Commentaries Transportation

Commentary: Save Hanover Street

When is it all going to stop? Think of all the issues we have that need attention, and there are a chosen few that think CLOSING DOWN HANOVER STREET is the hottest??? Really?? Will that address any of problems that RESIDENTS have been asking to be addressed for years??

Cross-walks need to be re-painted, cars DO NOT STOP. We have children and elderly in the North End that walk these streets while cars continue not to STOP and race by without any consideration that they are in a residential area.

Traffic lights on Cross and Hanover Street: one sign says WALK and the light turns green at the same time. It has been reported time and time again. PLEASE do something about this corner! We have thousands of tourists that walk that area as well as the residents. It’s a serious safety issue for everyone.

Trash containers are constantly filled and the trash is everywhere. We never have enough trash containers for dog owners and we wonder why the dog trash bags are all over the area?

What about the paper cups, spoons, napkins and wrappers that are thrown on the streets? Do any of the shops have containers near their place of business to dispose of this trash? We have no control over our trash as it is, can the business owners at least take some responsibility? They are the ones benefitting, not the residents. But we have to live with the mess their businesses cause. If the city won’t step up, why can’t they?

Traffic and valet parking–cars doubled parked to let customers out blocking half of Hanover and other streets. The spaces in front of restaurants are supposed to be used for dropping customers off so they can pull off the street and not block traffic. They are not for valets to park vehicles in. This is the law. Why is it being not enforced? And where are these cars being parked? I hope not in residential spots if parking lots are filled.

Speaking of our streets, we also need more lighting or new lights on Prince Street and many other residential side streets.

These are problems that cause confusion, consternation and inconvenience at best, unsafe conditions for residents and visitors alike at worst. Why can’t the City of Boston work on these problems and at least alleviate them?

And how does closing down Hanover Street address any of these problems? Who benefits? NOT THE RESIDENTS, that’s for sure. Driving around here is difficult enough, with traffic and one-way streets everywhere, not to mention waiting for people to parallel park on narrow streets in tight spots. Closing down the main drag will only make matters worse. So who will benefit? The shop owners, the restaurant owners, and all the other the business people, that’s who. Who was the bright light bulb that came up with this idea?? Good bet it was not a resident!

Let’s walk down Hanover Street and look around and ask ourselves some questions. What responsibility does a shop owner take for their customers lined up outside the door and around the corner, taking up the whole sidewalk so you can’t get by? Does the owner of the shop decide to put one of his or her workers outside to form a line to the left or right of his or her pastry shop’s door and not crowd the sidewalk so that residents and tourists can get by? Some of the restaurant owners are not far behind with this situation–lines out the door! It’s not only on Hanover Street, it also happens on Prince Street and Salem Street. Good for business, but a pain in the you-know-what for the rest of us.

Closing down Hanover Street is not the solution. I also understand they want to widen the sidewalks like Newbury Street. Is there a reason? Of course there is, so restaurant owners can put out tables and chairs and have customers eat outside. What a great idea, just like Italy! I don’t know if Italy has rodents, but we do and plenty of them. So let’s make it easier for Mickey and his extended family. They don’t have to go inside anymore; they can be just as happy sitting under the table waiting for the food to drop. Please, let’s not make our rodent problem any worse than it already is!

I have lived here all my life. We never, ever had a rodent problem before the explosion of restaurants in our neighborhood. We have so many restaurants, they have taken over our streets. Again, closing Hanover Street is not for the residents. It is just another attack on our quality of life.

One-way Hanover Street? Impossible! More congestion, traffic, and horn-honking. And the side streets the North End will be overwhelmed with traffic. We can’t even get a police officer to direct traffic as it is, let alone decide one way or no way for Hanover Street.

I have heard this remark said more than once, “If you don’t like it here, move!” Many North End residents have lived here ALL their lives and they have no intention of moving. Why should they have to? Why can’t we work together to make the North End better? Not just for you, but for everyone, including the residents. THINK BEFORE YOU MAKE CHANGES!

