In certain neighborhoods it’s a necessity like electricity and running water.
Having a space saver is vitally important to car owners who live in areas like South Boston and Charlestown and need to lay claim to their carved-out territory.
With parking already limited in the dense neighborhoods, the addition of two feet of snow makes things even worse.
Outsiders driving around those neighborhoods in recent days would be forgiven if they thought it was trash day with myriad items littering the snow banks in front of homes.
But, with the snow emergency and parking ban lifted at 6 p.m. Tuesday, the countdown is on. Residents have 48 hours from that time to enjoy their reserved space. After that, it’s a free-for-all and the city has in the past sent garbage crews out to the neighborhoods to toss the savers.
For some residents, the recent historic storm that left Boston buried in about two feet of snow should be reason enough for the city to extend the time frame.
“Well in a storm like this when you broke your back (shoveling) maybe it should go more than 48 hours,” said a lifelong South Boston resident as she shoveled snow from around her car Tuesday, an orange cone nearby at the ready.
While they may range from trash barrels to vacuum cleaners and even to flat-screen TVs, the space savers are symbolic of the hours of aching work that people put in after a large storm to be able to get to and from their homes.
And when they’re moved so a stranger’s car can take the spot, things can turn criminal. People have shared stories online of slashed tires, keyed doors and even cars doused in gallons of paint as means of revenge for people who do not honor the space savers.
Boston Police Tuesday night said they so far had no reports of damaged property related to parking disputes.
Mayor Thomas Menino has apologized to residents who have had to deal with unplowed and narrow streets.
In the wake of the storm the city launched "snow removal strike force teams" to help clear the tons of snow throughout the city. Monday night into early Tuesday, crews removed 1,350 truck loads of snow from city roadways, Menino’s office said.
“Our crews will be out there all day and again (Tuesday night) as we continue to widen roads, make our schools safe for students, and respond to residents’ concerns about residential areas,” said Menino.
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.