NoSavesies: Here’s Why Saving Your Parking Spot Is a Bunch of BS

There’s snow in the forecast. And I have no interest in how long it took you to dig out your car.

nosavies-parking-in-snowWalking down my block this morning, I saw something beautiful. About half a dozen vacant parking spots, framed by piles of half-melted, salt-stained, tire-mushed brown-yellow-gray snow — not a crappy patio chair, dinged-up trashcan or stolen construction cone in sight.

La vita è bella!

While it’s impossible to say whether or not this phenomenon had any connection with the #NoSavesies campaign the Philadelphia Police Department rolled out on Twitter earlier this month, I’ve got to say that the sight warmed my usually spite-filled urbanite heart. City residents have been bitching and bickering about parking since the advent of the automobile — picture two Model T drivers engaging in a Queensbury Rules row over the last spot in front of the millinery shop — and inclement weather manages to bring out the worst in us.


This is why it’s so refreshing that an authority like the PPD, however lighthearted its approach may be, has come out with a crystal-clear opinion on the matter — "saving" post-snowstorm parking spots is selfish bullshit, and you know it. Moreover, it’s in direct violation of the collaborative spirit that anyone who lives in a crowded city should embrace, or at least understand.

The arguments for the pro-savesies lifestyle usually fall into one of two categories (written in all caps because these people are usually yelling):

1) “I SPENT [HIGHLY EXAGGERATED AMOUNT OF TIME] DIGGING THIS SPOT OUT, THEREFORE I, AND ONLY I, HAVE THE RIGHT TO PARK IN IT!”

Come on. It does not take that long to dig a car out of a street spot in the city of Philadelphia. I’ve been doing it for years, with varying levels of snow and varying-sized vehicles. We don’t live in Fargo or The Day After Tomorrow. Strap on those boots, pull on those gloves, snag your shovel and be a non-gender-specific man. If you dig out a spot and it's subsequently taken, get going on another spot. You're not going to die.

Plenty of anti-savesie advocates like to bring up the whole "the street is city property!" issue when bemoaning the pro-savesie camp, but I feel like that argument takes the discussion to an unnecessary level. Chances are that a neighbor who's pulled into your cleared spot scraped his or her vehicle out of another spot nearby — in other words, you guys exerted an identical amount of physical strain. What’s with the sense of entitlement? What makes your shoveling superior to Annie from Alter Street's shoveling? Speaking of effort, though...

2) "MY NEIGHBORS ARE LAZY ASSHOLES WHO WILL STEAL MY SHOVELED SPOT, SO THIS IS THE ONLY WAY I WILL BE ABLE TO PARK WITHIN 50 MILES OF MY HOUSE!"

I'm not suggesting that lazy asshole neighbors don't exist in Philly, or in every city populated by humans on planet earth. They do. But in my experience at least, this pro-savesie argument is often invoked because people are too scared or lazy to interact with their neighbors in the first place. Instead of assuming all your neighbors suck, why not check in on some of them after a big storm? Work together to shovel out cars. Work together to shovel the walks of the elderly, or the walks of vacant properties. Pulling a savesie move is a blatant affront to this type of basic interaction. And it's antithetical to what living in a city is all about.

We don't live in the suburbs, with expensive plow services that snow-blow our private driveways while we sit inside in Land's End turtlenecks and watch Downton Abbey. We live in the city, which means we live on top of each other. That causes plenty of problems, but it's up to us to work around them — even starting with something small, like channeling the energy reserved for savesies into action that benefits someone other than ourselves.

Take it from Olney resident Amir Goodwin, quoted by Queen Muse of NBC Philadelphia yesterday:

Amir Goodwin, who has been living on the 1400 block of West Chew Avenue in the Olney section of the city for nearly 25 years spent most of his afternoon clearing his street’s sidewalks of snow. He says it’s only fair that neighbors help one another shovel and share parking spaces when there’s been a major snow storm.

“I do it as a courtesy. I know their families, their grandchildren and all, you know. I think that we should share, everybody should share, just like you share with helping people dig out,” Goodwin said.

