Food & Drink Police & Fire Transportation

FinComm Investigates Valet Parking Enforcement

The Boston Finance Commission has launched an investigation regarding the enforcement of valet parking violations at restaurants and hotels. The investigation comes after multiple problems were reported in the recent Globe article. Valet parking enforcement involves crossover responsibilities from three city agencies, the Transportation Department (BTD), Police Department (BPD) and the Mayor’s Office of Consumer Affairs, Licensing and Entertainment.

A summary of the update regarding the status of the investigation from FinComm’s monthly meeting held January 3, 2012:

  • FinComm reported that three police officers are being paid $335 weekly stipends ($50,000/year) to enforce the City’s valet regulations. FinComm believes there has been little enforcement because there are no records of fines or tickets. The Commission found the officers generally do not work after 5pm, missing the important dinner hour when valets are most busy at restaurants.
  • FinComm’s checks around Downtown Boston revealed several meter and residential spaces being used by valets along with excessive time violations.
  • Police and Transportation officials have started “sting” operations and random checks in the past month. Tickets and fines are the responsibility of the restaurant/hotel, not the valet company.
  • Permits for new valet parking locations are being issued by the valet companies, instead of BTD. In addition, payment was often not received for issued permits. Two companies control the vast majority of Boston valet operations.
  • FinComm met with BTD Commissioner Tom Tinlin and Dan Nuzzo, in charge of valet operations for the Transportation Department. Nuzzo has been moved back to City Hall and is working with FinComm on corrective actions.
  • Signage is sorely lacking on the streets. FinComm will suggest standardization and a phone number be placed on signs to report problems.
  • The annual rate for valet space from the city is $40/foot. Thus, a 20 foot valet space cost only $800 per year encouraging excessive use. (Ed: At ~25% the cost of a parking spot in a Downtown garage, we should all apply for valet space.)
  • Valet regulations may need to be revamped. BTD’s Tinlin/Nuzzo and Licensing’s Patricia Malone have agreed to cooperate with FinComm in drafting recommendations.
  • FinComm believes that monthly reports of valet parking enforcement actions should be a key priority. 

11 Replies to “FinComm Investigates Valet Parking Enforcement

  1. Finally!!! People in the North End have been complaining about this for a decade and nothing ever happened. Thank you Boston Globe for getting lighting a fire under somebody's butt in city government to look into this fiasco. Now….lets see how long it takes for things to change.

  2. Agreed, the Globe has been on a roll with investigations lately (valets, probation department, chelsea housing authority, etc.). Well done.

  3. Prezza violates these rules all the time… Only problem with the Globe article was it didn't investigate the North End, stayed mainly in the Back Bay, if I remember right…

  4. Cops being paid to do work where it appears they never showed up or wrote citations…there's a shocker.

  5. city needs to start all over and revaluate the number of valet and handicap spaces, as both are being exploited in the north end to the detriment honest, hard working residents.

  6. The city needs to step up period in regards to the parking issue in the North End. Every weekend there are numerous non-resident vehicles parked in our spots. They all know that they will not receive a ticket so they don't care…its free vs paying the garage fees that I have to pay sometimes as I cannot find parking! If you want to park in the Northend then come pay our high property taxes, rents, insurance rates and we will gladly give you a parking sticker!

  7. To the city's credit, I have seen better overall enforcement in the last few weeks. Loading zones, resident parking spots and double parkers are all getting tickets more frequently on Hanover St.

    I saw a lady ask a cop 'What would you like me to do'? after he chided her and her CT plate for double parking in front of the Suffolk dorm next to CVS while she waited for her kid to come downstairs. Drive around the block like the rest of us.

    The city could put a permanent enforcement officer in front of Mike's Pastry and collect a ton of cash for the city coffers.

  8. Double parking is a whole nother problem… I always shake my head when I see two cars double parked on Hanover on opposite sides of the street so it ties up traffic both ways, usually hanover st, which I try to stay off driving on…

    You would think the city would realize the potential additonal revenue stream from ticketing nonresidents more as they should be, let alone relying on towing residents for being 10 minutes late for street sweeping…

  9. I've been using the Citizen's Connect iPhone app to snap pictures of non-resident parkers who are in our spaces. Also use it to nail jerks who park in Handicapped spots without a pass. I'm not sure how much it affects a BTD officer from coming to ticket them, but at least it's being recorded.

    The next great Globe story could be the abuse of handicapped parking permits. Can't remember the last time I've actually seen someone older or physically impaired step out of a car that had a handicap pass on it.

  10. This Summer, there were several cars and motorcycles parked on Hanover St. in resident sports that did not have stickers. I called the 24 hour line and by the time I went back out to look, the parking enforcement officer was on the scene and the owners were scrambling to move their vehicles. I've found the city to be pretty responsive around the parking issue when asked.

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