I will say this, changes are made all the time without notifying the residents. Consideration and concern about quality of life should be ALL ABOUT THE RESIDENTS. Business owners and restaurant owners close up shop, get in their cars and go home. They have no idea about the noise, the parties, the fights, and people talking on the sidewalk until 3 am WHEN DOES IT STOP? Mayor Walsh, I hope you read this article and try to understand how we North End residents feel. You are the only one that can allow closing of Hanover Street. Please work with us so we can honestly say, “Thank you Mayor Walsh for being there for the North End residents.”

Working together is the best way to make this over-crowded situation work best for everyone. We can call for a meeting–all residents, business owners, restaurant owners, etc. Closing down Hanover street is not the right answer. The North End is a genuine and special place. It is not Newbury Street or New York City. It is a wonderful neighborhood with a character that only life-long North End residents can know, love and understand. We CAN find solutions to our problems that don’t compromise the beauty of what we have here—a real neighborhood, not just a business district. Can we talk? welcomes commentaries on community issues via email to Opinions are those solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of or other writers on this site. Comments or responses to this commentary can be posted below in the comment section.

31 Replies to “Commentary: Save Hanover Street

  1. love this post. i agree with most of it except i think you giving a bit too much leniency to dog owners who leave their poop bags all over the place. if the trashcan is full, dog owners can bring it back to their apartments and figure out a solution there. as for the restaurants, i still believe the neighborhood would be better off if 90% of them shut down. beacon hill, south end, and charlestown are all very nice areas and all seem to function just fine without 100+ restaurants.

  2. I remember a day when shop owners used to come out and wash down the sidewalks every morning. It was called pride. Last time I was in the North End, the sidewalks were horrid with filth. I was so disappointed. It was not the North End I lived in. Yes, the shop owners are responsible. Why? because, they sell the food that people walk around with, the food they spill and the packaging they leave behind.

    As for Hanover Street being closed…you are right-it will just congest the rest of the streets. Nothing will be gained but sidewalk cafe’s and there will be no place for people to walk!

    Sadly, to pass this, there are probably a lot more kick backs from shop owners than residents.

    Keep up the good work here on

    1. Many Many shop owners wash their front walks everyday? Walk around early between 5-7 am and you will see diligent workers cleaning in front of many many shops. Many dog owners don’t even try to find a proper disposal for the pets waste. Little blue, green and black bags filled with excrement dot our sidewalks and doorways. Some dog owners dispose in the business trash barrels, these barrels are required by ordinance to be stored off the sidewalk by 7 am -most of the time that means barrels are brought back into the restaurant – NOT COOL Dog Owners!!. Business owners pay for trash pick up and clean their barrels, they don’t need the unwanted surprise from a lazy dog owner. In defense of public works, I see the city trash truck at least 2 times a day changing the barrels out. I also see residents fill the barrels with their household trash (EVERYDAY). Current resident trash pick up is later in the morning, causing traffic jams and rushed haphazard pick up. The Recycle truck picks up between 11-1 from what I observe and that allows for more time for cardboard and other debris to picked through, relieved on by dogs and blown around the neighborhood. The quality of life has diminished greatly under the past and current Mayors. Our neighborhood should be left to decide what works best. Number one is educating all New and Old residents of proper trash disposal and adding more trash barrels. Don’t change our traffic pattern either. They have done enough damage to us.

      1. Like you said, off the side walk at 7am… Two wrongs don’t make a right, but if the trash barrel is off the st at 7am, this cuts down on the issue.

        I’m out at the hours you noted about sidewalks being washed. Most is an overstatement.

        1. the restaurant barrels are not a problem. If you do not see Mike’s Pastry, Bella Vista/Sarenceno, Assagio, Monica’s on Salem, Monica’s on Prince, Bova’s, Prince Postale, Dino’s cleaning their sidewalks, you are looking up like a tourists not paying attention because it is done almost everyday. Residents and dog owners need to be informed on the proper disposal of trash. The city needs to collect the trash before 7 am. Dog owners need to know it is not ok to let their pet pee on buildings, door steps and piles of trash. We have 2 dog parks – USE THEM. Ignorance is the issue with a local government that has gone above and beyond since the creation of the BRA to destroy the North End. The trash ticket law is a scam by the city to collect revenue. Innocent people are being fined for someone else’s actions. Walsh needs to be a one term mayor.

          1. That’s 8 of the 100+ restaurants and most of those owners live in the neighborhood and take pride in what they do (and deserve the accolades).