Thank you, Mr. Goodwin! You get it. #NoSavesies isn’t about the police screwing with your daily life. It’s about being a better Philadelphian.

 

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  • http://chrissmari.org ChrissMari

    Number 2 is a real concern. People sit looking out windows waiting for someone to pull out and will move to be two car lengths closer to their house. I’m not saying that saving spots are the answer, but we do need to address not being a dickhead and jumping into a spot you don’t “need” either.

    • Rock Colors

      That would be addressing the deepest parts of the human soul.

    • KobraKai7474

      The problem is that some people are just dickheads. It may take another millenium or two before evolution completely eliminates dickiness from humanity (if the planet can remain habitable for that long) so you better learn to deal with it now. Otherwise, you are in for a long and exceedingly miserable life.

  • Responsible House Owner

    My neighbors suck. They barely dig out a spot. Pretty much just drive thru it. Then take a spot of someone who spent an hour digging out. I don’t agree with this article at all. It’s not my job to help my lazy neighbors. The elderly yes. But not the houses that have fully capable adults to shovel the snow and are pretty much just assholes.

    • Not A JerkFace from Philly.

      THANK YOU! Amen. This dude really needs to re-evaluate his life in the city. People in my neighborhood are complete jerkfaces. God for bid we park 5 houses away from your home.

    • KobraKai7474

      Guess what? The entire planet is full of assholes. They are everywhere: at work, at school, in your neighborhood, at the Wawa where you get your coffee. If you haven’t learned when and how to properly deal with assholes yet… aside from being an even bigger asshole yourself, your life is going to be excruciatingly long and miserable.

  • Blackdress

    Can we please take into consideration the older folks who need to get to a doctors appointment or go get groceries, people who cannot walk two blocks away to park, people who have npot taken up a designated hadicapped spot on their street, people who have had heart surgery and bad knees, some of them have no one to drive them and are not abloe to take public transportation. Lets be a little compassionate…you don’t know everyone’s story…I say they get a pass!

    • KobraKai7474

      Fine. I would guess that older folks with legitimate issues make up a few percent of all people who save spots. What about the 98% who are perfectly healthy but just complete douches.

  • John A Petty II

    …say what you will…characterize it as you wish…I do INDEED spend MUCH time and effort shoveling out my (Wife’s) car AND access to and around it -as part of clearing my walk- right in front of my home…and yeah, I WILL save the space (for my Wife’s car, as for me and my truck, I make due whereever)…and who ever decides to take the space will find their car re-buried (yeah I WILL make the point!) covered with snow and trash and/or unable to move at all…my TRIFLING neighbors (home all day but nonetheless whose fronts I regulary sweep clean of trash, and I have shoveled thier walks numerous times in the past) who barely clear a couple of feet-wide path and do as little as possible to get their car out -if they have one…(you know the type, with a foot of snow still on top of their cars as they drive) dare not try me…
    ..so please, save the self-righteousness for someone who does not REGULARLY pay a high price…
    …signed, Can’t-Wait-To-Move-To-A-Home-With-A-Driveway-And-Real-Neighbors…

    • blurb

      …signed, some-guy-who-has-two-cars-and-pretends-he-lives-in-the-suburbs-instead-of-south-philly

    • Becky

      I couldn’t have said that better!!!! Thank you.

    • KobraKai7474

      Signed by the passive aggressive guy who thinks he is better than his neighbors buts dares not confront them directly.

  • emilio

    I agree with most of it except that my neighbor has 4 cars and I only have one

  • 14thandBroad

    If it’s so easy to shovel out a spot, why do you care if someone saves it? Just drive on by and shovel out a new spot.

  • San63

    I would definitely agree with the elderly and maybe for the first day or two after a really big storm. My neighbors block a spot until April!! A couple of years ago, we couldn’t beat them, so we joined them. Only did this after digging out not one but 2 spots to have neighbors put cans in the spots. Another day I went to go grocery shopping in the middle of the day and every available spot had a can or chair in it. Other neighbors use cars to block 2 spots and pull up or back for a spouse/kid. I don’t know what the answer is.

