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All your space are belong to us

As in many cities, finding a parking space in Boston can be a challenge. And when there's a special event going on, it's even tougher. And when that special event is Opening Day at Fenway Park, it gets even harder. Toss in that it's against their arch-rivals, the New York Yankees, and you can ratchet up another order of magnitude. And when you calculate in that it will also feature the raising of the World Series banner and presentation of World Series rings, it degenerates into nigh-impossible.

But to show that the entrepeneurial spirit is still alive and kicking in Boston, there are always those people who can find a way to make a buck out of a bad situation. In this case, it's anyone near enough to Fenway who owns more than a few square feet of pavement. Normally, a parking spot for the duration of a game can run as much as $60. There were rumors that on Monday, places were charging as much as $100 -- and getting it.

But that can't be allowed to happen. Someone actually making money in the city without the city dictating how much, and how big their cut will be? We can't have that! Enter Mayor Thomas "Mumbles" Menino.

Apparently, Mumbles is appalled at free-range capitalism in HIS city's boundaries. He immediately announced a move to rein in these costs.

"We are going to come up with a strategy to make sure this doesn't happen in the future," Menino said. "My goal is to have control over the fees. This may be the market, but it's not right."

Apparently the laws of commerce that allow the sheer, usurious price-gouging inside Fenway Park (outrageous prices for tickets, food, drinks, beer, and souvenirs) end at the stadium walls. The city is going to step in and tell these entrepeneurs exactly what they can charge, how many cars they can fit on their lots, and probably start a special tax on that revenue, too. And that'll be on top of the already appallingly-high taxes they pay to the city and state.

And the excuses they're using to rationalize this sheer, naked power-grab are ludicrous.

First, the public outcry. If people were so incensed, they WOULDN'T PAY IT. Second, attending a ball game is a luxury. Attending an afternoon game on a Monday even more so. There will be no great lasting harm on anyone if they miss a game.

Second, they're threatening the "safety" issue. They're worried about "excess flammable material" on the lot. That one's a transparent crock -- I'd be willing to bet real money that if their underground fuel tanks are half-full on game day, there's still less flammable material on the premises than when those tanks are full. The amount added by the cars is negligible in comparison to those tanks.

I find it even more interesting that city officials are drafting the new ordinance before they even figure out whether they can. I'm reminded of the (probably apocryphal) tale of Henry Ford building his first car in a shed, then discovering that it was too wide to get out the entrance. But I guess the city has plenty of money to waste on these exercises before deciding whether they're pointless.

I, frankly, am disgusted with these lot owners. Just because they bought the property, paved it, and pay outrageous property and other taxes to the city for the privilege of continuing to own it, they think they can just do whatever they want with it? Including (shudder) MAKE MONEY?

The sheer, utter gall of these people.



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Comments (14)

Is this like a joke against... (Below threshold)

Is this like a joke against the entrepeneurs or the city? Either way, those who allow Red Sox fans to park in their driveway ARE ludicrous and a ban should be filed against them regulating what they can or cannot charge. Even Hampton Beach is only $10 per car for a whole day and night and that's about ALL these property owners should be charging for cars parking on their property. Their entrepeneural spirt is way too high and totally ridiculous. I'm glad the Mayor is going to stop the price gouging.


I'm gonna quit whining...ma... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

I'm gonna quit whining...maybe Northern California ain't so bad after all. Should sub-file in "Asshats".

Mumbles will probably make ... (Below threshold)

Mumbles will probably make them get a license to have a parking lot similar to taxi cab emblems. Just another way to fleece the hard working people.

If I live near Fenway and t... (Below threshold)

If I live near Fenway and the people wanting to park on my property are willing to pay me $100, who is Mumbles to say otherwise?

Cindy, do you think the government ought to tell Donald Trump or Warren Buffett how much money they can earn? Same principle.

I was perusing the Best Buy... (Below threshold)

I was perusing the Best Buy flyer last Sunday, and noticed they were charging SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS for a wide-screen plasma TV!

I'm gonna drop a line to Mayor Menino asking him to help me out a little here. How dare they charge me that much money to exercise my right to pursue happiness. It's OUTrageous!

$100 to park right next to Fenway Park for one of the most historic events ever to be held there? Unacceptable.

$100 to apply for a gun permit in Boston? Well, that's for the children. And if Menino had his way, that $100 would just be the down payment.

How blatant is this:<... (Below threshold)

How blatant is this:

"...But Tinlin said the city can find ways to punish parking lot operators...''We will be traveling in a team, checking on these sites for capacity, flammable liquid, or zoning violations, and we will be shutting down lots we see that are not in compliance with their licenses, no questions asked," Tinlin said...."

BTW, did any of these morons consider what a Red Sox game does to regular business? How many cars avoid Boylston Street because of the traffic and crowds?

Word around Pinellas Park w... (Below threshold)

Word around Pinellas Park was that they were charging some satellite trucks $1000/day near Schiavo's hospice.

Menino will use every trick... (Below threshold)

Menino will use every trick in the book to extort money from those smart enough to make it. If you don't ask Menino's permission to make money in this city, he's all over you like a cheap suit. And really, who cares what people are paying to park their cars for a game at Fenway. It only happens 81 times during the year and these lot owners are definitely not fleecing their customers, those parking their can afford it. If you can't, you don't have to park there, take the T like the rest of us.

actually, if the undergroun... (Below threshold)

actually, if the underground tanks were half-full the situation would be more dire. a half-full fuel gasoline tank is much more explosive (think how explosive a GAS is compared to a LIQUID).

The history of the parking ... (Below threshold)

The history of the parking lot business is, well, um, is....let me put it this way, would you be surprised to learn that a certain shoe store chain grew out of a certain parking lot "family" business? And was conveniently relocated (well, mostly) in their "family" offices to Canada (borders provide certain separations from certain other reaches of those with, um, long arms) along with their, um, bottled liquid entertainments?

Oh, here I am, just sitting here, waiting for the next and last season of "The Sopranos," minding my own business, donchyaknow...

What I just wrote was fanta... (Below threshold)

What I just wrote was fantasy. Fantasy, I tell you, fantasy. Musings of a bored individual. Imaginings. I made it all up. All of it.

When I used to live in the ... (Below threshold)

When I used to live in the Boston area, parking spaces were indeed at a premium. To make matters worse, on snowy days, they would plow all the snow into one massive mound at the end of a street, taking up the last parking space.

Well, one time there were simply no other spaces, and I had had enough. I put my SUV into low gear and parked it neatly atop the snow mound, a good four feet higher up than the other cars.

- When I lived in Cow Hamps... (Below threshold)

- When I lived in Cow Hampsire in a small suburb of Nashua called Derry,(which I can't even find on the map anymore), the problem wasn't finding a parking space. The problem was finding your car at all after a heavy snow and the work of the local plowing crew.

- Ok. I did find it. It was... (Below threshold)

- Ok. I did find it. It was farther from the center of town than I remembered. Of course we're talking mid sixties, when the population and facilities in the area was less than 1/10 of what it is today. What was really fun was driving on the steeply banked turns of 3A getting to work. The only way to navigate it was to put your wheels in the grassy center strip, which is where everyone ended up anyway. That and outdoor parking on top of the buildings at Logan. Which brings to mind that company Xmas gift of a frozen turkey, which I threw in the trunk of the car, and found upon return from a week long biz trip, had gotten a bit ripe due to a sudden warm spell. Interesting ride home from the airport. Anyway the point is that at least in those days people hadn't discovered the joys of "free enterprise" yet. Only the politicians took advantage of that unique American practice. The temerity of the average citizen. How dare they!






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