Boston Parking Lots

tysmith95

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Almost every target in existence, with the exception of downtown, Fenway, BU and central square.

Suburban targets have the world's largest parking lots and they're never full.
 

Charlie_mta

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Not to pour cold water on any ideas for getting rid of the asphalt scar on the city that is the South Bay parking sink, but who actually owns it? If it's a private property, that's a whole different scenario to if we're talking about public land, in terms of what can be taken from it or done to it.
There's obviously eminent domain the city could easily get away with in this case to create official bus lanes and a public right-of-way.
 

Brattle Loop

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There's obviously eminent domain the city could easily get away with in this case to create official bus lanes and a public right-of-way.
Oh, I don't dispute that there's a "public use" case for eminent domaining part of the parking lot for roads/bus lanes. I quibble with "easily", because while that'd definitely be low-hanging fruit in eminent domain terms, it's still a hassle (and not free) and has a chance of getting ugly if the property owner is unwilling. That said, I was curious about the ownership situation mostly because earlier posts also mentioned redevelopment beyond bus lanes/roadways, which would not be anywhere near as easy to swing from an eminent domain perspective. You're right about the relative ease of just the bus lane/road part of the suggestion.
 

Charlie_mta

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Oh, I don't dispute that there's a "public use" case for eminent domaining part of the parking lot for roads/bus lanes. I quibble with "easily", because while that'd definitely be low-hanging fruit in eminent domain terms, it's still a hassle (and not free) and has a chance of getting ugly if the property owner is unwilling. That said, I was curious about the ownership situation mostly because earlier posts also mentioned redevelopment beyond bus lanes/roadways, which would not be anywhere near as easy to swing from an eminent domain perspective. You're right about the relative ease of just the bus lane/road part of the suggestion.
You're right, it would cost a good amount to acquire the right-of-way. Parking lot spaces are at a premium and not cheap. But I look at the vast urban renewal acquisitions of entire neighborhoods in the 1950s and 60s, the construction of the interstate highway system through the middle of cities across America, and so a small ROW across a parking lot is is doable even in this age of NIMBYs and analysis paralysis that sidelines many infrastructure projects. Bus lanes, both on existing streets and on new ROWs, are feasible from a funding and political perspective, and I'd like to see them developed to the max.
 

Stlin

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Not to pour cold water on any ideas for getting rid of the asphalt scar on the city that is the South Bay parking sink, but who actually owns it? If it's a private property, that's a whole different scenario to if we're talking about public land, in terms of what can be taken from it or done to it.
According to The city assessor tax parcel database, the ownership situation is fractured. The strip mall side, old navy, the stop and shop and the entirety of Allstate Rd are owned by entities affiliated with "E&A Northeast," which is it's self owned by Edens, which appears to be a large national retail developer/REIT whose CEO is a director of the Richmond Fed. The Home Depot and Target sites and most of their their associated parking is owned by their respective corporate entities.

Edit: Speaking of this area, what exactly are the functions housed at that Eversource Facility across the way, and how much of it actually needs to be here? It's not exactly all parking lot, but a lot of it is parking and open air materials storage. (a parking lot by any other name.) As far as I can tell, it's not fundamentally part of the natural Gas system or electricity grid. The existing buildings don't align well with the street layout either. That site can be pretty heavily densified, even if it remains heavy industrial.
 
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BeyondRevenue

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Other parking lots in Boston... Downtown version.
There are a few names that come up, but one in particular, Stanhope, seems to be quietly sitting on a goldmine! I am always wondering how this company hasn't been liberated or obliterated by a comparatively benevolent REIT.
 

DAVE

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Been working on this map when I'm bored. Its just for the City of Boston and doesn't include vacant lots or parking/storage for commercial cars (e.g. I don't include MBTA bus storage sites). Still have much left to work on (mostly WRox, Mattapan, Brighton/Allston, Eastie).

 

DAVE

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That map ^ is one good indicator of "what's left to build on".
Yeah and it doesn't include vacant lots (not used for parking), which there are also a lot of. This also doesn't include smaller driveways and small garages, which again there are a lot of. This shows that we have plenty of parking and that there is room to grow and build infill to allow for a growing population.
 

AndrewOnTheMBTA

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Yeah and it doesn't include vacant lots (not used for parking), which there are also a lot of. This also doesn't include smaller driveways and small garages, which again there are a lot of. This shows that we have plenty of parking and that there is room to grow and build infill to allow for a growing population.
How much longer will this spot stay? This is such a prime parking lot that could be changed into a garage with something above it. Would it face North End opposition?
 