            The other 90 plus?

            You’re right, Walsh needs to be a one and done.

    1. Well said @john.
      And I don’t read at all a dislike for dogs. It’s irresponsible dog owners that give responsible ones a bad name – unfortunately. The fact is that I see 1/2 dozen dog-poop bags a day disposed of irresponsibly.

    2. FYI Marie is a responsible dog owner.
      Saying you are sick of dog owners who do not pick up after their dog or leaving plastic bags full of dog crap on sidewalks everywhere is not the same as disliking dogs. It is disliking the inconsiderate DOG OWNERS.
      It is disgusting. Do you know how embarrassing it is in a neighborhood full of tourists to have to warn them to look down and not at their phones because the sidewalk is a minefield of dog crap?
      The Members of RUFF ( are constantly trying to educate dog owners to be responsible and clean up after their pets.

    3. I love dogs and all animals. The dogs are innocent, their owners are lazy and irresponsible. RUFF has done and is doing whatever they can to inform dog owners, but there only so much one can do. You can’t fix stupid.

  3. All great points…but having lived in Revere and worked in Boston for ten years..and frequenting the NorthEnd every week…its true…its a battlefield. I look forward to visiting (from Florida) every year. There must be a solution. The Mayor must address this and preserve whats left of this wonderful, historic part of Beantown!

    PS My Grandmother was born in the NorthEnd!

    Save me a Cannoli!!

  4. All so true, what else are they going to suggest, its all out of hand the whole situation with the North End, it should have been preserved because of its history, to many restaurants its lost its flavor our poor NORTH END, they take away everything from us and do what they want and lets face it who gains not us who still lives and loves the North End our HOME at one time.

  5. In all honesty the rodent problem started with the demolition of the old expressway & the “big dig” fiasco.As for the question of who is behind this idiotic plan his last name is Walsh. If Walsh had his way residents of the NE & the waterfront would not be able to see the sky because there would be a 60 story tower on every block.The restaurants aren’t going away, crowds of tourists, dog crap ?deal with it it’s the price you pay for living in the city.

    1. Deal with the dog crap because we live in the city? the ignorant lazy dog owners/ and dog walkers need to stop acting so self entitled and pick up after their dogs. They need to deal with it. Not the residents of the North End because they “live in the city”.

  6. I hear all the complaints on DOGS why don’t you attend this thursday the 9th the NEWRA meeting they will have someone there to talk Dog recreation space DeFilippo park discuss your complaints to them to enforce this dog crap. Blame the landlords that don’t live here and don’t care who they rent too or if they have 1 or 2 dogs. STOP blaming the dogs it’s the Owner’ responsibility to PICK IT UP. Marie and freeway

    1. RUFF cannot enforce anything unless it is inside the dog park, They educate dog owners but cannot control their behavior, Unfair to suggest that people go to NEWRA to complain to this group about dog owners who leave plastic bags on the sidewalks (if they pick it up) or doggie doo on the sidewalk because they are too lazy to pick it up. The only solution would be for the CIty of Boston to require all registered dogs to have DNA testing on file and have the offending bags/piles tested for DNA. Then a significant fine might encourage people to clean up. Private condos and small towns have done this with excellent success.

  7. How did an article about closing Hanover Street morph into dog problems. I think people use any platform to air their own personal issues.

  8. DNA testing for dogs? Are you serious? This has really gone too far. Let’s talk about the trash out in the streets, and how disgusting for us and visitors to step over it and the often delayed recycle mess. The side walks are filthy with our very own trash…let’s get the city to straighten this out before we blame dog owners for the NE mess. And why not give a good hosing to the sidewalks? Ugh. The NE is filthy. Re: Hanover Street, who cares? If it’s blocked off, so will the sidewalks….

  9. This article has nothing to do with animals go talk to your politicians and city hall to enforce the pet law.

  10. There is no way to enforce the “pet law” whatever that is in the heart of a city.The NE is not a gated community & yes the article was about closing Hanover St. I find it curios that some people ignore the illegal activity & blatant drug dealing that is carried out in broad daylight on Hanover St. by the same crew in the same spot that have been doing it for 50 years or the needles found in the area.But mention a trash bag or a dog poop bag and people are ready to call in the National Guard.The city at a very limited cost can install some dog waste receptacles & poop bag dispensers throughout the neighborhood.

