Health & Environment Police & Fire Transportation

Bikers Cause Tension on Hanover Street

Bikers park motorcycles on Hanover Street on Saturday night – Photo by Damien DiPaola

It’s the height of the summer and that means the bikers are back in the North End, especially on Hanover Street where they park and hang out. Resident and Carmelina’s restaurant owner, Damien DiPaola, sends in these photos citing the motorcycles took at least four residential parking spots on Saturday night, revved up noise and created a cloud of exhaust fumes in and around the nearby apartments and businesses.

In 2009, City Councilor Sal LaMattina proposed a Motorcycle Noise Ordinance that was passed by the City Council and signed by Mayor Menino. The ordinance called for an EPA stamp on approved motorcycle mufflers operating in Boston. The Councilor has also spoken about prohibiting bikers from some Boston streets, such as Hanover Street.

In response, Bikers of America suggested that bikers target Hanover Street restaurants. To blunt the tension between North Enders and the bikers, Boston Police introduced a voluntary “Pipe Down Please” campaign. Four years later, the mufflers may be in effect, but the tension continues on Hanover Street.

Motorcycles on Hanover St. in Boston’s North End – July 2013 – Photo by Damien DiPaola

37 Replies to “Bikers Cause Tension on Hanover Street

  1. all I can think of and I know some people are going to say that that was the old days.. the neighborhood guys would of taken a bat and cracked every motorcycle like a scene out of the Bronx tale// I saw it happen myself when I was little a man on my street used to reeve up his motorcycle loud..he was asked to not reeve it up people had to go to work.. he was rude and he caught such a beating and his motorcycle was not useable any more ..I guess the win on this one got cujones enough to do anything about it

  2. They should not be allowed on Hanover St just like trucks at night. Imagine paying over $100.00 for dinner and get exhaust fumes shot into the lap as you try to enjoy dinner. Never mind the noise they create.

      1. I thought the two blocks on the side of Mikes from Pamenter to Prince did not have that restriction.

      2. I checked today. Those two blocks on Hanover on the side of mikes do NOT have the 6pm resident restriction. So the answer remains a simple one. Make those two blocks on that side resident only after 6.

  3. Make Hanover pedestrian only after 6pm on summer weekends. No cars, no bikes. Outdoor cafe seating. It would be a huge boom of business for the neighborhood.

      1. Why not propose this idea for the financial district in Boston where there are no residents and no traffic after 6PM? This is not a new idea for the North End. Turning Hanover St into a seating area for the restaurants/pedestrian way has been discussed ad nauseum and rejected. It is not going to happen on Salem St either. Safety issues with fire and police access, traffic rerouting etc.

      2. I know it’s been talked about 100 times already but it remains a great idea. Businesses would thrive more than they already do. And let’s face it, Hanover is a parking lot after 5 as it is. I don’t know why anyone would subject themselves to driving down there…ever.

        1. It is a pipe dream. Like Joyce said, maybe in the Fin District. Stone Street is not a public street even when those tables aren’t out.

      3. Yeah and when your house burns down because the fire trucks couldn’t get down the road we will see what you have to say…this idea is ludicrous you can’t just shut down traffic after 6PM. I mean for what reason?? Because the motorcycles are to loud???? That is absurd! Hanover is the main road cutting through the North End converting it to an outdoor patio would be foolish!! Besides all you people do is complain about the trash can you imagine the trash that would occur then!!

        1. Like I said in my comment – maybe Hanover isn’t the right street for it. However, the City does not have a problem shutting down street after street all summer long for the Feasts. What I propose is not much different – except you would have REAL FOOD offered not just fried carnival crap.

          1. Salem St Guy…1. the feasts are not all summer, just the last weekend in July through the last weekend in Aug. 2. There are only 3 weekends when the feasts are on Hanover St and the entire st is not closed down…just the end away from most of the restaurants. The last two feasts are on North St and Fleet and the biggest is on Endicott st. 3.Having Hanover st closed and outdoor dining for the restaurants in the street has been discussed and rejected several times, Not happening. 4. Salem St is too small and too residential. Not happening there either. 5. The feasts have been a part of the north end for nearly 100 yrs. they are not going away anytime soon. 6. since every post you make on this blog expresses your hatred of the North End and the traditions that have made it such a popular place to live, why don’t you move to someplace better suited to your wannabe life style…like Beacon Hill, Back Bay, the South End…Manhattan and STOP WHINING about the neighborhood you CHOSE to live in.

            1. I love this neighborhood and am not sure why you interpret that my suggestion to have more nightlife and ambiance to the contrary.

