The Boston Transportation Department is reminding residents that updates to the City’s parking meter fees go into effect beginning on Monday, July 1, continuing Boston’s efforts to reduce congestion, increase the availability of parking and reinvest funding into transportation infrastructure.
“The City of Boston continues to strengthen its transportation network to meet current and future demand,” said Chris Osgood, Chief of Streets for the City of Boston. “In response to the needs of our growing city, we’re developing and implementing solutions to ensure that residents of Boston and the surrounding region have an effective transportation system available to them. The new parking meter fees reflect current demand for short-term parking in Boston and will help to ease congestion on the City’s busiest streets.”
The revised fees build off of the learnings from the two-year performance parking pilot program in the Back Bay and South Boston Waterfront, two areas with the highest parking demand in Boston. Taking a different approach in each neighborhood, the City adjusted meter rates and observed the impact on parking availability. The pricing approach taken in the Back Bay, where the City applied a consistent price over a larger area, showed the most positive results, as double-parking decreased by 14 percent, and illegal parking decreased by an average of 22 percent. During this pilot, on average a parking space was available on every block.
The new rates going into effect on Monday, July 1 include:
- Back Bay – The current price of $3.75 per hour will remain in effect.
- Bulfinch Triangle – $2.50 per hour in the area bordered by Causeway Street, Lomasney Way, Staniford Street, Merrimac Street, New Chardon Street and North Washington Street.
- Fenway/Kenmore – $2.50 per hour.
- South Boston Waterfront – $3.75 per hour on all City of Boston owned streets with the exception of D Street which will be priced at $2.50 per hour.
- Motorcycle Parking – $0.50 per hour at all parking stalls including those currently located on Milk Street, Pearl Street, High Street, Batterymarch Street, Newbury Street, Exeter Street, Gloucester Street, Boylston Street and Fairfield Street.
- Parking meter rates in all other metered areas of the City, such as Beacon Hill, the Financial District and the South End, will be set to $2.00/hour.
The City of Boston last raised parking meter fees citywide in 2011 when the hourly rate increased from $1.00 to $1.25.
Residential neighborhoods which do not have parking meters will not see a change. As a result of this improvement, the City expects that the benefits of smarter pricing will also reach these other areas – it will be easier to find a parking space; there will be less illegal parking; there will be less double parking; all leading to less congestion and lower emissions.
Even with these updates, Boston continues to have some of the lowest parking meter prices in the country, with other municipalities’ hourly rates at up to $4/hour (Seattle), and up to $6.50/hour (San Francisco and Chicago). Expanding the approach across Boston will not only make parking easier, but also generate additional revenue to improve Boston’s transportation network.
With the additional revenue these parking changes bring, Boston will re-invest the funds, estimated to reach $5 million, by moving ahead on projects identified in Go Boston 2030 that are designed to create equitable, safe and functional streets for all.
- More Accessible Sidewalks: The City will increase its investment in both spot repairs of broken sidewalks and the full reconstruction of sidewalks. The City used funding from the performance parking pilot to rebuild stretches of sidewalk in the Back Bay; that work will continue and expand to more areas across the city.
- More Reliable Commutes: The City will invest $1.5 million in a series of projects to improve people’s commutes. This includes deeper investments in improving bus corridors including investing in a plan for improvements to Blue Hill Avenue, and an acceleration of the City’s implementation of its strategic bike network.
- Safer and Cleaner Blocks: The City will increase its investment by $1 million in Public Works staff, equipment and contracts to be able to maintain new infrastructure, such as protected bike lanes. It will also expand its investment in speed feedback boards, rapid flash beacons and flex posts, which help reduce fatal collisions in vulnerable areas.
- Greener Neighborhoods: The City will invest in electric vehicle charging infrastructure at a pilot set of municipal lots to support and encourage residents who choose to purchase electric vehicles.
Richard Dimino, President and CEO of A Better City said, “This incremental increase in Boston’s parking meter rate makes sense. For businesses, the parking meter is meant to provide short term spaces for customers. The new rate will encourage turnover, which at the end, increases the availability of space. Also pleased to see the use of meter revenue tied to efforts to improve transit access.”
In addition to increased parking meter revenue, Boston is now in its second year of collecting the 10 cent per ride revenue from Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), like Uber and Lyft, which will result in about $3 million in funding available for transportation projects in FY20. In his legislative package, Mayor Walsh has also proposed further measures to encourage shared TNC rides, and reduce congestion in Boston. This TNC revenue will contribute to funding anti-congestion efforts Citywide, as well as safety and public realm improvements.
With funding secured in Mayor Walsh’s FY2019 budget, in the past year the City of Boston has created within BTD a Transit Team that is focusing on implementing bus lanes and other public transit improvements, and a New Mobility Team focusing on the rideshare industry, scooters and additional contemporary transportation options. This funding has also provided for the expansion of BTD’s Active Transportation Team focusing on the construction of a network of connected bike lanes extending throughout the City, expanding Bluebikes, the popular bike share program owned by the City of Boston and its partner municipalities of Brookline, Cambridge, Somerville and Everett, and the expansion of Neighborhood Slow Streets zones on residential streets in the City.
Performance Parking is a priority project of Go Boston 2030, the City of Boston’s comprehensive transportation plan.