  11. Is it possible to ascertain the percent of taxes of the city’s total generated in the NE for our state and local governments? The question should arise: are the level of services for cleaning, policing, etc. fairly proportional to the financial contributions generated in the NE in the context of the entire city’s finances. A comparative analysis of these statistics might shed some light on why the conditions described above seem to be so intractable.

  12. It might be prudent to push for things within our (?) and City Hall control. How about more frequent trash receptacle pick up in combination with hand street sweeping? I see someone here and there sweeping. I remember the “mini vac” type street sweeper, too, and regular street sweeping seems a little more lax these days. It is tough to manage individual disregard for proper trash/waste disposal – I try to talk to people when I see “stupid” trash disposal in open bags, etc., but we reach only so far. If everyone took care of in front of their house/shop……

  13. Well said Marie.

    First of all our esteemed city representative’s office uses the “exuse” of the restaurants as to why the existing parking regulations (for commercial vehicles/ we all know including his office that if you are a resident you are going to be tagged immediately) don’t need to be enforced because they are delivering to the restaurants even though these deliveries cause MAJOR SAFETY ISSUES for RESIDENTS ( grid lock and blocking emergency turn radius). As mentioned before- I don’t care that this is the most densely populated area of restaurants in the us. Let some leave, no sweat off my back, but the city only cares about the revenue and why make BTD enforcment do their jobs.
    But I digress.

    Punch line- screw the residents. Let’s keep the business owners (many of whom do not even live in boston, never mind the north end) happy.

    Here is a 9 Step plan to make things better for RESIDENTS (typing on my phone and coming up with this as I type, so bear with me).

    1) forget the stupid plan to lower the speed limit (who’s going to enforce it anyways) and close Hanover st to traffic
    A) inforce the parking rules already on the books- especially for commercial Vehicles
    B) progressive fines for repeat offenders who put public safety at risk and possible criminal penalties.
    C) Raised cross walks. This will almost definitely stop the drag racing at night down hanover.
    D) tiered fines for taking resident spots (boston resident, ma resident, out of state plates)

    2) put signs at the parameters of the north end welcoming visitors and reminding vistors that people live and work here (don’t litter, don’t block side walks, don’t take up the entire sidewalk when walking))… this isn’t colonial willmsburg.

    Some business have taken it upon themselves to put signs up about noise (and I applaud the effort), but the city could do the same and so could the restaurants/ establishments that regularly block the sidewalk.

    3) if there is a traffic light, there should be a walk/ don’t walk sign. Common sense?

    4) Btd should be looking at the timing of the lights (both pedestrian and cars) and fixing OBVIOUS mistakes.

    5) if you own a business, you are in charge of keeping the side walk clear of debris and people waiting to make sure residents (and others) can pass. You don’t, you get fined- obviously of business is that good,you can afford it. Cry poor because of rent- less restaurants will most likely mean lower rents for restaurant space.

    6) I think there should be a business tax exemption if you live in the neighborhood and increase the taxes for those who aren’t (similar to the residential exemption on real estate). But they REALLY NEED TO LIVE HERE, not the games played to get resident parking permits

    7) Inforce resident parking permits- no more using an address that you don’t live at to get a resident permit.

    8) I’m sure the city had a general idea of what the neighborhood generates tax wise from out of town vistors. While I am not saying that we shouldn’t help other areas of the city, we should be getting a good portion of that back as we have to deal with the issues that those dollars bring.

    9) traffic cameras at specific locations to catch the drivers who blatantly break the law and also to protect drivers that may have been going through a green light and some idiot who isn’t paying attention steps out against a don’t walk sign.

  14. Mayor Walsh is more concerned about car racing, lawn games on city hall plaza and defending crooked cohorts. one term Mayor.

