Parking Meter Prices in Back Bay & Seaport Are Changing Again

As part of a yearlong pilot program, parking meter prices in Back Bay and the Seaport are set to change again based on demand in an effort to curb the amount of time drivers spend circling the block to find an empty space.

On January 3, the Boston Transportation Department (BTD), the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM),) and the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT), announced a one-year program focused on fixing the parking problem in two of the city's most in-demand neighborhoods.

The goal of the Performance Parking Pilot was to adjust meter prices based on demand every two months, seeking the perfect balance of about one open spot per block at all times.

To refresh your memory, the initiative broke down like this:
In parking spots in the Back Bay, meter prices will be raised to $3.75 per hour, bringing prices in line with street parking in other major cities. ... In the Seaport, the demand for on street parking changes throughout the day. For this reason, the parking pilot in the Seaport will employ parking meter sensors to adjust parking prices based on parking occupancy, and parking spot location. Prices will be re-set every two months, and will remain consistent in two-month increments. Prices will stabilize when occupancy reaches the target of 85 percent, about one space open per block.
The City of Boston announced Friday that phase two will begin Monday, June 5. The price of parking at a majority of meters along the Seaport waterfront will stay at or drop to $1.00 an hour, affecting some 530 metered parking spaces on 40 blocks in the designated area.

"This rate change is based on sensor data that allows the City to monitor average occupancy per meter space and block," according to a City release. "The minimum price is $1 per hour, and the maximum price is $2.50 per hour during this phase of the pilot program." The maximum price during phase one was $4 per hour.

Prices shift slightly depending on the time of day: "Twenty percent of meter hours in the pilot area will increase from $2 to $2.50 per hour and the rate at thirty percent of meter hours will be either $1.50 or $2 per hour."

Back Bay didn't fare so well. As part of this second phase, in effect through 2017, all metered spaces in the neighborhood will run at a fixed price of $3.75 per hour.

Before this pilot program, parking meter prices in Boston hadn't been adjusted since 2011, when they were increased to $1.25 per hour.

“Conveniently located, short-term parking is offered at 8,000 metered spaces in Boston,” said Boston Transportation Department Commissioner Gina N. Fiandaca. “Data gained from this initiative is helping us to understand how our inventory of metered parking spaces can best be managed. This innovative pilot program is working to assist BTD in our efforts to provide drivers the opportunity to easily find on-street spaces for their short-term parking needs in Boston.”

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