              I agree that when I wrote “all summer long” I could have been more accurate. You are right that the Feasts only involve closed streets in the neighborhood for half of the summer (at least 5 weekends, not all 12 weekends of June, July, and August).

              I love the Feasts and do not want them to go away. I bring them up only as an example of my proposal’s feasibility. The city allows various streets in our neighborhood to be shut down, concert stages set up, and food and merchandise vendors to take over.

              I refuse to agree that just because an idea was previously discussed and rejected means that it should not be discussed.

              The reason I brought up the outdoor dining in the first place was to prevent annoying motorcyclists from taking over the neighborhood.

              You really need to calm down buddy.

            2. @Play Nicely
              Salem St Guy can hold his own and does not need you to stick up for him.. I have every right to disagree with him. It is a discussion as you say. Not a everyone must say wow what a great idea lets do this. His idea is not just a suggestion he threw out there for friendly neighborhood disourse. he (YOU?) is convinced that his suggestion is feasible and brilliant and refuses to accept the fact that for PUBLIC SAFETY reasons, the idea has been shot down more than once by BTD, BFD and BPD as well as neighborhood residents. Must be a restaurant owner!
              If telling me to get out from behind my “Fox News Desk” was not so laughingly ridiculous I might have been insulted.

          2. Salem St guy needs to get a grip on reality. his fantasy that his not so brilliant not even close to original idea to close down Hanover or salem for outdoor restaurant seating is not going to happen. Not only have the residents rejected the idea but so has BTD and the fire dept for PUBLIC SAFETY reasons.

            1. @Get_Over_It …

              You should step down from your Fox News Desk. and place nice with Salem St. Guy, who’s commentary is a merely a suggestion or comparison and a thoughtful interjection into a friendly neighborhood dialog.

            2. Hey guys, just getting back to this message board. So the idea has been shot down before, okay fine. I still like it. So what? Like I said, the City allows streets shut down in the neighborhood for nearly half of the summer so various “groups” can sell vendor “licenses” and collect big money. I can see why those who receive that income would not want things to change. I’m talking about a quality of life improvement here. Obviously the safety concerns can be worked out if the City allows the Feasts, right? I’m probably wrong, haven’t thought of various issues, but it’s just an idea. No need to get all personal and defensive!!!

  4. Why would any ordinance get enforced when the cop who takes care of the area spends more time texting and hitting on women than doing his job? By the way, I tried to post a similar message earlier but it was censored. I guess the bike cop in question is a local favorite.

    1. Is that the same motorcycle cop who would park on Margaret Street (between Prince and Sheafe) for hours in the middle of the day? I had a view straight down Margaret, and would constantly see a police motorcycle out there parked all alone on the sidewalk halfway down the street. When I worked from home, I would see it there for 3-4 hours straight in the afternoons. Clearly, a guy diligently doing his job.

      1. No it is not the same Special Ops officer who LIVES on Margaret St. The cop with the motorcycle who is suppossed to be working on Hanover St is named Roy (aka Elvis).

  5. Whenever one of those guys drives by me revving his bike, I turn to whomever is walking/standing near me & loudly say, “I’m sorry his penis is so small,” and laugh.

    JOIN ME in my personal campaign to end loud secondary market motorcycle exhaust pipes–that’s what make the bikes so loud.

    I can’t imagine any guy wanting people contemplating how small his penis is–especially the gals he thinks he’s attracting.

    Repeat after me & LOUDLY! “I’m sorry his penis is so small.”

    1. How mature of you! I dislike noisy motorcycles as much as the next guy, but trotting out the old “compensating for something” cliche is lame.

  6. The city ordnance on bike noise enables police to easily check to see if a muffler has an EPA stamp on it. If not, or if it is hidden, police can issue a ticket. The fine is pretty hefty. The police are not enforcing the ordnance. Call the Mayor’s hot line and nothing happens. Thank you, Urban Mechanic, who can not silence a muffler.

    1. The Boston general muffler code does not offer an effective enforcement policy against operators of vehicles with raised volumes. Many motorcycle models are federally legal without having a manufacturers statement of noise compliance. The federal code allows no labels , by many different situations. The label statement is only meaningful if applied on a specific model motorcycle (standard engine, standard everything) attached to a product label. It is impossible to varify what models are specific during infield enforcement. The EPA does not certify any motorcycle exhaust system. Citing Boston as an example of the label law, proves this type of enforcement based law, fails everyone concerned about the traffic soundscape.