  15. Excellent post, Ner. I agree with all your points, particularly: 1) Enforce parking regs, including TOWING, or….what happened to the boot? I see repeat offenders (business owners in particular) who just take multiple tickets (if they even get those) instead of renting a spot and/or walking a few blocks. Bet that would change if their vehicles were towed or booted. And valets jockeying for/blocking spots meant for the public then collecting valet fees. Not fair…I would like to think the public should at least have a fair chance at “public” parking spaces, and residents should be able to find a parking space.
    2) Make restaurant owners responsible for their sidewalk space…keep it clean and corral the crowds. Have a little pride in your establishment and be a good neighbor. I do see some restaurants sweeping and washing their sidewalks daily. Good for them. Shame on the others.
    Also, great idea about notifying visitors that people live and work here. Then maybe a police patrol to enforce park hours and noise regulations!
    Regarding current establishment sign about noise – that is nothing but a paper tiger. Makes them “look good” but never enforced. Get a bouncer or arrange for a police detail to drive by at closing if you mean it. The signage is a joke.

    1. Thanks Matilda.

      City hall is clueless/ don’t care…

      They blindly defend Btd and their actions and claim residents are “happy with the job Btd is doing”

      1) is it actually possible to be happy with Btd?

      2) most residents are not home during the day so they don’t see what actually happens.

      They get home and realized they got towed and then get made at them selves.

      What I’ve witnessed on my one tiny block in the past year:

      1) Btd towing a resident away while trying to find an owner of a work van. The resident was long gone before they finally ticked the van which was never towed

      2) tickets on residents vehicles (including my own) but convienetly missing from vehicles with commercial plates for street cleaning

      3) 2 weeks ago the street cleaner had already swerved around a parked car and then LONG after the street cleaner was by, the resident was then towed.

      The city (and especially our elected officials on the city level) don’t care about residents… Business first. The amount of times I have heard out of town business owners day I’ll call so and so’s office to get this (pertaining only to them) fixed is nauseating while residents have to fight for basic equality.

      I ask you to join me and TO SPEAK WITH YOUR VOTE. If our elected city officials won’t stand with (voting) residents and instead with (nonvoting) businesses, then we should cast our vote next year for someone who will

  16. I’ll try and stick to the original tone of the article by Marie by asking…why are motorcycles allowed to park on the block of Mikes’ Pastry for hours without a ticket? Most/all do not have resident stickers. In front of Mike’s, it’s Commercial parking until noon. Why does it not then resort to the same rules as the other side of the street? That block in front of Mike’s should be resident only after 6PM and a two our limit between noon and 6PM…..why is it different?

  17. Marie, again well said. Residents must stand up and fight for what they believe — the closing of Hanover Street, the workings of BTD, the number of restaurants, misuse of valet and resident parking, cleaniness of streets and sidewalks, the late-night noise situation, etc. The West End has taken on developers and the BRA with its letter-writing campaigns, and Beacon Hill has it Civic Association. You’ve got to get fire in your belly and a good team to work and solve these situations. All can be fixed.

    What happened to N. E.Chamber of Commerce? not transparent enough? closed meetings? no involvement with the neighborhood? too many non-resident restaurant owners? Without teamwork,nothing gets done.

  18. If the City of Boston wants to benefit from the attraction of the North End to visitors/tourists, then it’s time to show it! Not only Hanover Street, but a number of other well-travelled/touristed streets need cleaning (by property owners and the city)!! Endicott Street, Stillman Street, for example, are-always full of trash, dog urine and any number of unpleasant things.How about making the North End a better attraction by limiting restaurants, keeping it clean, and making it an interesting neighborhood for residents and visitors. Where is Sal Lamattina in all this??

  19. Here is what happens while residents are at work and BTD does as they please WITH THE BLESSING OF OUR ELECTED OFFICALS.

    Here a fire truck has to maneuver around multiple illegally parked vehicles:

    Check out this Illegal Parking at Intersection Of N Hanover Ct & Hanover St

    Good thing seconds don’t matter, right?

    Here Btd can’t be bothered to goto to location (right next to north end health and just about on top of a fire hydrant- apparently neither of which are important) and would rather point out the address is not correct (which is autofilled by THE CITY’S APP)

    Check out this Illegal Parking at 342a 342 Hanover St

    Yesterday THREE RESIDENTS were towed for street cleaning AFTER THE STREET CLEANER HAD ALREADY GONE BY while a commercial vehicle was parked on the sidewalk if little prince for OVER 4 HOURS and just got a ticket.

  20. Bravo Marie, it is a burden for me in the tourist months with my power chair, I go to CVS and back home via Cross to Fulton.
    Bobby Church

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