Oh boy! Here we go again! The parking debate rears its ugly head once again. It’s clear that there is a parking crisis in the City of Boston. With the population increasing and parking spaces disappearing, residents are left with too many cars and not enough on-street parking spots. So what’s a city to do?
Well, on Wednesday, City Councilor at-Large Michelle Wu proposed some changes to our parking policies with the hope to alleviate our parking and traffic woes. One of those changes would be a new $25 annual fee for resident parking sticker, with increased fees for each subsequent car per household ($50 for the second, $75 for the third etc.)
At the City Council meeting many of the city councilors aired concerns and ideas about the fee ranging from suburbanites parking in front of MBTA stations to taxing ride share companies like Uber and Lyft to handicap placard abuse.
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One councilor in particular is getting called out by local news sources and on social media. City Councilor at-Large and South Boston resident Michael Flaherty is getting hammered for the fact his family has five cars and his belief that the city needs to take a look at the bus stop situation.
So what’s the bus stop situation? Well, in South Boston the bus stops are at every corner. A few years back it was announced that the MBTA planned to consolidate and update bus stops as an attempt to speed up the nightmarish commute for riders. It would also free up some much needed parking spots. Nothing has been done since this was announced in 2016.
Let’s start with fixing the “bus situation” by doing what the MBTA initially proposed. Consolidating and updating the bus stops. Then maybe we try a pilot program for dedicated bus lanes at certain “choke-points” such as L/Summer Street for the #7 and the West 4th Street bridge for the #9 during rush hours. It was a huge success in Roslindale so why not try it?
We also need to enforce violations in resident-only spaces. Presently, there are numerous overnight parkers without resident permits and even out of state plates. Without active enforcement, what’s going to stop parking scofflaws from doing it over and over again. Let’s start there.
Resident Parking Permit
So back to the $25 annual fee for resident parking. Will $25 make people who own cars and don’t use them not want to pay for a sticker and get rid of their cars? Is $25 a deal-breaker for people who own and rent million dollar condos? I predict that they will still get the sticker and not use their cars. And the goal should be for people who don’t use a car, not to have one at all in the city, right? We have a long way to go here in the City of Boston, but at the very least, Wu’s proposal has started the conversation.
What do you think?