Where not to park during the Boston Marathon

Posted by John on April 20, 2009
General / 1,477 Comments

Boston Marathon, 1910A friendly reminder from our good friends at the transportation department: don’t park anywhere near the Boston marathon today if you want your car to be there tomorrow. A large portion of Mass Ave was already shut down this weekend where, along with the construction vehicles and early-bird hot dog stands, a small army of tow trucks was assembling to make quick work of the local violators.

It looks like these parking restrictions are technically already in effect as, although the press release is a bit vague about official start/end times and the punishment for violating the order. Regardless, if you’re parked on one of these streets, now might be a good time to start thinking about an early-morning getaway.

Follow the jump for the full list of restricted streets Continue reading…

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All Comments Purged

Posted by John on April 19, 2009
General / 1,342 Comments

My fault for not monitoring the spam coming into this blog well enough, but in attempting to clean up the literally tens of thousands of spam comments, I’ve managed to lose all the legitimate ones as well. I’m working on pulling the legitimate comments from the recent backup files, but frankly I’d rather have the whole comment system reset to zero than force readers to wade through the piles of phony male enhancement advertisements that were littering the posts.

Needless to say, I’ve installed some spam filtering software so hopefully this problem doesn’t crop up again.

StreetParker.com – Parking Alerts for Boston and Cambridge

Posted by John on April 10, 2009
Boston, Cambridge, General / 1,816 Comments

We would like to announce Caffeinated Mind’s new web product: StreetParker (http://www.streetparker.com): a parking meter and street sweeper alert management system that lets you track where you’re parked, when the street sweeper is coming, and most importantly, allows you to set up custom alerts for when it’s time to move your car.

I have personally put a lot of effort into getting Street Parker off the ground and up to date so that it can be an accurate, useful, and effective tool for Boston and Cambridge residents alike, and hope that the inclusion of my efforts here doesn’t feel too much like a shameless plug.

The Beta version is online as of today, and it supports Boston and Cambridge exclusively for pre-stored street sweeping information (although it can be used anywhere for meter-minding and timed parking alerts) so please go check it out at http://www.streetparker.com and let us know what you think in the comments section! We’re still cleaning up some of our data, so if your street isn’t supported when it should be, or your street’s sweeping times look off, let us know about that too!

It’s rough out there from April through November, we hope this will help.

Let us know what you think!

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How NOT to get a Parking Ticket

Posted by John on February 16, 2009
Boston, Cambridge, General / 1,994 Comments
When your car has been converted into a toll booth...

When your car has been converted into a toll booth...

So it happened: you got a parking ticket. There are stages for this… first comes confusion. “Is that something on my windshield? Did someone spill neon-orange paint…” Next, realization “oh god wait it’s a, no… not a ticket!!!” Then, anger, “What the _ is wrong with this spot?? No one else has a ticket! I’m going to–” and eventually we all take the ticket off our windows, throw it in the seat next to us in a fit of anger and despair, and drive away while the paper mocks us from the passenger seat until finally, at a stoplight, we open it again to take a closer look and read the full citation, only to enter the final stage, disbelief “expired registration? Come ON!  By ONE DAY!!!”

So how can you get out of it? We’ve come up with a few solutions that seem effective in Boston for avoiding or escaping the scarlet letter of the automotive world that is the parking ticket: Continue reading…

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Parking? Make mine a double.

Posted by John on February 12, 2009
General / 2,564 Comments
At least we're not getting double-parked by diplomats... yet

At least we're not getting double-parked by diplomats... yet

There are few subjects that city drivers hold such a love-hate relationship with as double-parking. The don’t ask, don’t tell of the urban army, double parking is often cited as the reason for clogged main streets, accidents, and road rage in our fair city.

The question of what we can do is not easily answered either, considering the few options left to drivers who need to run their groceries into their apartments on packed streets before taking off to troll for empty spaces, or delivery drivers who need to pick up or drop off where the loading spaces have been overcrowded by competing trucks and illegal visitors.

So what can we do? Certainly some cities have taken aggressive Continue reading…

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Automotive Hibernation Strategies

Posted by John on February 04, 2009
General / 1,670 Comments
Hibernating Vehicles

Sleeping beneath the snow...

As winter grinds into February, and with it the weekly snowfalls that are starting to make me think that maybe asphault has always been brown and white and I just never noticed, one thing that every car owner in the city dreads is the inevitable moment of decision: do I move the car today?  Sure, you’re running out of toilet paper (stockpiled from an early december Costco run), the local pizza delivery guy knows you by name because you’ve tried every ridiculous page-filler combination on their menu (banana peppers, squash, bacon, and anchovies? PILE THEM ON!), and you keep telling yourself that you can make it to spring on the trash bags you’ve got if you melt everything down in oven first… but when the alternative is digging your beloved vehicle from weeks of snow and possibly giving up that great space that you can see from your bedside window, the decision always presents as a deeper question than “should I take the car out?” might let on.

