Is parking too cheap?

JeffDowntown

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You are free to think that, but from a public-policy standpoint, we need to make personal car use in the "core" more expensive because it bogs down other, more-valuable modes.

Other modes are more valuable for urban mobility. Buses, bikes and plain-old walking on the sidewalk, in particular, do a better job of moving people per lane-mile of city street (and demand far less sq ft of parking space per user too). Transit is more valuable too, and we need to identify ways of funding its expansion.

Higher parking rates are a double win: reducing congestion and paying for increased usefulness of other modes.

Ideally, the revenue from higher parking rates (both from meters and from taxes on private parking) should work the same as a congestion charge: the money should pay for better shared modes (transit) and the reduction in traffic lets all traffic that remains move more freely.
And don't forget the insane "free" neighborhood resident on-street parking.
 

DigitalSciGuy

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And don't forget the insane "free" neighborhood resident on-street parking.
I'm holding out hope that if we keep paring the words 'insane', 'free', 'parking', we'll eventually get lay people to critically think about why we're doing that...

I feel like I lose a piece of my soul every time I find myself fighting in the trenches on these issues. It was some consolation to find well-reasoned arguments jumping out against the din of the same battle cries initiated by Maureen's corresponding tweet to her 'e-zine' post (I refuse to acknowledge it as a blog).
 

dwash59

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Where are these meetings posted? When a development is proposed and then has a public meeting, is there a reliable place to view if/when these meetings are taking place?
At least in Allston/Brighton, they've begun posting the abutter meetings on the city's neighborhood mailing list (subscribe at http://www.cityofboston.gov/neighborhoods/newsletter.asp )

For more major projects where the BRA is involved, you can subscribe to the BRA's newsletter at http://www.bostonredevelopmentauthority.org/about-us/get-involved ; I at least think that is where I signed up to get notifications about projects in Allston. Alternatively, you can try http://bostonredevelopmentauthority...ibe?u=c680a920917b91377ae543202&id=bccda74844
 

millerm277

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The local NIMBY residents don't actually care about congestion
They care about congestion, but they are using it in a different sense than you are. They care about the very local congestion and not metro area congestion.

They are concerned about when they have to circle for 30 minutes to find a parking space and they don't like other people doing it past their door either.

They aren't talking about I-93.
 

dwash59

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They are concerned about when they have to circle for 30 minutes to find a parking space and they don't like other people doing it past their door either.
9 units, 11 spaces in a part of South Boston that has 0.7-0.91 cars per household.

You can argue that visitors might park on the street and cause issues, but that is why you have resident permits. This street doesn't actually require residential permits on the weekends, so there are clear steps they could take to make parking easier for residents.

That said, I have no issue with someone paying market price for a lot and building parking spaces. I would rather people pay $70k for a spot than continue this free on-street parking nonsense. These type of prices may convince the city to finally look into charging for residential permits.
 

Matthew

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They care about congestion, but they are using it in a different sense than you are. They care about the very local congestion and not metro area congestion.

They are concerned about when they have to circle for 30 minutes to find a parking space and they don't like other people doing it past their door either.

They aren't talking about I-93.
I'm not talking about I-93 either. I am talking very much about local congestion. Building parking spaces increases local congestion. It's induced demand, and there are only two ways to get it under control: properly balanced pricing for all of the parking, and/or reduce the demand for parking in other ways (provide better options than multiple-car-ownership for households, for example).

Under current conditions, so long as there is free on-street parking, there will be congestion caused by people circling around to get it. And for every parking space built off-street, that's yet another car added in addition to all the ones circling around.
 

