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Campaign against ‘aggressive parkers’ is worth the City Council’s attention

City Councilor Matt O’Malley wants Boston to be a friendlier place, and he thinks the city’s parking spaces are a good place to start. He recently asked the City Council to start an awareness campaign against aggressive parkers who double park along busy roads filled with businesses, commandeer two parking spaces instead of one, and block bike lanes, endangering the safety of the city’s growing number of cyclists. It’s a worthwhile initiative that the council should take seriously.

Boston has long been known for its hard-to-navigate streets and unfriendly drivers. As one travel guide puts it, “Boston streets are not safe” — not because of crime, but because of the “actual driving.” Most importantly, it’s a matter of public safety.

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O’Malley hopes to combat errant parkings in part by erecting signs encouraging drivers to follow parking rules. “I don’t want to overdo it and have a sign on every pole and tree in the city,” he said, “but there are certain neighborhoods that would benefit from some gentle reminders.”

The city, in conjunction with Harvard School of Public Health, has already launched a pilot program using signage to remind drivers not to block busy intersections. Using the same tactic to combat unsafe parking makes sense, too. O’Malley stresses that his campaign isn’t about adding rules and fines to the books, but raising awareness and enforcing laws that already exist. It’s a smart, low-cost idea that’s well worth the council’s attention.

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