The city of Boston is trying to help health care workers fighting on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis get to and from hospitals and other care facilities as easily as possible.
Mayor Marty Walsh and the Boston Transportation Department announced several updated policies on Tuesday, including ticket amnesty for health care workers who are providing critical care during the public health emergency caused by COVID-19.
“With our Boston Transportation Department, we are working to provide transportation assistance to Boston’s healthcare workers who are on the frontlines of this pandemic,” Mayor Walsh said in a press release. “We understand transportation is crucial for medical professionals, and these updated policies will assist them during this public health crisis.”
With this policy change, if a health care worker gets a parking ticket for a non-public safety reason, such as overstaying a meter, the ticket will be waived upon appeal.
The city will not, however, make exemptions for public safety violations, such as blocking a hydrant, sidewalk or handicap ramp, which it will focus on as it continues to enforce parking violations.
To appeal a ticket, workers can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy of their ticket and a copy of their hospital ID. This policy will be retroactive and will last for the duration of the Boston Public Health Commission’s declared public health emergency. The timeline for health care workers to appeal a ticket has also been extended to six months.
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Additionally, the city has launched a new map on its website to make it easier for hospital staff to find parking lots and garages near them that have free, reduced rate, or reserved spaces. These parking spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and workers must show their hospital ID to receive the discounted rate.
City officials are also exploring temporarily converting certain parking lots across the city into employee parking for medical staff at Boston hospitals.
The following updates to Boston parking enforcement policies are in effect until further notice:
RESIDENT PARKING - Residents with a valid resident permit sticker will be allowed to park in a metered or two-hour parking space, without having to adhere to the time limit or pay a meter fee, within their specific neighborhood. For cars without the relevant resident permit parking sticker, standard time limit and meter requirements remain in place.
STREET CLEANING - The Boston Transportation Department has not been ticketing and towing for street cleaning, given challenges to finding alternative places to park in neighborhoods.
INSPECTION STICKERS AND REGISTRATION - The Boston Transportation Department will not ticket for expired inspection stickers or registrations, given potential challenges for people to renew inspections and registrations at this time. The RMV has also provided extensions for expiring inspections.
PARKING GARAGES - The Boston Transportation Department has identified facilities offering free, reduced rate or reserved parking for medical professionals.
BLUEBIKES - The City of Boston and its municipal partners of Brookline, Cambridge, Everett, and Somerville are offering all hospital staff a free 30-day pass for our public bike share, Bluebikes.
PICK UP/DROP OFF ZONES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES - The Boston Transportation Department is creating temporary pick up zones in front of restaurants that have transitioned to takeout and delivery only. Takeout food pickup zones restrict parking to five minutes to increase convenience for the quick pickup and delivery of takeout food from restaurants, and provide adequate room for social distancing of six feet or more. Restaurants can request a temporary pickup zone on the city's website.