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stefal

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How much longer will this spot stay? This is such a prime parking lot that could be changed into a garage with something above it. Would it face North End opposition?
No question it would face opposition. A developer is going to be taking a big risk proposing anything taller than 50 feet on a majority of that parcel, which will make it very difficult to make an attractive return for lenders.
 

DBM

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Been working on this map when I'm bored. Its just for the City of Boston and doesn't include vacant lots or parking/storage for commercial cars (e.g. I don't include MBTA bus storage sites). Still have much left to work on (mostly WRox, Mattapan, Brighton/Allston, Eastie).

I'm noticing it doesn't include the PO Square Garage, odd omission or not counted per your criteria? Also, many many Downtown office towers have very large parking garages embedded in them--101 Arch, 33 Arch, 1 Lincoln, 1 Fed, 99 Summer--those are merely the ones that come to mind... are they excluded to per your criteria? Also Pi Alley Garage, the Ritz-Carlton Garage, Boston Common Garage, Hyatt/LCC Garage--so you're missing 10,000+ spots in DTX alone, most likely. Take your time, this is a worthy/commendable project.
 

DAVE

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I'm noticing it doesn't include the PO Square Garage, odd omission or not counted per your criteria? Also, many many Downtown office towers have very large parking garages embedded in them--101 Arch, 33 Arch, 1 Lincoln, 1 Fed, 99 Summer--those are merely the ones that come to mind... are they excluded to per your criteria? Also Pi Alley Garage, the Ritz-Carlton Garage, Boston Common Garage, Hyatt/LCC Garage--so you're missing 10,000+ spots in DTX alone, most likely. Take your time, this is a worthy/commendable project.
Thanks for the feedback!:D

Notes on criteria: I am aiming for parking lots and garages where the majority use is parking. Garages embedded underground would not fit the criteria so those are not in the map. The idea isn't necessarily to show where all the parking is in Boston, but where parking has created holes in the fabric of the city. Pi Alley and some other examples are a slight grey area, but I did miss Pi Alley and have included it now! If you see anything else that you think should be in here plz let me know.
 

BeyondRevenue

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How much longer will this spot stay? This is such a prime parking lot that could be changed into a garage with something above it. Would it face North End opposition?
Politically, this will be a four-star tough sell. Historically, spot holders were City Hall and BPDA cronies as well as favored local power brokers. Excepting the lucked few who've nabbed a spot after a funeral (death is really the only way people give up a spot), possession of one of the spots is a tarmacadam talisman to quiet, old-guard corruption. I will rejoice the day the bulldozers start ripping it up. So, yeah, the city needs to do a little wart removal here.

If I was a forward thinking city planner who was given this job, I would do something that has not been done recently: legally pre-enabling variances for the entire project area, fast-track zoning changes, focusing on small owner density. This all means we would...
  • Lay down two streets. (Suggesting Ferry St where Honey Fitz was born for the NE-SE one)
  • Create around 40 ~20x50 single parcels
  • Decree no setbacks at street face.
  • Set no gap between neighbors' firewalls
  • Spec FAR matching or exceeding the rest of the actual North End.
  • Spec stepped-up heights from 55' on the NE side to 80' on the SW.
  • Offer building assistance for all buyers
  • Restrict to one parcel per buyer
  • Create a local contractor consortium (minority, female, veteran owned favored, of course)
  • Set aside 25 percent for publicly assisted housing on site.
  • Reserve a strip of open space up the middle
I would expect a variety of facades, non-brick even, like glass, stone, cladding, prefab panels. I could see it looking similar to the block next to it, like this...
NELot1After.jpg
NELotBefore.jpg


Before all that happens, dumb as it is for an obvious TOD parcel, we may need to dig a big pit for a muni-garage which must include a buttload of seawater pumps for the inevitable flooding to come. If that's the case, it's going to take bigger money to get it going. Even though it's feet from the Blue and Orange Lines and many busses, somebody is going to blurt out something stupid about parking. And it's going to get traction.
So then you kill the cross street and put in ramps, like this...
NELotWithStupidParkingRamps.jpg


Is this building model inefficient? Yes.
Is this what people want? Yes. Locals hate mono-cropped developments from Big REIT Companies for various reasons. I'd suppose its because they wouldn't have a shot at buying a piece of land if it was a pre-negotiated one developer build.
Should it have been done years ago? Yes. As soon as this section of the Big Dig was done.
 

Charlie_mta

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Politically, this will be a four-star tough sell. Historically, spot holders were City Hall and BPDA cronies as well as favored local power brokers. Excepting the lucked few who've nabbed a spot after a funeral (death is really the only way people give up a spot), possession of one of the spots is a tarmacadam talisman to quiet, old-guard corruption. I will rejoice the day the bulldozers start ripping it up. So, yeah, the city needs to do a little wart removal here.

