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Boston: Ten Things I Hate About You

There's a lot to love about Boston. There are always things that seem to bug us, though. Here are ten of my favorite hates.

There are plenty of things to complain about in Boston, but I often feel as though it’s all I do. So, to get these things off my chest and stop sounding as if I’m a broken record, here are 10 things that bug me, that I won’t complain about again. For a while.

  1. Trash / recycling pick-up: Ross Levanto on Beacon Hill points out there is trash and recycling left street-side in some neighborhoods for as many as one hour out of every four during the week. (From 7 p.m. until midday, the next day.) This is the trash problem. As does he, I think we should consider reducing the number of curbside pick-ups. It seems counterintuitive, but it just might work.
  2. Leveling of streets and sidewalks: If you’re pushing a baby carriage, use a cane to walk or are in a wheelchair, navigating Boston’s “historic” streets is an immense challenge. The brick sidewalks provide a bumpy ride, but the real issue is that the sidewalks aren’t level and going from curb to street often entails walking into a gaping divot of a hole. DPW, please help!
  3. Fun: Yes, we’re puritan and Brahmin by nature; this doesn’t mean we can’t have fun. What about having more events, such as a wintertime street ice-skating contest or an inter-collegiate intramural series on the Boston Common? Someone’s even suggested a Formula 1 race on the streets of Boston (?!). Events similar to the Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival, which (beyond having an unfortunate name - ‘Beantown’) draws thousands of residents and visitors.
  4. Reliable public transportation: Having 24-hour public transportation seems to be a pipe dream. We can improve the MBTA, however, by expanding the use of applications to gather and disseminate route information and schedules. The T should add QR bar codes to all bus and subway stops so that “waiting for a bus” will be a thing of the past.
  5. Police foot patrols: Put beat cops in the Back Bay, on Charles and Tremont streets and at the Pine Street Inn. Crime is down in the city, but incidences increase during the summer months. Could we use police cadets to give residents, businessowners, and tourists some additional peace of mind? Summertime is crime time, let’s hit the ground running.
  6. Summerthing: Growing up in the suburbs, I’d always hear about Summerthing, a city-run program for the youth of Boston. There were events on Boston Common and in each of Boston’s neighborhoods.  By expanding events in the summer, we can help reduce the risk of future generations turning to lives of drugs and crime, and eliminate social unrest. Plus, it's lots of fun.
  7. Sports bandwagons: Finally, a bad season for the Red Sox. No, I don’t hate the Red Sox; I love them. But, 'round about 2004 (specifically, October 27, 2004), things took a turn for the worse, after everyone got on the Sox bandwagon and people started being smug. Can we go back to when we used to love going to Fenway on a Saturday afternoon so we could spend three hours in the sun and enjoy the game, not the results?
  8. Boston Common abuse: My pet peeve. I hate the idea of marring the beauty of the Boston Common with restaurants and a carousel. The appeal of it should be enough of an attraction. For-profit endeavors do nothing but segregate sections of it for the benefit of the few. The city should find the revenue in its budget to keep it clean and safe.
  9. Dogs off leashes: Contrary to common belief, there are no ‘off-leash’ sections of the Boston Common or the Public Garden. Or anywhere else in Boston, for that matter. Do I love dogs? Yes. Do I love arrogant dog owners? Not so much.
  10. Flip-flops: As Bostonist put it so eloquently several years ago, when you walk around in flip-flops, you’re basically walking around in dog poop. Many dog owners don’t pick up all the dog poop (which qualifies as a corollary to peeve #9, above). So, if you’re wearing flip-flops, you’re walking in it. The streets and sidewalks of Boston are filthy with germs. Do yourself a favor. Wear shoes or sneakers. But, if you must wear them, at least follow these rules.
Angela May 16, 2011 at 03:52 PM
People who put out trash the night before are not breaking the law. http://www.cityofboston.gov/publicworks/RecyclingandSanitation/regulations.asp clearly states that trash may be put out the night before after 5 pm. In addition 105CMR410.600 also states that the sanitation guidelines are subject to change if approved by the health board. If you were going strictly by 410.600 then everyone in Boston would be required to put their trash out in containers with lids... and that is clearly not the case. Unless the city is breaking the law, then I think it is safe to assume that the Board approves of the city's trash pickup plan which clearly allows for trash to be put out after 5pm the night before.
chris May 17, 2011 at 07:09 PM
Angela, just because the city posts something on its website does not mean it's the law, and it's certainly not reasonable or safe to assume that the state approves of the city's trash pickup plan. Municipalities frequently ignore the law until some group of citizens gets fed up enough to take the trouble to go to court and get a judge to order the town or city to begin following the law. I am lucky enough to live on a block where most of the people put their trash out after midnight, but if we had to walk home threading our way through other peoples trash three nights per week, my neighbors and I would be all over that. I'm not sure where you're getting the bit about containers with lids, 410.600(B) clearly allows trash to be put out for collection in plastic bags. It's sort of an odd commentary on human nature that the law needs to tell us how to put out our trash.
Anthony May 20, 2011 at 11:58 PM
My biggest problem is with the husband/wife duo who seem to have taken a liking to tearing open everyone's trash bags then leaving them in disarray. It's bad enough to hear the woman clanking up the street with her cart, but I become enraged when I see the mess that's being caused due to this sad form of "recycling". Ps... Cart Lady, If you are reading this, STOP MAKING A MESS OF OUR STREET! I can deal with knowingly having my trash rifled through 3x a week, but at least re-bag my damn trash.
chris May 21, 2011 at 03:58 AM
Anthony, if you put your trash out in the morning, it minimizes the opportunity for two-legged and four-legged scavengers to get into it ;-)
Barry Fitzgerald May 23, 2011 at 01:59 PM
To this list, I would add: The Weather (This should be number 1. We're not talking about things we can change, just things we hate, right?). It seems summer will never get here, we're in a perpetual state of mid-winter Seattle greyness. The weather issue alone is forcing me to consider moving to another city very soon. Neighbors Blasting Lousy Music - If you're going to make me call the cops with a noise complaint, please don't make me do it because you're blaring forgotten 90s wuss rock like Dishwala or The Goo Goo Dolls. Needlessly Obstructive Double-Parking - Sure, we all have to double-park from time to time. Just don't put your car squarely in the middle of the street with a few feet on either side, infuriating the rest of us. Stick closer to one side and leave ample room for cars to pass, you will avoid a lot of horn blaring. The Growing Army of Tweekers And Sketchy Characters - I live in the South End and hardly a day goes by anymore where there isn't a shady dude vomiting on the side of my apartment building (not exaggerating here) or yelling at pigeons in what sounds like Aramaic.

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