal who is disturbing the peace. There are ways to make sure his car won’t be able to honk. You’d be the hero of the neighborhood if you taught him a lesson.


You’d be the hero of the neighborhood if you taught him a lesson.

No you wouldn’t. You’d be a lawless jackass just like him.


Those were words written by the classic keyboard tough guy, not someone who would actually do anything.


Especially, if I lived there.

Spot on, probably would have esclated into knife play or gun play.

Advocates for safe pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure have been pushing the city for years to enforce private vehicles, UPS, USPS, delivery drivers, parking in bike lanes, fire lanes, accessible parking spaces, medians, sidewalks, whatnot. The city pretty much won't enforce it. The folks parking wherever tf they want and making it unsafe for others "have a job to do" or "this is a city; there's nowhere else for them to go." This quickly spills over to "I'm picking up a child" or "my mother uses a walker" or "everyone on this street knows you reserve this space for such-and-so because they're a nurse/firefighter/donut maker and might have to rush to an emergency."


I don't mind handicap vans in the bike lane, or people actively discharging passengers with mobility impairments.

Chair users are welcome in bike lanes, too.

Everyone else needs to grow the fuck up.


Am I crazy, or would an ongoing incident like this be better suited for 911?


It seems like a bigger structural issue rather than a need for selective enforcement of this particular entitled person but not the USPS employee who parks in the bike lane on Columbus Ave for hours each afternoon or the other several dozen such entitled parkers I can list of the top of my head.

That being said, I think I appreciate that the person chose to clearly spell out in writing what the issue is and send it somewhere that will hopefully send out an unarmed parking officer rather than calling the place that will send armed cops rushing out sometimes based on partial or inaccurate information.


BTD isn't going to give a rat's ass about someone honking in the street if the car he's complaining about is legally parked.

Unless he's blocking their van from passing through.


I personally don't want to see someone arrested or shot over honking. The appropriate response, if talking to one's neighbors isn't working, is for someone to come and explain to the person that the person is parked legally and the community doesn't appreciate people creatin' a nuisance over this. Since that's all we want someone to do, they don't need to be armed, but it does help for them to be official, if we're presuming some combination of the person either not fully believing that the other person is parked legally or thinking on some level that the community is accepting that the loudest person gets the spot. If people do consistently get their own way by being loud and honking, and especially if the city continues to reinforce that they don't particularly care, this becomes acceptable behavior.

FWIW, I once had a situation in which someone in a commercial vehicle wanted me to move out of where I was legally parked. I was picking up a child client, who was refusing to buckle their seatbelt, so we were hanging out in the car. I told the person I wasn't leaving yet, and they kept insisting they needed me to move. I said once we were ready to go, we'd leave, and it was a legal parking spot, and pointed to the signage. They kept yelling at me and honking at me and saying I was holding up traffic (they were in the lane of travel). Other people started honking and yelling at me to move. A Boston crossing guard came over and told me the commercial vehicle needed my spot. I told the crossing guard as well that I was parked legally, and we weren't ready to go. The crossing guard started lecturing me that the person was "trying to do their job" and I was holding up traffic. I ended up having the child come with me and walk back into where we had been, because this seemed the only way to deescalate the situation. I did later call both the employer of the person in the commercial vehicle and the mayor's hotline to explain what had happened. Neither cared, and both gave me lectures about "people trying to do their job" and "nowhere else for them to park."

Imagine if we consistently had city representatives send the message that parking spots are first-come-first-served and that anyone wishing to reserve one needs to apply for a permit or make other arrangements?


The appropriate response, if talking to one's neighbors isn't working, is for someone to come and explain to the person that the person is parked legally and the community doesn't appreciate people creatin' a nuisance over this.

In what possible world would the person honking not already know everything that you are proposing needs to be explained to him?


I don't often agree with Bob, but he's spot-on in this case. I would also add, in what possible world would it be reasonable to assume that the person who is honking gives a flying tin shit about obeying the law?


Yeah, it'd be nice if being rational with irrational people worked. That goes for far more than just parking wars.

