(This piece was originally published Sept. 9, 2013 and appeared on

Everyone in Allston has to deal with it at one point or another, and everyone has a fairly similar experience.

Parking in Allston sucks.

Regardless of whether you have a resident sticker or not, it’s never easy to find a spot. There are so many rules to keep track of, and apparently these parking problems contribute to our egregious rent situations.

You have to go out every few hours and check on your car, find out whether it has been keyed or set on fire or had the mirrors smashed off by inexperienced drivers.

Dear new #Allston / #Brighton residents: please go to a parking lot somewhere, learn how to parallel park, and then come back and try again.
— Mark B. Nolan (@mahhkk) September 4, 2013

The biggest threat is being towed. Tow-truck drivers are obviously doing a job, and it’s a necessary one because many people don’t understand the rules of parking. Because we don’t know, we feel the tow-truck drivers are predatory, and they often are. We lash out at them; Robert’s Towing has a 1.5 Star rating on Yelp, and is littered with colorful descriptions of being extorted and manipulated by their tow=truck operators. Many feel that they bank on us not knowing the rules and being ignorant of our rights.

Instead of blaming the tow-truck drivers, who are people too (I guess), we should smarten up and learn the rules. Learn the towing hot spots, and don’t park there.

Park further away, such as in Lower Allston and Brookline. It’s worth the walk to not have to worry. Be aware of street cleaning, watch out for yellow curbs. Give them and hydrants a wide berth, don’t allow for any confusion.

where does one park in allston to goto great scott in Boston on a tuesday? any suggestions? #greatscott #allston
— Scary May (@scarymay) September 8, 2013

Ask twitter.

Pay your parking tickets or you’ll get booted. Alternatively, use them to create cool art.

If you’re unloading stuff or moving, always leave the car running and the hazards on so that it can’t be construed as an attempt to park. Even if your building manager okays it, it’s better to be safe than have to pay a $50 drop fee or $131 to get your car back.

Consider registering your car here. Your insurance rates will go up, but that’s because your car is way more likely to get fucked up. Getting towed isn’t exactly great for your undercarriage either.

Wise up, know your rights.

If the tow-truck operator says he wants to involve the cops, you might as well let him, then you’ll actually know who is at fault. Hide yo’ drugs first, obvs. Give yourself a little extra time to search for parking, or check out user-created maps of available parking.

Read up on reasons to be towed. If you don’t think you should have been, then dispute it. Make sure to take pictures of signs for businesses you visited, of the location you believe your car was in, etc. “You may have a walk-in hearing within 5 days of the tow or you may schedule a hearing at the Office Parking Clerk. For information concerning a hearing call (617)-635–4410.”

Mayor Menino recently held a live twitter chat, during which I suggested the city provide a map of available parking on the street.

@allstonratcity Love the map idea. Just spoke with BTD commish Tinlin about it.#HubMoveIn
— Mayor Tom Menino (@mayortommenino)September 6, 2013

Hopefully that will help. You genius college students should make an app that shows you where the nearest street parking spots are.

And remember, the more you know, the better off you’ll be.

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