  7. You reap what you sow!
    The chamber of commerce has unleashed an onslaught of media coverage to come to little Italy.
    Now Salem street guy and a handful of other successful restaurant owners want to complain about four motorcycles parking on Hanover street Saturday Night.
    Change is history in the making, growth, development, and unfortunately deterioration are the catalysts that evolve into change.
    Both the City of Boston and the new chamber of commerce should take a good hard moral look at their vision for future plans for the North End.
    Their is a study called TALC tourist area life cycle, this community does not have the resources for your vision.
    I have respect for all members of the chamber of commerce and our elected officials.
    Capitalism is the right of every american,
    The city of Boston is in great financial shape,and other great sections of our city are seeing economic development and growth once again.
    There are a few members of the chamber of commerce that have multiple restaurants, real property and other investments.
    They are worried about the new innovation district taking some of the business revenue away from their establishments in the North End.
    It is usually a problem to put all your eggs in one basket, but these few have the means to open successful business in any part of the city of Boston.
    They do not have to turn this neighborhood into an Italian Disneyland.
    That will be the start of stagnation and deterioration of this great neighborhood.
    You do not have to bring a 100,000 people a day into our tiny community.
    We have already seen the ill effects it has on both public safety and health issues in our neighborhood.
    Salem street guy wants to make Salem or Hanover street a pedestrian way only, with alfresco dining for the summer months, so he he and a few others can become more wealthy at the expense of health and safety for the residents and citizens that both reside and visit this community.
    One of the few who just does not see past the color green, Stone street NYC.
    Thank god the City officials are not that greedy.
    Thank god our public safety officials would never allow this to take place.
    Also, this little Italy campaign is a joke, you brag about how the neighborhood has evolved and how the demographics have changed dramatically in the North End, which is certainly true, but this is definitely no longer little Italy.
    You want growth, but you want to keep us back for financial gains.
    This is the North End of Boston!!
    A great place to live for the demographics that now reside here, young professionals from all over the world, who love the proximity to their employment and other great educational and leisurely resources the city has to offer them.

    I also do not think it is a good idea to piss off the Bikers,
    Most of us do not enjoy the noise they make, but it is often just for a few minutes.
    You want Disneyland, you’ll get it!
    Richie M.

    1. I am not a restaurant owner. I am just a resident and owner of a single condominium unit on Salem Street. I have lived in the neighborhood for 8 years and moved here because it is close to work. No hidden agendas, just thought it would be nice to have some outdoor seating in the summer. Mainly because I like to eat outside in the summer time and thought other people would like to as well. I too am annoyed by loud students, motorcycles, etc. and would love cleaner streets and more public trash cans to alleviate litter.

      The neighborhood has so much and I think that a few changes — like renovating apartment units to attract young professionals instead of students, etc. could really make a difference for the better. I’m just one citizen sharing my view. Apparently my views aren’t so popular . . .

  8. Yeah, I live right in this neighborhood. I don’t mind the culture, but the motorcycle engines revving well through 2am on weeknights is a nightmare, even with the A/C running and earplugs in. The A-1 district police seem to have functionally abandoned the North End residents on quality-of-life.

  9. Why do these discussions time and time again turn into battles of demographics?…..the Old Timers versus the Students versus the Yuppies versus the Mobsters versus you-name-it. These discussions should be about the qualities of the people behind the labels and demographics: Those who care and are considerate versus those who don’t Focusing on how to convert people from the latter to the former.
    There are plenty of “bad” people in every labelled group and plenty of “good” as well. Stop the inane squabbling and name calling and work on making a difference for the better in the context of the current realities of 2013. Can we all agree on that at some level at least?


    Well it looks like you are running a great popularity contest, maybe you should run for MAYOR.

  11. Salem St. Guy,

    You say you are not a Restaurant Owner, well here are few reasons why we should NEVER have

    outside dining. The North End has enough noise on the streets, the roof deck restaurants that we already have

    in the Neighborhood are torture for those looking to sleep at night.

    The other reason, the RATS are running around

    like House Pets, and they are no longer coming out at NIGHT, they have been

    running around during the day & tried to run into a Restaurant I was in because the door to the restaurant

    was open. I love dining outside also, but my idea of dining out is where the Seaport is, or on a Beach

    or a cliff overlooking the Ocean, never the No. End, which is a heavily congested area, which is


    STREETS , and FIRST & MOST IMPORTANT, do you know what it is like to be a FIRE VICTIM?

    I would hate to think of a FIRE taking place with FIRE ENGINES struggling to get at the Fire because

    of outside dining. The Firemen have it difficult enough, why make it more difficult? Remember, we

    are a Neighborhood that is in & around 1/4 mile sq. radius. We always had rats, but not like this, they

    have too great of a selection of restaurants to ever want to leave the area.

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