The snow comes down and the space savers come out.
That’s the uniquely South Boston tradition that allows drivers to claim parking spots they cleared after a snowstorm while the city looks the other way, at least for a few days.
But as the unofficial parking system spreads throughout Boston and beyond, some neighborhoods are pushing against the winter habit.
“There’s no logical reason why someone ought to be able to claim a space,” said Stephen Fox, chairman of the board of directors of the Rutland Square Association, and a member of the neighborhood-wide South End Forum. “There isn’t one neighborhood association that support this or thinks it’s a good idea.”
Fox said he has seen an occasional safety cone in the nearly 30 years he has lived in the neighborhood, but after this weekend’s storm some residents brought chairs, ironing boards, and other household paraphernalia to mark their spaces.
One resident left a box with the message, “Do not take my parking space! Your car will be vandalized!!!”
“That really sort of tells the whole story,” Fox said. “It’s increasingly important for us to maintain a level of civility and recognize that the public spaces are the public spaces. That’s just the way it is.”
Fox said the neighborhood wants city to stop openly allowing the practice, but in the meantime residents are working to combat the trend, and any hostility it could cause, directly.
South End neighborhood associations are asking residents to not use space savers and the Rutland Square Association encouraged residents to remove any space saver they see.
If everyone removes the savers, Fox said, drivers will be less likely to retaliate against the person who happened to park in the spot, and might stop using space savers altogether.
Already, Fox said, he has heard from about two dozens neighbors who cleared space savers.
“It’s happening on a regular basis right now and I’m frankly delighted,” Fox said.
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