  • dmd215

    Someone brought up a good point that to move a car you had to dig it out apparently to begin with….so if someone digs their car out..you did your digging but perhaps is was not directly in front of our house….and your original spot was taken..point is.. u really can’t think you “own” a spot not with row homes and shortage of spots even on a good day.. i can see some people are just plain lazy and take advantage but if you live in south philly that’s the price you pay..if not you should have moved to jersey or have a drive way. People have been shot in the past over parking and reserving spaces..is it worth it??

  • Valentine

    I don’t like the fact that people from other blocks will park in a spot on my block before it snows and then leave their cars until the snow clears. That is not fair…If I can dig out of a spot on my block trust me to have your car removed since you live 2 blocks away. PARK ON YOUR OWN STREET!!!

  • bg

    i pretty much agree with article, except for the fact that I have one neighbor who has FOUR cars. He’ll dig out one of his cars and move it to a space someone else cleared out so he can get his other cars closer to the plowed intersection. He’s a SPACE HOG on dry summer days, just think how much everyone wants to slash his tires when it snows! Can’t stand this douche!

  • Joseph Quinn

    How do we address the situation when there is no snow? Many a night I have come home after work to find trash cans and or recycling containers saving spots….it is rampant on the 2300 block of South 6th St— I have even witnessed several people pull out of a spot only to place things in its place to save the spot. Sure I could remove them and park there — but I have to admit I fear retaliation.
    What’s an honest tax paying citizen to do?

  • Glhphilly

    I don’t mind my neighbors taking my wonderfully shoveled spot, but I certainly didn’t shovel it out for some NJ jerk to take it. We have too many 2 hour spots in residential areas.

  • fred

    Philly parking spot savers need to move to a house in the burbs if they want their own parking spot. I will chuck every chair I see blocking a spot. I will also beat down anyone who tries to stop me from parking in a spot on a public city street.

  • Felicia D’Ambrosio

    These impassioned comments are hilarious. Get out of the city if you can’t deal with on-street parking and inclement weather. You can park your car anywhere it fits legally, for as long as you want. It’s not “your” street. Yes, I live in South Philadelphia and have shoveled out many to spot to come home and find it taken. Use your legs and walk to SEPTA if it distresses you so.

  • They_Call_Me_Bruce

    After reading comments like these every time it snows I have come to the conclusion that there is no right or wrong, just a bunch of aholes on both sides that are completely unlikable.

  • sparks

    My neighbor has two cars.One is parked in front of his door ,one in front of mine. When he moves either car he puts a chair there & says I can’t move it because he dug his car from the spot. So I can’t park in front of my house because of this……very selfish. It’s not my fault that his car was parked in front of my door during the snow storm. I dug my car from a space down the street but I did not save it. It wasn’t in front of my door. How wrong is that ? Can he be reported ?

  • Becky

    Well, I’m 60 years old and sore from shoveling my spot to park in front of my house. Had to do it 4 days in a row with below 0 temperatures. There is a new neighbor across the street that continually parks in front of my house. I certainly didn’t think she would take the space that I shoveled. She doesn’t seem to know how to use a shovel nor about parking etiquette. She’s at least 30 years younger. I can’t even bring my elderly mom over. I understand that ppl can park wherever they want. I don’t own the street but c’mon. What’s happened to common courtesy? I usually park in my garage but it’s behind my house on an alley. I can’t get through it with the amount of heavy snow. I deal with her at my front walkway in good weather but this is ridiculous. She and her bf have been asked nicely 4 times so I just don’t get it. Makes me sad that there are such non-caring ppl.

  • Jason

    how about the people with disabilities

  • Sophia

    I’m in favor of John Locke’s philosophy…if you put your own labor into removing/creating something that nature has naturally placed, it then rightfully belongs to you.

    “. . . everyman has a property in his own Person. This no body has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joyned to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property. It being by him removed from the common state nature placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it, that excludes the common right of other men.”

    http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_content&task=view&id=166&Itemid=259#lf-essay006lev2sec01

    http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/locke/section4.rhtml