Globe Watch Investigates the Parking Scam on Commercial Wharf West

Commercial Wharf West lot without a clear parking sign in sight. (Photo: David Arnold)
Commercial Wharf West lot without a clear parking sign in sight. (Photo: David Arnold)

Comments by readers regarding the parking trap on Commercial Wharf West attracted the attention of Boston Globe investigative reporter, Christina Pazzanese, who writes for the Globe Watch column. (See “Beware the Parking Trap at Commercial Wharf West”).

In today’s paper, Globe Watch reviews the situation.

Residents of Commercial Wharf West in the North End are upset about what some call a longstanding “parking scam’’ happening on their street.

Though it looks like an ordinary city street, with a small grocery store and a number of storefronts, it is a private way connecting a restaurant-heavy section of Atlantic Avenue to Commercial Street. And that is where the problem begins, they say.

Neighbors have recently taken to a local website,, to complain about the continued lack of clear street signs alerting drivers to the fact that none of those spaces are available for the general public. Parking is open only to those who have paid for a special pass. There are often as many as two dozen cars parked there.

Although no response was received from the towing company, Globe Watch received the following response from the Boston Transportation Department.

“First, [Boston Transportation Department] staff has checked Commercial Wharf West on foot. There are currently seven or eight towing signs posted on the roadway, but a few of them are old and faded. The towing company that is contracted to work on this street has been contacted by BTD and a request to post new, additional signs has been made,’’ she writes. “Also, BTD will be supplementing the ‘Commercial Wharf West, Private Way’ signs currently posted on either end of the roadway with additional signs reading “Private Way, Violators will be Towed.’’

Read the full Globe Watch column.

Related posts:
Beware the Parking Trap at Commercial Wharf West

One Reply to “Globe Watch Investigates the Parking Scam on Commercial Wharf West

  1. Some things never change. When I was a student living on Beacon Street in the 1960s, the Boston Police were engaged in a similar scam throughout the Back Bay, but on public streets rather than "private property."

    A fleet of tow truck would wait on a nearby street, while police descended on a target block, using techniques such as putting "Street Cleaning – No Parking" paper bags on meters, with a minimal notice interval.

    We rejoiced when a few (but unfortunately not all) of the police were convicted of crime, and their cooperating towing company was no longer permitted to function in the city.

    As a naive young person newly arrived in the big city, it was a rude shock to discover the dishonest behavior of "authority figures," and the rancid taste has never left my mouth.

    As was said then, "follow the money" and you will quickly understand the motivation for the current abuse, as well as the one described above which occurred some 5 decades ago in your "fair city." (With apologies to Klick and Klack, the Tappet Brothers.)

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