If I was a forward thinking city planner who was given this job, I would do something that has not been done recently: legally pre-enabling variances for the entire project area, fast-track zoning changes, focusing on small owner density. This all means we would...
  • Lay down two streets. (Suggesting Ferry St where Honey Fitz was born for the NE-SE one)
  • Create around 40 ~20x50 single parcels
  • Decree no setbacks at street face.
  • Set no gap between neighbors' firewalls
  • Spec FAR matching or exceeding the rest of the actual North End.
  • Spec stepped-up heights from 55' on the NE side to 80' on the SW.
  • Offer building assistance for all buyers
  • Restrict to one parcel per buyer
  • Create a local contractor consortium (minority, female, veteran owned favored, of course)
  • Set aside 25 percent for publicly assisted housing on site.
  • Reserve a strip of open space up the middle
I would expect a variety of facades, non-brick even, like glass, stone, cladding, prefab panels. I could see it looking similar to the block next to it, like this...
View attachment 21949View attachment 21950

Before all that happens, dumb as it is for an obvious TOD parcel, we may need to dig a big pit for a muni-garage which must include a buttload of seawater pumps for the inevitable flooding to come. If that's the case, it's going to take bigger money to get it going. Even though it's feet from the Blue and Orange Lines and many busses, somebody is going to blurt out something stupid about parking. And it's going to get traction.
So then you kill the cross street and put in ramps, like this...
View attachment 21951

Is this building model inefficient? Yes.
Is this what people want? Yes. Locals hate mono-cropped developments from Big REIT Companies for various reasons. I'd suppose its because they wouldn't have a shot at buying a piece of land if it was a pre-negotiated one developer build.
Should it have been done years ago? Yes. As soon as this section of the Big Dig was done.
Instead of extending Ferry Street, I'd rather see the parking lot and air rights over the Callahan tunnel entrance redeveloped as one parcel. Covering over the Callahan tunnel entrance would knit together the area visually with the North End and create more developable space.
 

BeyondRevenue

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Instead of extending Ferry Street, I'd rather see the parking lot and air rights over the Callahan tunnel entrance redeveloped as one parcel. Covering over the Callahan tunnel entrance would knit together the area visually with the North End and create more developable space.
Why not both? Send Ferry to North Street over the ramps.
Personally, hell yes, Charlie_mta! In this case I'm playing it safe-er than watching the whole thing get shot down by MassDOT's instinctive Fear of Good Ideas (capping the tunnels there).
As an aside, we need new blood at MassDOT. This glacial paced, half-assed horse trading drags sensible development into the deep with a neck-chained boat anchor.
Just come out and say, "Developers, if you pay for the cap, you can have it... if you give us X amount." Instead, every meeting is an application of red tape with a slow, sadistic, ceremonial removal for cash. Like some twisted performance in a LaGrange Street backroom, connected by a dank, narrow tunnel to the transportation building.
They should be direct. Right now, it's a shakedown by dipshit wanna-be players trying their best to be relevant.
Or I could be wrong.
 
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Charlie_mta

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Why not both? Send Ferry to North Street over the ramps.
A narrow street or alley could be fit in alongside the Callahan tunnel entrance. A new building on air rights over the Callahan tunnel approach is outlined in red. North Street would have to be narrowed (shown as yellow) with parking eliminated on its east side to make space for the columns to support the building over the Callahan approach. This would all be in addition to the development you propose on the parking lot.

 

vanshnookenraggen

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Given the height limits over there, that red square is too small. Otherwise you'll have to engineer quite the expensive small box. If you built the majority of that building, especially the core, over the parking lot and cantilevered it over the ramps you'd have a more "affordable" building.
 

Charlie_mta

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Given the height limits over there, that red square is too small. Otherwise you'll have to engineer quite the expensive small box. If you built the majority of that building, especially the core, over the parking lot and cantilevered it over the ramps you'd have a more "affordable" building.
Yeah, I agree. That would eliminate the new through street, but whenever you have an air rights building, an adjoining development on terra firma makes it more economically feasible, and also helps make the design of the air rights portion a bit more doable (using cantilevered beams, etc.).
 

Vagabond

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Given the height limits over there, that red square is too small. Otherwise you'll have to engineer quite the expensive small box. If you built the majority of that building, especially the core, over the parking lot and cantilevered it over the ramps you'd have a more "affordable" building.
Does North street need to be a passthrough after the tunnel service entrance? It's primarily a parking lot. Only the school opens on to it. A large garage at Cross Street specifically to support the North End would eliminate parking pressures and make taking back streets for life more palatable.

1646836828814.png
 

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