Mary O’Neill is gathering input on unposted and late-posted parking restrictions and is looking for North End residents to share their experiences.
Have you been
2) ticketed and towed or
3) asked to move your car for a temporary parking restriction that was not posted when you parked in a spot within the previous 48 hours?
If so, please send info on the experience to email@example.com so I can compile data so the City can see they need a mechanism to handle this problem.
Here’s why I’m asking:
Moving and construction companies can get temporary parking permits, but the restrictions must post be posted with flyers and signs at least 48 hours in advance in a residential area. If a car is in the restricted zone, the police are called, and if the police can’t contact the owner, the car gets a ticket or ticket + tow. Over the past 18 months, I’ve had 3 instances when notice was not properly given, yet police jumped into action on behalf of the private company, no questions asked.
The first time, I walked past my car at 6:45 a.m., there was no sign, no flyer (as confirmed by 2 others), but later that morning, I got ticketed ($55) and towed ($110) for being in a moving zone. The second time, there was a moving sign (no flyers at all) posted at most 16 hours in advance of a move for a neighboring building. I reported the defective notice to the Mayor’s hotline, but at 7:15 a.m., the next morning, after I’d already moved my car, an officer was on hand to ticket and authorize a tow for the car that was behind mine. The third time, I parked at 8 a.m. on my street, no signs or flyers anywhere, but in the evening, there was a ticket ($55) on my car for being in a construction zone, plus a generic sign was posted with the dates listed on masking tape, no specified hours, no permit number at all. No street occupancy permit appears for the last 2 instances in the cityofboston.gov website. I’ve had my fair share of street sweeping tickets from getting days and dates mixed up. Those tickets are my fault – I take the blame and I pay up. I shouldn’t have to pay up, though, when a company doesn’t give residents the required notice.
The problem is, the police assume if a sign is there when they arrive, it was there all along. Police say it’s a transportation issue, so appeal the ticket. Appealing is useless because you can’t prove the sign wasn’t there during the required time, and transportation hearing officer says that by issuing a ticket, the police officer is saying the sign was there, and takes that as valuable evidence that the requirement was met, even though the officer is not saying anything about whether it was there 48 hours earlier.
I have a couple ideas on ways to monitor the problem – Parking enforcement officers could monitor this by making a note of posted restrictions in their handheld computers as they walk around. If no notation is made, no enforcement. Alternatively, there could be an automated hotline where companies dial in to report posting the permit. No call, no enforcement, with severe penalties for those who get caught lying in random checks.
Since this has happened to me 3 times, I’m guessing it has happened to others. It’s expensive, and I’d like to ensure it doesn’t happen again.