Snowwhere to Park

East Eagle Street was relatively clean on Monday morning. By Tuesday night, the neighborhood was snowed in again.

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With each passing storm it’s getting harder and harder to park in East Boston for residents living on streets that are subjected to the city’s parking ban during snowstorms.

People along major arteries like Bennington, Chelsea and Meridian Streets usually don’t cringe when Mayor Thomas Menino declares a snow emergency.

For many residents they simply find a spot around the block, wait out the storm, dig out their cars and return to their street.

But that’s when we are starting with a clean slate and there’s no snow accumulation already on the ground in Eastie or huge piles of snow eating up already limited parking to deal with.

Now, when a snow emergency is declared, residents of those streets are finding it harder and harder to locate parking on side streets during the enforced parking ban. This is due to the fact that neighbors on side streets have already hunkered down and have been protecting spots for weeks now. That coupled with more and more snow accumulation it is becoming a major headache for thousands of residents trying to find satellite parking–sometimes blocks away from their front steps.

Each time a residents from a major artery returns back to their own street they have to forfeit the spot they dug out. Usually these forfeited spots are reclaimed by someone that did not dig out the spot but is not ashamed to claim the spot as their own with a chair, trash barrel or cone.

In a neighborhood that has a long tradition of space saving, the parking ban is a relatively new thing imposed by Mayor Menino a few years back. In past, less snowy winters, it was never a major problem and everything seemed to work itself out a few days after a storm.

However, facing one of the snowiest winters on record, Menino might have to rethink his parking ban strategy as thousands of Eastie residents are forced off their streets and now have no place to park.

City Councilor Sal LaMattina, said if year round street cleaning was in place in Eastie snow removal crews could use those days to plow every street in Eastie from curb to curb–not just major arteries.

“Obviously you couldn’t street clean during a snow storm or during the days following so you could send snowplows out instead,” said LaMattina. “Then all the side streets from curb to curb would be plowed right to the gutters and the neighborhood would be back to normal in a few days. Right now we are running out of space in areas like Eagle Hill because snow piles from people digging out their cars week after week are 10 feet high in some cases. These mountains of snow are eating up a significant amount of parking spaces in the neighborhood.”

With limited parking already on side streets, residents who live on a major artery during this week’s parking ban are out of luck until the city figures out a better way to deal with snow removal.

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