Parking fine increases are fine with me

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I am again encouraging people to ride the T. If the environmental benefits, economic value, and ease of use haven’t convinced you, try parking your car in Somerville these days. It has just become (and will continue to become) much more expensive to park out near where I work, very close to the Davis Square T stop. The city just installed new digital meters that cannot be thwarted by the old “folded up paper mechanism-jamming” technique, and the rates have doubled. Now if you want to park your car in Somerville, it’s going to cost you a quarter for every 15 minutes at a meter. And don’t even think about parking illegally or letting that meter expire, because parking officials are like hawks around here, circling their prey, watching meters expire and then promptly writing tickets. The prices for those tickets went up a couple of weeks ago, and some fines are set to increase again beginning August 12.

This spells bad news for anyone who commutes to work in the area and doesn’t have a permit. It’s especially bad for the servers who work in the restaurant I manage. They have to constantly run out to their cars to feed their meters over the course of a shift. Even then, one or more of them come in almost daily, brandishing a bright orange violation slip.

We have a fantastic mass transit system here. If you don’t believe me, try living in a city with no mass transit system like Cincinnati (my home town) where the buses run less frequently to fewer routes, and cost $1.50 if you want to go anywhere but downtown.

If you’re still not convinced, and you get a ticket, I have no sympathy. With enough planning and a willingness to get some excercise, anyone within reach of the T should be able to get wherever they need to go – without dealing with harsh parking regulations and fines.

5 Comments so far

  1. Josh (unregistered) on August 6th, 2005 @ 7:49 am

    I’v spent 5 min. here reading different posts on this blog and I keep seeing “Boston has a great transit system” messages.

    Are you serious?

    It might compare well to a place that has no system at all, but it’s not even close to the major cities of the world. I’m not surprised ridership is down. When I used to work in Cambridge… I drove there from Boston.

    I like the idea of mass transit and I think more people should use it too, but it has some serious limitations in Boston. I would love to help the system but one of it’s problems is how it is run, it’s just one more state agency that is filled with waste and bureaucratic stagnation.


  2. Clair Wyant (unregistered) on August 6th, 2005 @ 11:40 am

    I have to agree with Josh. I packed my bags and moved here from the west coast. One reason… THE T! I love the public transit and the thought of basiclly not using my car. Lower insurance… spend little to nothing on gas (big help these days).

    Try living in any west coast city. The problem with the west coast is the cities are more spread out. That would naturally make public transit close to impossible. A car is required!

    Is it perfect? Of course not. As much as I agree with the complaints, I am not complaining about it as much as other people are. Look at gas prices! Look at insurance rates! TAXES!

    I do have one complaint. That is the buses (especially the 89 that goes through Broadway in Somerville)! Sunday is the worst. Sure… it is Sunday and there are fewer buses. That is fine, but what is not fine is being super late (some of us have to work) or NOT SHOWING UP!

    The system can be improved in couple different ways. The obvious is more stops outside the city (cambridge/somerville/newton/waltham). It does look like that may happen… to an extent. How about a sign that would say how long it would take till the train comes (like on the London TUBE).

    Overall, I am not complaining… thank you very much.

  3. Josh (unregistered) on August 7th, 2005 @ 9:32 am

    The bus situation was responsible for my commuting by bicycle for about 10 years.

    I lived in Allston while at Northeastern University, and you would think that the #66 bus would be a good way to get there and back, but I could bicycle the same route in 1/2 to 2/3 the time. The train requires a dogleg trip to the Coply stop to change trains, where you reverse direction and go back out Huntington ave.

    All in all, if you come to Boston as a tourist and want to get around to see the sights, the “T” is great. It’s the day to day commmuting that revealls the shortcommings (esp. the buses).


  4. sgtret (unregistered) on August 7th, 2005 @ 7:39 pm

    I have had two realtives thrown off the Orange line in the last month due to power failures. They were sent up to the street with the loud speaker announcement that shuttles would be along soon. No shuttle. When they walked across to South Station and explained their plight to the ticket booth, they received no sympathy and were asked for an additional $1.25 to continue their trip. Was this another way Boston collects money?

  5. JT (unregistered) on September 23rd, 2005 @ 10:44 pm

    OK, I understand Jeff’s desire for people to use mass transit, but isn’t this still America? Shouldn’t people at least have a choice? What about justice? Somerville uses bogus tickets for unposted laws to extract revenue from unsuspecting visitors, new arrivals, and I’m sure even occasionally tax paying citizens. I have no problem with encouraging public transportation, but those who chose alternate means should not be unfairly punished. What about those who usually take the T but on a particular day for some reason need to drive? That person would be unfamiliar with the parking racquet the city has going and would be most likely to receive a ticket from the parking ticket predators.

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