I suppose that I’ll apologize ahead of time for writing about space savers. Because it is the lamest and most predictable topic imaginable, covered by innumerable columnists and outlets since the Model T hit Southie. I’ve probably written this exact same screed before, as my opinions on the matter haven’t changed much through the years—even since I went from everyday pedestrian to occasional motorist.
To the point, I think that space savers are bullshit. For several reasons, but none more so than my strong belief that public and common areas belong to the people with zero exceptions. To put it in the simplest terms possible so that those who are hellbent over saving spaces can understand with their minimal ability to process unselfish thoughts: You don’t own the fucking street. And shoveling a space doesn’t change that.
Let’s talk about that shoveling. The idea behind space savers is presumably that when a person expends energy digging themselves out, then they get to assume temporary ownership of that spot for some arbitrary period of time. That sentence alone should expose the absurdity of this tradition, but those who need additional convincing should consider the task. I’m hardly in the best shape of my life, but I dug a car out of a snowbank this week in less than 20 minutes. Your average parking garage downtown charges more than $10 an hour. So even if I earned some kind of municipal credit worth minimum wage or a bit more for shoveling my portion of the street, that would entitle me to the space for maybe 30 minutes after leaving. That’s all.
Not that anybody greedy enough to think the street is theirs could understand that logic. Or any logic. But if such Bostonians—along with Somerville and Cambridge residents—really want something to be angry about, they should take a look at the restricted spaces in Hub neighborhoods. From Beacon Hill to Southie, several thousand spots are reserved for residents only, effectively serving as repetitive stay the hell out of this area signs. Back Bay is the biggest joke of all, as if residents who live in Boston’s thriving commercial and cultural areas deserve more access than the rest of us.
I know what some of you are thinking, but I don’t care how much their taxes are on Comm Ave. They’re paying taxes on their lavish flats, not on the blacktop outside. That belongs to all of us. And we should be able to park there whenever the hell we want.
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.