Whose lane is it, anyway?

I thought the car parked across the sidewalk was blocking the old woman on a walker, but it was parked there for her to enter. Which is still illegal(*). Sidewalks are no standing zones as well as no parking zones.

Traffic authorities make everything illegal and trust police to overlook little old ladies boarding, politicians driving drunk, and residents having parties.

I wrote the above, set it aside, and went for another walk. Again there was a car parked across the sidewalk along Trapelo Road. This time nobody was boarding. I took a look down the driveway and saw the problem. A second car was parked in front of it. There was 50 feet of empty space and a garage in front of that second car, but the driver had to park in the way.

At that point my attitude changed from “the law failed” to “tear down the building so they don’t do it again.” According to tax records it’s a rental so flaying the owner wouldn’t do any good.

It’s not a rare observation. The driveway is plenty long enough, but the car still blocks the sidewalk. The front yard isn’t big enough to fit a car, but they park a car anyway. Most any time I go for a walk I’ll have to detour into the street.

Trapelo Road is one of the main streets through Belmont. MassDOT and the federal government recently paid for a $17 million dollar reconstruction project because it was a main street. There’s a lot of traffic and people use the sidewalks. Blocking its sidewalks should not be tolerated.

On side streets it’s a much worse problem, in terms of numbers of violations, although each individual violation is less severe.

Many towns won’t write parking tickets in residential districts unless somebody complains. Part of the reason is lack of resources. Also important, the laws are meant to be broken and police don’t want to ticket the wrong person. I saw a wrecked car sit for months illegally parked in an area that normally has enforcement. The owner of the body shop down the street obviously had connections. Just like the residents of Chestnut Hill who wanted to make sure parking rules were only enforced against Boston College students. The result is nobody can be sure what is legal, because enforcement depends not on what you do but who you know.

Let me steal from the classic British TV show Yes, Prime Minister.

It’s one of those irregular verbs. We have guests. You host a party. They disturb the neighborhood.

(*) Massachusetts uniform municipal traffic code section 5-1(b).

The opinions expressed in this post belong to the author and do not necessarily represent those of the National Motorists Association or the NMA Foundation. This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice. No representations are made regarding the accuracy of this post or the included links.

Not an NMA Member yet?

Join today and get these great benefits!

Leave a Comment