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 approaches and enforced active patrolling for illegally parked cars, including double parked ones, hitting business drivers as hard as individuals. UPS paid nearly $18.8 million in fines last year. In other cities like our neighbor to the south, street lanes are kept strictly cleared, allowing the maximum traffic flow at all hours other than the early AMs.
But where does Boston fall on this list? The average parking enforcement agent in our city seems to ignore double-parked cars on Newbury, opting instead to check the robo-meter for quick over-time tickets. All the while, oversized double-parked Land Rovers, Jaguars, and BMWs force thru-traffic from lane to lane– blocking sight-lines at intersections and building a maze for all traffic: pedestrian, two wheeled, and four wheeled alike. The problem is rampant at hotels downtown as well, who let their valet cars waiting to be parked stretch three or four lanes deep into traffic while police cruisers quietly squeeze around the mass of dead metal without so much as a siren honk.
We’re turning a blind eye to the double-parkers and categorically ticketing where it’s more convenient, but maybe this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and it merely points to a natural mitigation of the ‘unique’ layout of Boston’s inner-city road system by city parking enforcers who have learned, in this one case, to find flexibility.