Avoiding Tickets and Tows

March 30, 2011

-By Penny Cherubino

Within the next two weeks, some cars will have to shift out of the resident parking spaces where they’ve camped all winter. Street sweeping currently runs from April 1st through November 30th.

Help From The City

In addition to street signs, the Boston Transportation Department offers other ways to avoid a mad scramble to move your car before it is ticketed or towed for street cleaning.

“Street sweeping schedule information for specific streets in Boston is available at www.cityofboston.gov/publicworks/sweeping. Residents are also invited to register for ‘No Tow’ email reminders on this page. ‘No Tow’ is a service provided by the city for residents to be reminded by email when the street that they regularly park on is scheduled for cleaning,” said Tracey Ganiatsos, transportation department spokesperson.

Avoiding Tickets

Signing up for notifications and planning ahead are the best ways to avoid tickets. Keep a cheat sheet in your car showing streets where you normally park and their street cleaning dates.  Then, you can begin cruising for parking where the car can stay the longest.

Read The Signs

Each Thursday at midnight tow trucks begin their work clearing the West side of Massachusetts Avenue for the street sweepers. The signs say, “Tow Zone, Street Cleaning, Friday, 12:01AM-7:00AM.” The people who parked there on Thursday evening may have seen Friday on the sign, but they don’t seem to notice the AM on the time, and their cars are towed.

Daily Check

Once you’ve maneuvered your car into an opening, your next job is watching for a sudden change in the legal status of that space. Special events, emergency infrastructure repairs, temporary permits (for construction or moving vans), and snow emergencies can mean moving the car or, if you’re not quick enough, a trip to the tow lot to reclaim your vehicle. You can look up the current Street Occupancy Permits on the city’s site.


Being out of town when you remember that your car is parked in the way of street sweepers can be costly. A tow means you’ll face paying the ticket ($40), the tow ($90), and storage fees ($20 per 24 hour period). A week away could cost you $270. If you have a trusted neighbor, you might exchange car keys and agree to move each other’s cars in emergencies like this.

Stay Boot Free

The dreaded “Denver Boots” and large warning stickers are showing up on cars parked around the neighborhood. Removing that boot adds another $90 to the bill to retrieve your car. If you’ve ever forgotten to pay parking tickets, you may want to visit the Parking Clerk’s Notification Service page. There, you can subscribe to alerts about every aspect of parking tickets including: when you have a ticket, before late payment penalties are applied, before you become boot eligible, and renewing your resident parking permit. You must have one unpaid parking ticket to sign up for these services.

Sign Up Today

Spend a few minutes on the City’s website and take advantage of the full range of services Boston has created to help you avoid tickets, tows, and boots. Visit and bookmark the following pages, and you’ll be ready for just about any car related issue.





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