I’ve heard and read several anecdotes about parking issues that came from the NETA pharmacy in Brookline. I am writing to add one more.
A friend of my daughter’s, C, parked in front of my house on Walnut Street the day after Christmas, around 3 p.m. C was sitting in her car, on her cell phone, waiting for my daughter to come over. My daughter was running late as it can happen.
While C was waiting, a neighbor (?) Indicated that C should roll down her window. The neighbor asked C why she was parked there. C said she was waiting for a friend. The neighbor told C that she had to move because loitering was not allowed in this area. C indicated that a friend would be coming from a local house in a minute and they would be leaving shortly. The neighbor then dropped the request to leave C and explained that she / he had assumed that C and her friend were NETA customers and that she / he was against “problems” that the pharmacy had created, fight back.
For example, a neighbor observed a young person alone in a parked car near the pharmacy and apparently decided on the basis of this information alone that C was a NETA customer. The neighbor then decided that she had the right to interrupt appropriate and law-abiding behavior, to require a stranger to justify her presence in the neighborhood, and to issue an order to move on if the response was unsatisfactory.
In other words, that was profiling. It was inaccurate as profiling usually is. It also had no legal justification. There are no laws that say it is illegal to sit in a properly parked car for ten minutes for any purpose. The exchange would have been just as unfounded if C had been waiting for a returning NETA customer instead of my daughter leaving our house.
This incident (which is hopefully isolated but not suspicious) indicates to me that the local signs saying “Residential Parking Only” should be removed. This remarkably misleading news appeared to justify false legal statements made to a neighborhood visitor. Let us remove this provocative ambiguity and, by consensus, create new, statutory parking regulations. Also, let’s separate parking congestion concerns from reports of worrying behavior from potential and identified NETA customers. In conclusion, let’s make it clear for both problems: Unfounded suspicion and unprovoked confrontation with outsiders, no matter how polite, are not a solution to both problems.
Kevin Brailey, Walnut Street
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