Additionally, it'd be nice if a commercial driver's boss would accept "I was late because there's nowhere easy for me to park near that client so I had to park a block or two away where there was room and carry everything back to them from the truck" or the city set up more delivery only spaces where businesses are established that had a set schedule that the business and delivery company had to commit to or something.

Instead, we have this half-assed system where people double park, roads stay wide, people use space savers, and if there's a chance of shoving someone out of the space you need, then you take it. And it probably works "most" of the time. But when it doesn't, it is loggerheads for everyone.

actually want a rat's ass? Doesn't seem like rat ass would be high on anyone's list of wants.

This will likely get closed as "call 911 next time".

311 handles things that someone can get to 9-5 the next day, not emergent situations.


calling 911 would get you the same response. Boston doesn't care about enforcing illegal parking.


Illegal honking and yelling. Or disturbing the peace.


They supposedly will come if car alarms have been going off for more than 30 minutes. Honking will fall under that jurisdiction.

Note: I haven't tried this personally, just heard it anecdotally.

they could dispatch a car there before this turns into a 911 situation.

They'll tell you to call 911. The dispatch system is centralized.


Extremely false. Car can be dispatched by the front desk via newtviewer and the ps telling an officer to go check it out.

sometimes they laugh at you and hang up. sometimes they send the calvary.

i made friends with a few of the nighttime sergeants in my neighborhood and some of them could be be pretty helpful with certain situations..


Yes, it should be police because it's "disturbing the peace" or borderline harassment or blocking the street or something.
As one of the others mentions below (and discussed in the recent "naked window man" thread), it would be nice if one could call their local police station, but dispatch is centralized through 911.
If this were a situation caused by missing or contradictory signs that screw up information about resident-only parking hours versus visitor parking, or street sweeping, or something like that - THAT should be a 311 call.

It would be nice if one could call their local police station, but dispatch is centralized through 911.

I hear this a lot. I don’t understand what people think the advantage would be in calling the local precinct rather than the central number. The central number has the staffing to handle calls and the the mapping and software capabilities and the staffing to look at the aggregated data and learn about addresses and blocks with repeated or ongoing issues. Central dispatch provides for much more efficient and flexible allocation of officers and cars across the city. The local precinct not so much on any of these.

People are used to the way things used to be (and sometimes see in TV/movies) where there's a desk sergeant who controls his precinct of cops and tells them what to do and can have the operator radio a car he knows is on the road in that area come around and check it out. With each precinct being a mini police department.

They don't realize that it's all centralized now and the operator isn't sitting in every precinct, they're at the 911 call center...that the head of the precinct is more in control of staffing levels and general assignments than what any given cop is told about any emerging situation on the radio.

People are used to the way things used to be (and sometimes see in TV/movies) where there's a desk sergeant who controls his precinct of cops and tells them what to do and can have the operator radio a car he knows is on the road in that area come around and check it out.

i still know a few guys that can make a police car appear in about 2 minutes. i realize it’s because they are people i have known for many years. i was pretty friendly with one guy who became commissioner. he was a guy who could make police cars appear very quickly.

Cool story, bro. Can you give me his number?

I don’t understand this line of thought

Partly because of the expectation* that the local precinct knows their neighborhood and the actors in it better than whatever data sets get aggregated, distilled & synopsized going uphill to HQ and coming back downhill as policies, instructions & priorities - and can bring sufficient but not excessive weight to bear on the matter.

* (faint hope? naivete? "your mileage may vary"? "past performance does not guarantee future results"? "I'm going to get a good R.O.I. with the Madoff fund"?)

Part of it is, as several of us have said in similar topics - we were raised with it drilled into us that 911 is an EMERGENCY number. Somebody is dead, dying, or in substantial risk of the same.

This particular example is borderline. "Obnoxious P.I.T.A." is not quite a 911 emergency. Someone at risk of becoming violent (which this guy might be) is more of a 911 situation. Unfortunately, there are situations out there that are not active or imminent emergency, but still have to be dispatched through 911.

