Walsh warns he’ll end space saver rule if people aren’t nicer to each other

Mayor Martin J. Walsh warned on a local TV news program that he would consider ending the space saver rule if people continue to act viciously toward others, but he tweeted shortly afterward that he has no imminent plans to do so.

Under the controversial but widely used rule, Boston residents — except for those in the South End — can use items such as furniture or cones to temporarily save their street parking spot after digging it out from a snowstorm.

However, nastiness can break out over space savers: By those desperate to find a clear parking space, but especially by those whose spot has been taken.

A wooden chair used as a space saver in the South End, as seen before the neighborhood banned the practice.


After the dramatic nor’easter dumped mounds of snow on the city last week, Walsh said that anyone who had shoveled out a parking space could claim that space for 48 hours.

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By the time the shoveling had ended, there was no shortage of threatening notes by those who had cleared out a spot. One found on a space saver in Brighton declared: “Take this and expect your windows to be broken.”

Several other social media sites and publications have reported contention among neighbors over the parking spots.

But Walsh told WCVB reporters that if residents don’t adjust their attitudes, he’d do away with the program completely.

“The space isn’t your space,” the mayor said. “You did the work to get your car out. . . but it’s a city street. When people threaten people, if that continues to happen, we will end that rule.”


Walsh made the comments on WCVB’s weekly talk show “On The Record,” which airs on Sunday.

After WCVB made a clip of Walsh’s comments available on Thursday, the mayor took to Twitter to note that he doesn’t “plan any changes to the space saver program,” but added that he was “disappointed by threatening messages and notes that residents are leaving on each other’s cars.”

Nicole Caravella, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said Walsh is encouraging anyone who has been victimized or feels threatened to contact the police, who can pursue an investigation.

Milton Valencia of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at