While my car hibernates, I visit it about twice a week on my walk to the T to brush off the resident sticker and make sure the windows are still there.  Once every two weeks, I pry open the door, start it up, and let it run for about 30 minutes, before giving it a quick dust-off, locking up the doors, and heading on my way.  For a while, I thought my system was brilliant, but no… I am merely an amateur to this northeastern winter city car storage paradigm.  The following are some of the other approaches I’ve seen lately: Continue reading…

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Free Meter Parking on Saturdays

Posted by John on November 30, 2008
Boston / 537 Comments

 The city of Boston has announced the continuation of its annual practice of removing parking meter fees during Saturdays between November 29th and December 27th.  Although all meters will be free, a two hour limit will be enforced, so don’t try for anything long-term.  There is also no indication of whether or not the city will be providing any visual indication of the new policy at the meters, but I’d guess this will be a relatively unadvertised adjustment in enforcement only.

Regardless, kudos to the city for giving us a break from digging quarters out of our pockets while we’re trying to max-out our credit cards on shiny stuff for the holidays.

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Winter Wonderland – 10 Tips for Surviving the Months to Come

Posted by John on November 18, 2008
Boston, Cambridge / 2,064 Comments


OK, so maybe not quite this bad

OK, so maybe not quite this bad

They say Spring comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb. Well winter in Boston comes in like a sheet of ice scraped from God’s windshield and doesn’t leave until the black and brown remains of the last storm are scraped from the streets and melted on the sidewalks. We’re approaching, at dangerous speeds, that time of the year when those of us who keep our vehicles exposed on the streets and at the mercy of a vengeful mother nature dig feverishly through their toolchests to find something that might break 3 inches of ice accumulated over the windshield wipers, clear the foot of snow burying the exterior, and give traction to the rear wheels so they can pull out from the tire-shaped ice-sculpture trapping them in place.

Yes, it’s an exciting time to be a car-owning Bostonian. We wait in quiet expectation for Jack Frost to come for our cruisers with all the elements of a west-coast governer’s portrayal of Mr. Freeze in Batman and Robin.

Luckily for us all, Park and Pray has some suggestions on surviving the weather to come: Continue reading…

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Euro-chic Boston: The Moped Factor

Posted by John on November 17, 2008
General / 646 Comments


Mopeds use has greatly increased in Boston

Mopeds use has greatly increased in Boston

Although gas prices in the Boston area are back down to near $2/gallon levels, the sharp increase over the summer drove many locals to explore other transportation options.  Limited as the T is, it is no wonder that a two-wheeled alternative took off in the form of european-modeled mopeds screaming down city streets at 80+ miles per gallon.

In Massachusetts, a moped is any two-wheeled vehicle with an engine size under 50ccs, an automatic transmission, and that is incapable of traveling over 30mph.  The registry requires a sticker to be purchased ($40 for two years), but mopeds are not plated and do not require insurance (nor can they obtain it even if they wanted to from the accounts I’ve heard).  They are allowed to legally pass on the right and use bike lanes on city streets, but are bound by local speed limits.  These edge-of-the-law vehicles are considered motorized bicycles by the RMV, but in light of the modifications being made to many models, and the simple fact that a 30mph flat ground speed often results in much higher downhill speeds, these two-wheelers can occasionally be seen cruising in excess of 40mph in and around the greater Boston area.

Of course the #1 advantage to a moped in Boston is the parking situation.   Continue reading…


Turnpike Toll Increases Approved – Cabs may reach near-$14 sit-down fee at Logan

Posted by John on November 16, 2008
Boston, Commuting / 2,294 Comments
A taxi ride into the city will now have a $13.85 sit-down fee

A taxi ride into the city may soon have a $13.85 sit-down fee

As if the bad news with the increase in parking costs at T stations wasn’t enough, the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority has approved ludicrous toll increases across the board at booths surrounding Boston.

Let’s be ruthlessly mathematical about all this: Tolls are doubling at the Ted Williams Tunnel from $3.50 to $7.00, and to $9.00 for taxis.  Along with the $2.60 sit-down fee, and $2.25 airport fee, we’re looking at $13.85 just to get out of the airport.  At about 3 miles to downtown Boston, that comes to around $22.25.  With gas prices dropping, it’s quickly becoming economical to drive through east boston (the long way) just to dodge the toll.  Also, did we mention $22.25 to go 3 miles?

That’s just Logan.  I-90 tolls are also increasing Continue reading…

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