Harvard University attracts many tour buses. Some students complained that they were idling near their dorm windows along Mass Avenue near Harvard Square. City officials noted this and wondered about enforcing the state law against idling vehicles for more than 5 minutes. Some of the bus drivers looked for other less prominent places to wait for their passengers. Some of them found the block on Broadway between Quincy Street and Prescott Street across from my windows. It is a No Stopping Zone. Seldom are laws affecting Harvard enforced in Cambridge. Who would dare to give a summons to a University with $35 billion?
I noticed the bus idling at about 4:15 PM on Friday December 7, 2007. I went to the Senior Center to pick up the agenda for the City Council meeting on Monday December 10, 2007. When I returned at 5:45 PM the bus was still there still idling in a No Stopping Zone. I called to the police dispatcher explaining that it was 90 minutes since I noticed the bus idling. He said he would send someone. That does not mean that he would. They always say that. I suspect that there are some dispatchers who answer telephones and others who dispatch the patrol cars. Each of them has discretion what to do with the calls. At about 6:00 PM 105 minutes after I noticed the bus idling it was gone. This bus had a telephone number on it with an area code for Ohio. I'll bet he did not know about the idling law.