Scipio

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The Boston city council had a hearing on parking a few weeks ago where some councilors were calling to build municipal parking garages, while Zakim said that his district fundamentally isn't reliant on parking. Wu is calling for (ideally demand-based) price increases to keep parking available and prevent circling. BTD says that they already have 65% of their parking transactions coming in either from the new credit card readers or from the parking apps.

http://thebostonsun.com/2016/11/04/parking-meter-rates-may-soon-go-up-in-the-city-of-boston/
 

sm89

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The Boston city council had a hearing on parking a few weeks ago where some councilors were calling to build municipal parking garages, while Zakim said that his district fundamentally isn't reliant on parking. Wu is calling for (ideally demand-based) price increases to keep parking available and prevent circling. BTD says that they already have 65% of their parking transactions coming in either from the new credit card readers or from the parking apps.

http://thebostonsun.com/2016/11/04/parking-meter-rates-may-soon-go-up-in-the-city-of-boston/
Residential parking is seemingly harder to tackle, but the City's upcoming efforts to test demand-based pricing for meters should yield some pretty good results.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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The Boston city council had a hearing on parking a few weeks ago where some councilors were calling to build municipal parking garages, while Zakim said that his district fundamentally isn't reliant on parking. Wu is calling for (ideally demand-based) price increases to keep parking available and prevent circling. BTD says that they already have 65% of their parking transactions coming in either from the new credit card readers or from the parking apps.

http://thebostonsun.com/2016/11/04/parking-meter-rates-may-soon-go-up-in-the-city-of-boston/
Hmm...which of the usual suspects is calling for supply-side induced demand with moar garages? $5 says it's Linehan.

[*clickies link*]

Woo-hoo! I owe myself five bucks!
 

Lrfox

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Study finds 30 percent of parking spaces in new apartment buildings are going unused

It’s a finding with major implications for the region’s housing crunch.

Building parking garages is expensive, and unused space devoted to cars can’t easily be repurposed for parks, plazas or larger housing units. Yet officials in many cities and towns, pressured by residents worried about losing on-street parking to newcomers, require new buildings to include a parking space for every unit, and sometimes more.
Globe: https://www.bostonglobe.com/busines...MYCTABwFOw-jPNNJUIPmYlSQs6IwKRTCwtWghi6P3jBeI

This is not surprising, but it's great to see such a public focus on something we've discussed here repeatedly. We don't need nearly as much parking as we build.
 

Arlington

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Mandating that developers (and then tenants) be 30% oversupplied is literally the kind of supply-and-demand mistake that a "free market" is not supposed to have.

Of course, we don't have a free market in parking, we have a command economy in parking that commands property owners and tenants to oversupply something that only car-owner/users can use.
 

George_Apley

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I like how many naysayers assume the developers would suddenly stop including any parking if they weren't forced to have at least 1:1 by municipal ordinance. The black and white thinking of people is so frustrating.
 

Benson

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#thingsthatdontbelongincities
I had a friend who lived car-free in the South End. His offices moved out to the burbs and he didn't want to move or switch jobs, so he felt he had no other option than to buy a car. He bought his car here because it was one of the few T-accessible dealerships. I'm guessing folks from the suburbs don't drive in to go to this dealership so I'll assume there's a real demand for a dealership in the city. I'm with you though. I do wish they could occupy a spot with less street presence, but it's alright for what it is.
 

#bancars

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I had a friend who lived car-free in the South End. His offices moved out to the burbs and he didn't want to move or switch jobs, so he felt he had no other option than to buy a car. He bought his car here because it was one of the few T-accessible dealerships. I'm guessing folks from the suburbs don't drive in to go to this dealership so I'll assume there's a real demand for a dealership in the city. I'm with you though. I do wish they could occupy a spot with less street presence, but it's alright for what it is.
I used to live very close by to the old Honda dealership building. While I too wish we weren't building a new car dealership in 2021, it at the very least looks much nicer and contributes to a better streetwall.
 

navigator4

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DSHoost -- unfortunately -- economics like physics sometimes has laws which humans might not like -- but you violate them at your peril
if you look at the comments associated with the "Update to the Master Plan for the RFMIP" -- one of the biggest concerns is that there is not enough parking
it seems as though about 75% of the employees of the RFMIP use a car to commute to work
albeit some of the places such as Autodesk and Reebok have much higher levels of transit commuters than do places such as the Harpoon Brewery and Stavis Sea Foods where a lot of things have to start before the T does every morning
I agree. Just because dshoost doesn't like parking does not mean that others do not want/need it.
 

