Is It Illegal To Drive Down A ‘Private Way’ In Massachusetts?
Call me a sheep, but, I tend obey things like street signs. I was taking my children on a lil Sunday afternoon drive a couple of weekends ago when I passed Blythewood Dr. in Pittsfield.
Near the residents' mailboxes on the corner of Blythewood Dr. and West St. is a black and white sign reading "PRIVATE WAY". Sounds exclusive!
SO, WHAT IS A PRIVATE WAY AND IS IT ILLEGAL TO DRIVE DOWN IT IF YOU DON'T LIVE THERE?
Now, it is no mystery that the residents of Blythewood Dr. in Pittsfield most likely have a little bit of money. A lot of those houses are literally on the shores of Onota Lake.
I must be honest, when I was driving down the private way, I felt like I was breaking the law, or at the very least, was not welcome there. Some walkers on the road at that time were waving (to say hello) at me, however.
Was it that my vehicle was brand new and they thought I lived there? These are the things that pop into my paranoid head. 😂
In actuality, a "private way", doesn't necessarily represent exclusivity to the residents who live there, and it is certainly not illegal to drive on it.
Police, in fact, can hardly enforce any driving regulations on private roads, because they are not owned by the state or by municipalities. (There are rare exceptions, such as drunken driving arrests.) -boston.com
Residents can enforce their own parking rules, though.
People think of 'private' in the sense of something being exclusive. But it's really private in that it has not been accepted as a public way, with public standards. It does not mean exclusivity. Being a way, it's open for the public to pass. -boston.com
So the next time I travel down a private way, I won't feel so guilty!