I would call 911 each day this happens. Use the "squeaky wheel gets the grease" method of city government assistance.

The first year of living in my house, 5 nights a week some bozo on a very loud motorcycle raced up the street between 11:00 and midnight. Seeing how the street is near both a school and police station it seemed to me that the biker might be going home after ending their shift. I simple wished that the biker did not make a point of loudly audibly announcing their motorcycling presence.

At the monthly police - community meeting I raised this issue. The officer suggested tying a rope across the street. That seemed to me to be not only dangerous, as endangering the motorcyclist's life, but also quite illegal.

This left me with a low opinion of the officer's wit and commitment to doing what is right. I don't remember whether I started reporting this issue to 911 or 311 and just acted as noisy wheel or what not. But I can report that the obnoxious noise did stop. Whether the noisemaker used a different route or just didn't make the bike shout through it's after market exhausts the presence of man and his mechanical horse I do not know.

Several years ago another officer in the same district took it upon himself to follow up on drivers of boom boom cars. If a license # on a boom boom car was reported as booming along the officer would contact the owner (via the RMV) and remind them to turn down the tunes. This raised my opinion of the officer and the local police station.

Quality of life issues - especially gross noise and general disturbance of the peace - will get attention. It just sometimes takes a little more effort to direct the attention the proper subject.


There is a similar guy here near me in Chelsea.

It will be 2am and dead silent and you'll hear this dudes tail pipe miles away.. get louder and louder. Then does a clear drag down the street so loud it rattles the windows.. and zooms off. And his tail pipe gets softer and softer.

I wanna know how these are legal here. In many places the fiberglass tail pipes that are noise makers are illegal in most states. (NH being one) Can't buy fireworks here, yet can a muffler than will wake the dead.

There's no technical reason to have one of these except

1) to be a nuisance
2) extend your penis on your "muscle car"

Happens nightly.. ya think police would notice or even care. Nah. They don't.


I wanna know how these are legal here.

Short answer: they're not.

Longer answer: mufflers can be tough for the police to prove as aftermarket (only allowed on the track, for example). The stickers declaring them aftermarket and not meeting sound requirements are easily removed. If someone is tested with the decibel reader, it's easy to challenge it through a) FOIA when the equipment was last calibrated; b) require actual proof from the police that the test was carried out to the letter of the MGL; c) require proof that the officer carrying out the test was qualified to do so and when that qualification was given; etc.

I don't know where loud pipes land on the priority list, but I expect it to be pretty low down.

Reminds me of a Boston driver that I know.

Every neighborhood I've lived in over the past 25 years or so has had someone like this- who thinks they own the street because they/ their forebears bought there before everyone else moved in- was recently trying to explain to a friend the area I used to live in by Porter Sq. w/ a neighbor like that & as dumb as it sounds- it was easier to park 3 blocks away than park in any of the 7-8 spots they felt were deeded to them by virtue of their folks buying there before the Inner Belt was cancelled


Call 911, it's called disturbing the peace.

When I was working for VNA, I had patients tell me where to park, as to not upset the neighbors. Some people would come outside and tell you to move from in front of their homes.

The US Navy has a long-standing policy of deliberately sailing its ships through waters over which countries make silly, overreaching territorial claims that grossly exceed international norms, the purpose being to ensure that shipping lanes stay open and that the ocean does not become a patchwork of illegitimate territorial fiefdoms. Maybe this same approach might be taken with regard to people making silly illegitimate claims on portions of public roads.

Saving a parking space in front of a neighbor’s house is like picking up a bottle of milk for said neighbor on your trip to the grocery store: doing it is certainly nice, generous, and kind, but not doing it is hardly pig-headed or selfish.

A someone providing care in sensitive circumstances, I wasn’t going to argue.

I know a few people that feel this way about the street parking in front of their house. My neighbors being firm believers of this theory. They are the only ones that can pack in front of their house. Their wife prefers to park in front of the house but I live here too and should park there! It is well entrenched here.