dshoost88

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DSHoost -- unfortunately -- economics like physics sometimes has laws which humans might not like -- but you violate them at your peril
if you look at the comments associated with the "Update to the Master Plan for the RFMIP" -- one of the biggest concerns is that there is not enough parking
it seems as though about 75% of the employees of the RFMIP use a car to commute to work
albeit some of the places such as Autodesk and Reebok have much higher levels of transit commuters than do places such as the Harpoon Brewery and Stavis Sea Foods where a lot of things have to start before the T does every morning
1. Please don't patronize me. Despite your thinly vailed condescension, I'll have you know I studied economics through the graduate level and have written many an 'A' paper on urban economics in particular.
2. RFMIP Master Plan Update? This old thing? I'd ask you to enlighten the forum on how an obsolete, 3-year-old master update for a marine industrial park has anything to do with a discussion about a condominium development 5.5 miles west, but I'll spare you the trouble--it doesn't. If you want to analyze demand of municipally-required parking infrastructure at new residential developments and the economic argument for building more of them, I think a review of MAPC's Perfect Fit Parking Study will put a pin in that real fast.

I agree. Just because dshoost doesn't like parking does not mean that others do not want/need it.
3. I'm not anti-parking; I'm pro-problem solving. If the neighborhood has growing transit accessibility and pedestrian connectivity; higher demand for new development across all/most building uses; and a goal to remain affordable, then adding parking goes against its goals.
  • When developers pay $60,000+/parking spot at new developments, they pass along that expense to the occupant--this makes the condos more expensive to purchase, or apartments more expensive to lease.
  • When parking minimums are allowed to fester in place, it artificially inflates the cost of the building... which is passed along to the occupants, and hurts affordability.
  • When we set aside space for on-site parking (particularly at- and above-grade), the opportunity cost is additional units for people to live/work.
  • When office developments construct parking for peak-hour demand like at the forthcoming Allston Yards complex, the most efficient use of the garage there is if it can park more cars more hours of the day and night. There is an opportunity at this garage to appeal to neighbors with a monthly parking pass, either full time or reverse commuter option. This has been incredibly successful at other garages in the city and negated the need to construct additional park spaces.
  • In a post-COVID working environment, it's becoming clear that many employers will have new options for employees to have flex schedules and/or work from home indefinitely. Such a change has a radical shift in the demand for vehicle ownership and dedicated car-parking storage. Among this, TNC proliferation, and more efficient shared mobility options throughout Boston, the demand for parking diminishes even further.
1:1 ratio parking here means the difference between actual labeling oneself Transit Oriented Development vs. actually being merely Transit Adjacent Development.
 

curcuas

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If people want parking, that's fine, the city doesn't need to mandate it any more than the city needs to mandate the style of showers in the bathrooms. I agree that some people want it and we will have it in many buildings; a mandate though is remarkably unnecessary and a driver of housing costs.
 

whighlander

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1. Please don't patronize me. Despite your thinly vailed condescension, I'll have you know I studied economics through the graduate level and have written many an 'A' paper on urban economics in particular.
2. RFMIP Master Plan Update? This old thing? I'd ask you to enlighten the forum on how an obsolete, 3-year-old master update for a marine industrial park has anything to do with a discussion about a condominium development 5.5 miles west, but I'll spare you the trouble--it doesn't. If you want to analyze demand of municipally-required parking infrastructure at new residential developments and the economic argument for building more of them, I think a review of MAPC's Perfect Fit Parking Study will put a pin in that real fast.



