Submitted by David Arnold, North End/Waterfront resident and parking correspondent.
“Commercial Wharf West” is a small street ?100 yards long? behind me that is privately owned, with perpendicular parking on either side paid by North End residents. The annual fee is about $3,000 and the spots are unassigned. Window stickers flag the rate payers. There are maybe 25 spaces total.
The Rub: The “No Parking” signs are tiny. Some are crinkled, others are fading, some are missing or were never put up in the first place. It is easy to be trolling Commercial Street for parking, see a spot on Commercial West, pull in and never see a sign. Maybe six times a day – twice that on a busy tourist night – visitors get suckered into parking illegally.
The Scam: Taking periodic laps through the lot is D.A.R. Towing looking for victims. When I and a few neighbors point out to the tow truck driver that his prey have no idea they are illegal, he tells us there are signs all around and that we should mind our own business. The other evening he dropped a whopper: he makes $100K annually patrolling the lot. Often, the car alarms sound during hookups.
One Tony Orlandello, an elder who apparently lives in Somerville and is seldom around, owns the street and an abutting granite building (the Goose, hair stylist, dentist, apartment renters…). I would love to know Tony’s cut for every tow.
Even a cop who occasionally works this ‘hood acknowledges it is outrageous.
I’m agitated at the moment because a kid just back from Afghanistan – still in uniform – got towed the other night while taking his date to Joe’s American Bar and Grill. I was on a dog walk. He was too embarrassed and felt too stupid to complain. And to whom? Every third word out of the poor fellow’s mouth was “sir.” Real straight-up guy.
My only motivation: this is wrong. LaMattina’s office has been no help. I got one call back with a promise to check City Hall about how prominent “no parking” signs need to be. Then poof! Gone. Bad me for not pursuing.