Somerville Street Sweeping Scam

As of today, I am convinced that the only reason Somerville Public Works “cleans” the streets is to collect parking fines. I left my apartment this morning at 9:00, and as I walked down the street to work, observed two parking officers feverishly writing out tickets to every car on the side of the street marked for cleaning. Though I don’t drive, and certainly will avoid it at all cost, I sympathize with the drivers around me who have to put up with these shenanigans.

Every first and third Friday of the week, parking officers nail about ten cars on my street alone with $50 fines for parking in a “street cleaning zone.” This morning, my roommate was among the unlucky who received such a fine. This is her first week living in our apartment and she had no clue about the regulation. I’m sure she’ll never get fined again after this experience, but it’s something different that really irks me. When I came home, I noticed that the street sweeper had been by, not because the streets were cleaner, but because they were in fact, much dirtier. The machine had served only to blow the leaves on the street up onto the sidewalks, and lines of mud had been sprayed on the street during the “cleaning.” Now my street is striped with mud, and the leaves and garbage have only moved a few feet. For the revenue they generated in parking tickets for just this one day, one might think they would actually clean the streets.

What a scam.

2 Comments so far

  1. John (unregistered) on October 3rd, 2005 @ 10:45 am

    I live in Inman square on Dickinson Street. Somerville will only sometimes ticket the non residents who do not have a parking permit on our street. These people frequent the Abbey lounge and take up our parking spaces; they increase the noise on our street and throw glass beer bottles on our sidewalks and streets.
    The other night, I left my parking spot that was right in front of my house for just 5 minutes to pick something up at the store. When I returned, my spot was taken by someone without a sticker and who is not a member of our community. They most probably did not get a ticket that night, If they did, it probably would have been a 20 dollar fine. On the other hand though, I was forced to park around the corner and several hundred yards from house. There were a lot of non residents parking on my street that night. I think the bar had some band or something. I got out a little late the next day, had walk way down the street and found myself with a 50 dollar street cleaning ticket. You know It just doesn

  2. Jeff (unregistered) on October 3rd, 2005 @ 12:49 pm

    I think the only real way to substantially change the parking situation in Somerville will be to unite a group of people under the common cause. First and foremost, it’s probably a good idea to read through the city of Somerville’s parking regulations manual – a hefty 133 pages – and itemize things that do not serve the common good, or unfairly punish first-time or unknowing offenders (like most of us are). We take our list, and the signatures of as many Somerville residents as we can get and contact city hall to see if anyone with more power will grant us an audience or champion our cause. I’m sure if we got enough people to speak out in favor of parking law reform we could make an impact. There are also a number of grassroots type political steps we can take like getting a free ad in one of the papers, passing out flyers, blogging even: just so we can spread the word and find out how many people would actually be willing to see some change. If we were successful, we could get the issue added to the ballot for the upcoming vote, and if it passed, city hall would have to address the issue. Even if it just got on the ballot (with enough signatures on a petitiion), I’d consider the matter a moderate success. Either way, if we really want to do something about the situation, we should probably start here.

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