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South End takes stand against parking-space savers

An umbrella and chair strategically placed saved a parking spot in South Boston.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

It’s time-honored winter rite in some neighborhoods, particularly South Boston: ­After drivers clear their cars, the space savers come out. If you shovel it, the thinking goes, you own it.

But some in the South End, alarmed that the tradition is making inroads there, are taking a stand against the practice.

South End neighborhood associations are asking residents not to use savers, and the Rutland Square group is going one step further, encouraging residents to remove any space savers they see.

“There’s no logical reason why someone ought to be able to claim a space,” said Stephen Fox, chairman of the board of directors of the Rutland Square Association and a member of the neighborhood-wide South End Forum.


“There isn’t one neighborhood association that supports this or thinks it’s a good idea,” he said.

Fox said that in the nearly 30 years he has lived in the South End, he has seen an ­occasional safety cone marking a cleared space.

But after this weekend’s storm, out came chairs, ironing boards, and other household items.

One resident left a box with the message, “Do not take my parking space! Your car will be vandalized!!!”

“That really sort of tells the whole story,” Fox said. “It’s increas­ingly important for us to maintain a level of civility and recognize that the public spaces are the public spaces. That’s just the way it is.”

If everyone removes the savers, he said, drivers will be less likely to retaliate against the person who happened to park in the spot and might stop using savers altogether.

Already, Fox said, he has heard from about two dozens neighbors who cleared savers.

“I’m frankly delighted,” he said.