3. I'm not anti-parking; I'm pro-problem solving. If the neighborhood has growing transit accessibility and pedestrian connectivity; higher demand for new development across all/most building uses; and a goal to remain affordable, then adding parking goes against its goals.
  • When developers pay $60,000+/parking spot at new developments, they pass along that expense to the occupant--this makes the condos more expensive to purchase, or apartments more expensive to lease.
  • When parking minimums are allowed to fester in place, it artificially inflates the cost of the building... which is passed along to the occupants, and hurts affordability.
  • When we set aside space for on-site parking (particularly at- and above-grade), the opportunity cost is additional units for people to live/work.
  • When office developments construct parking for peak-hour demand like at the forthcoming Allston Yards complex, the most efficient use of the garage there is if it can park more cars more hours of the day and night. There is an opportunity at this garage to appeal to neighbors with a monthly parking pass, either full time or reverse commuter option. This has been incredibly successful at other garages in the city and negated the need to construct additional park spaces.
  • In a post-COVID working environment, it's becoming clear that many employers will have new options for employees to have flex schedules and/or work from home indefinitely. Such a change has a radical shift in the demand for vehicle ownership and dedicated car-parking storage. Among this, TNC proliferation, and more efficient shared mobility options throughout Boston, the demand for parking diminishes even further.
1:1 ratio parking here means the difference between actual labeling oneself Transit Oriented Development vs. actually being merely Transit Adjacent Development.
Dshoost -- I don't want to get into a "xxxx contest" about economics.
I have no degree in the field although I studied it formally as an MIT undergraduate [economics was my "humanities concentration" -- taking economics subjects over 3 semesters including one with Paul Samuelson] while I was pursuing my degree in Physics and studying electrical engineering extensively and working in several different R&D Labs. A couple of years later I took some graduate courses in economics of energy supply while I was working on my Ph.D. on R&D related to controlled thermonuclear fusion.

Since then economics, like architecture, history, and urban evolution, has been much more than a hobby though less than an occupation -- in particular I've spent quite a lot of time and "library research" exploring the impact of technology on enterprise and economic development and have some publications

My comments related to the need for parking especially for special circumstances such as 24x7 access
My primary reference point was: the 2017 Update to the RFMIP Master Plan dated Dec 2017 [admittedly parts of which date to 2015]
However, while not current -- It has a considerable amount of actual information [well opinion] gleaned from interviews of a fairly large number of folks who work in, or employ folks in the RFMIP and hence deal with the issues of parking on a daily basis
These interviews provide a fairly comprehensive view of the concerns which various categories of employers and employees have with respect to a large plot of land -- which is currently under utilized in part because there is not enough parking [especially on days when the cruise terminal is very busy]
The document is particularly pertinent to the discussion of 88 Black Falcon [despite the site being formally outside of the RFMIP]

I'm also, I hope a fairly keen observer of the dynamics that has transformed KSq and the South Boston Seaport -- in the decades since I was an MIT undergraduate and used to walk about KSq's emptyness [post the NASA clearance] and on down through the Fort Point and Fan Pier areas where there were a lot of abandoned old rail and old industrial / warehouse related infrastructure --- no one had any problems in those days finding a parking place

I'm also glad to hear that you are pro-solution
One thing which I now appreciate even more after reading the RFMIP document is that the spaghetti bowl or perhaps boiling pasta pot of regulations at different levels makes the task of coming up with workable solutions for the whole South Boston waterfront very challenging and very ponderous and onerous
I don't envy any of the people involved in those projects because of the huge amount of bureaucratic friction provided by the overlapping and in some cases counter intuitive requirements for compliance

Suffice it to say that the Back Bay would still be a tidal cesspool if current burden of regulations: [Commonwealth, the City of Boston and even the Feds] had been in effect mid19th C

PS: thanks for the link to the MAPC's Perfect Fit Parking Study as I plan to review it
 
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HenryAlan

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If people want parking, that's fine, the city doesn't need to mandate it any more than the city needs to mandate the style of showers in the bathrooms. I agree that some people want it and we will have it in many buildings; a mandate though is remarkably unnecessary and a driver of housing costs.
Ideally, we would completely decouple parking from other building forms. Some developers could build housing, some office/lab/commercial space, and others might focus on parking garages. Whatever demand there is for parking would be satisfied by the market, either via more parking lots or higher cost. Either way, it would only factor in the level of actual demand, not be tied to metrics that aren't necessarily related to parking management.
 

whighlander

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Ideally, we would completely decouple parking from other building forms. Some developers could build housing, some office/lab/commercial space, and others might focus on parking garages. Whatever demand there is for parking would be satisfied by the market, either via more parking lots or higher cost. Either way, it would only factor in the level of actual demand, not be tied to metrics that aren't necessarily related to parking management.
Henry -- that is a nice idea -- but I doubt that you can get very far promoting it
There are too many anti-car, and especially anti-off-street parking people to allow anyone to build a parking garage from scratch which is not intrinsic to another component of a large development
and of course there are various levels of "Parking Freezes" which were set [more of less] into concrete in a totally different era
 

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