Do any of the city departments talk to each other? Also, I hate National Grid

[Warning: long and pissy entry ahead]

On August 27, a bunch of signs appeared up and down my street and the nearest four streets, with "NO PARKING 7AM - 5PM 8/27 - 10/27" on them. We weren't given any notice like they're supposed to give us. I called the mayor's hotline and complained about that since it's our entire damn neighborhood. The person "looked into it" and said, yes, the code specifies 48 hours notice, and told me the construction was being done by National Grid, so to call them. Thanks. I'm pretty sure National Grid doesn't enforce codes against itself.

So then on August 28, I was taking a shower and suddenly there wasn't any water. The Spousal Unit went outside to ask the construction people poking in a manhole up the street about it, and they said they'd turned it off and it would be back on in an hour. By which time I'd need to be at work, preferably without shampoo all over my head.

I called the city once it was back on. First, they connected me to Water and Sewer. Explained to them what happened. They connected me to Water and Sewer Collections, who explained to me that my water wouldn't get turned off if I'd pay my water bill. *headdesk* So I finally talked to the construction-related Water and Sewer person, who told me there was no record of permission for National Grid to turn water off on that day. Said to call National Grid and complain. Right.

A couple days later they turned off the water again. Same thing when I called the city.

Then a few days later I couldn't get my car out of my driveway, because they'd decided to dig up the road in front of my driveway. Construction people moved some things and kindly guided me in driving over the sidewalk at an angle so I could leave. Detail cop was rude to me and asked if I could read the signs that said "NO PARKING." I said that I certainly can read them, and I was parked on my own property. He told me that "NO PARKING" obviously means that the road won't be usable. Clearly. Despite the same signs on other days meaning that someone would be poking in a manhole and shutting off my water.

Oh, here's where I mention the minor annoyances of every day going out to my car that's parked on one of the streets that isn't labeled with a sign, and finding myself blocked in by cones and barrels, along with a detail cop inside the caution-taped-off active construction area texting or talking on the phone or, one time, READING A BOOK. Each time I try to wave the cop down to ask if I can move the cones. Cop doesn't notice or care. I drive right up to the cones. Cop often watches this, doesn't attempt to come over and move the damn cones. So I move them my damn self. While the cop stands there being paid to manage traffic.

On September 14, I parked my car that evening on a street that was having street sweeping the next day. This particular street was largely ripped up, but didn't have any construction signs and wasn't coned off. It was about the only parking space in the neighborhood, since you'll remember that most of the neighborhood has NO PARKING FOR TWO MONTHS signs on both sides of the street, and I've been told by a police officer that the signs mean I can't park in my own driveway. I come out the morning of the 15th and there's a ticket on my car, written a couple minutes after streetsweeping starts. The streetsweeper of course didn't work its way through the maze of cones to sweep the one (ripped-up and full of parked bulldozers and shit) street that isn't completely closed off. But the ticketing people came.

So I called the parking clerk. The person was very nice and understanding, but said that they can't dismiss a ticket that was legally given. She said to call the neighborhood services office and speak to my neighborhood liaison, who can see why the different departments didn't communicate with each other and could take care of the ticket from that end.

Sept 16: I call the neighborhood services office. Am told I need to speak with someone named Keith. He isn't there. I leave a message.

Sept 17: I call and ask for Keith. He isn't there. I leave a message.

Sept 18: I call and ask for Keith. He isn't there. I leave a message.

Et cetera. At one point he calls, gets my voicemail since I'm with a client, leaves a message with just his phone number. I call back and he isn't there.

I call back every day and he's never there. Person always says he'll call back. On October 6, I say that I call every day and he never calls back. The person says he will call back, and if he doesn't, someone else will. No one calls.

Today I called the mayor's office and told them I'm having trouble reaching Keith in neighborhood services. She says I have to make a formal complaint. That seems a little harsh, but it's apparently their term for putting something in writing. OK, fine, that works. So I give her the info, and she says he'll call back today, or if not, his boss will.

No one called.

At this point I don't so much care about the parking ticket, but the city is really just treating us like shit and someone needs to know about it. We can't get them to put bulbs in our streetlights or fixed the destroyed sidewalks in this neighborhood, but they can send someone up here to write tickets for street sweeping that obviously wasn't going to happen. I'm paying property taxes and can't park in my own driveway or on the street outside my house for two months. There wasn't so much as a note in my mailbox or a phone call saying they'd be doing this. National Grid couldn't even bother to post the signs with the required 48-hour notice. The city has these regulations for how these things are supposed to work, but they won't enforce them, telling me to call National Grid and magically make them start being ethical.

I feel like calling the city assessor and seeing if they'll come out tomorrow and reassess my house now that it has no driveway, jackhammer noise outside all day, and no running water some of the time. Obviously I'm someone with a lot of privilege to be in a position to complain about fairly trivial things, but the city also is in a place of a lot more privilege than I am, and they're abusing it.


Anonymous said...

Call Michael Flaherty AND your district councilor. See what gets done then. Make noise.

Anonymous said...

So not a good way, we need the better way...FLAHERTY!

Rob said...

Move to Somerville.

Daniel said...

Next time, if you want to avoid all the hassle, you should just shoot Mike Kineavy an email. He's like the Mayor's number one guy.

Anonymous said...

But, but, but, the mayor was on the news the other day saying he's never heard anyone complain about anything.

Urban mechanic at work.

Emily said...

Anonymous said...

Get used to it...this is Boston. Sadly. Agree with the guy who said move, but I recommend another state...this is just typical in Assahusetts.

POPS said...

i feel your pain. they've knocked on my door a couple of mornings because i got tired of seeing an empty street all day and moving my car for apparently no reason.

eeka said...

Pops, that was one of the things I mentioned when I talked to the neighborhood services guy, and which he agreed was a problem. They've blocked off a good chunk of our neighborhood for two months, but most days they're poking around in one particular hole. The guy agreed that they need to have a plan for when they're going to need which parts of the street and not just block off the whole hood.

Anonymous said...

National Grid doesn't have anything to do with the Water, they are and electric and gas company. I'd continue to harass the city!