Parking at most Boston meters to cost more starting this summer

The mayor's office announced that come July 1, the cheapest parking meters in the city will set you back $2 an hour - up from the current $1.25 - as part of a bid to reduce street congestion and raise money for road infrastructure projects.

But parking at a meter in Fenway/Kenmore and in the Bulfinch Triangle near the Garden will cost $2.50 an hour. And in the Back Bay and along streets controlled by the city in the South Boston Waterfront, expect to pay up to $3.75 an hour.

Carp away, but the mayor's office notes this still makes Boston a bargain compared to Chicago and San Francisco, which charge $6.50 an hour to use one of their meters.

According to the mayor's office, the increases should bring in $5 million more a year, which will be pooled with $3 million from a 10-cent-a-ride surchage on Lyft and Uber rides to repair sidewalks, build or extend bike lanes along Massachusetts Avenue and Columbus Avenue, re-paint the Silver Line bus lane through Chinatown, do something about Blue Hill Avenue and buy equipment and supplies for traffic-calming systems such as flashing speed signs and flex posts across the city.

The city began fiddling with meter parking in the Back Bay and along the waterfront in 2016:

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.

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Comments

Good news all around. More

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Good news all around. More money for pedestrians and public transit and fewer instances of criminal drivers breaking the law. $2 is still too cheap though.

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God

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...you're boring.

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Except

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He is wrong.

Not a penny from parking meters goes towards public transportation. I mean, repainting bus lanes is great and all, but that doesn't really do much.

Also, the "criminal driver" obsession he has really detracts from what to be honest could be a positive image.

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Did you miss this part from the article?

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According to the mayor's office, the increases should bring in $5 million more a year, which will be pooled with $3 million from a 10-cent-a-ride surchage on Lyft and Uber rides to repair sidewalks, build or extend bike lanes along Massachusetts Avenue and Columbus Avenue, re-paint the Silver Line bus lane through Chinatown, do something about Blue Hill Avenue and buy equipment and supplies for traffic-calming systems such as flashing speed signs and flex posts across the city.

Seems like that's money going towards pedestrians and public transit to me (note that Kinopio said both), but maybe I'm missing something. And repainting bus lanes might not be much, but it is something - and traffic-calming systems help buses along with cars, pedestrians, etc.

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If repainting an existing bus lane the project

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Sorry, that is not really assisting public transit. Thinking it does so buys in to the idea that somehow the City of Boston runs the T. It doesn't.

Everything listed is basic public works work, with the exception of the traffic calming items, which is, as implied in the name, to handle traffic, not transit, issues.

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Do you know where it really goes?

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You'd be surprised.

It's basically a slush fund. Here's how it works.

Boston sets a budget. Parking meter money never hits that budget. It goes into an outside trust (I have no idea how much money is in it, but as of a couple of years ago the city had about $1 billion - half of that is legit operational float, a small portion is unspent but earmarked funds and most of the other half is a rainy day fund in a fiscal environment where it literally can't rain - but I digress).

At the end of the year they check the budget to see where they are YTD. It's always partially in the red due to overtime or some such. Then they tap this trust account (and maybe others I don't know about) to balance the budget at the end of the year. Apparently there are other accounts that Menino used to pull on any time there was a small crisis - like a youth program that needed funding. He would ride to the rescue and the City Council could never figure out where the money came from because he had it stashed in accounts they couldn't see - nothing illegal or even immoral. Just the way the city operates and how the mayor can look like a hero by squirreling money away where the city council "experts" don't know where to look.

Learned this partly by accident when I asked in like March why the parking income had a zero entered through 9 months of the fiscal year. I asked fiscal "expert" Steve Murphy why and he said he'd get back to me - but never did. A city finance employee eventually spilled the beans.

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The parking trust fund is a legitimate trust fund

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But they ain't sending that money to the T.

Honestly, I support the meter rates going up, but I am honest about it. Raising the rates encourages turnover, since eventually it will be more worth while to go to a lot or garage, which is where long term parking should be in the places where one finds meters.

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Yes it is

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Very legit - not sure why they do it this way - but it's fully transparent if you know where to look.

My knock on this is they say it's because we are too reliant on property taxes. OK - so then collect the funds and use it to reduce the property tax levy. But that's not apparently what they are doing. This is incremental revenue. Just like the meals tax a few years ago, the community preservation act (although at least in the first year they used it for somewhat legit (i.e. non-traditional) municipal expenditures.

Seems every year they come up with some new revenue stream even with revenue increasing at twice the rate of inflation and it's never enough.

Your opinion/analysis is

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Your opinion/analysis is immediately invalidated by "repainting bus lanes doesn't really do much."

In every city in which dedicated bus lanes have been established, the results are resoundingly clear: more people get around to more places more quickly, with buses carrying dozens of people no longer beholden to a long clunky line of cars, each carrying a single person more often than otherwise, all waiting in their shiny personal carboxes at traffic stops. Even here in Everett, the piloted bus lanes have proven remarkably beneficial.

But let's not let case studies and evidence get in the way of Boston's infamous "don't do it, won't work" mentality, especially when it comes to transit and mobility.

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How did I miss that?

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Let me put it this way-

Putting bus lanes along Blue Hill Avenue will speed up commutes a bit, but if they were truly investing in public transit, they'd be boring tunnels under the Avenue and putting a subway in.

That said, done right bus lanes are good. In fact, I annoy myself that I don't publicly gripe more about cars (and delivery trucks and school buses) parking on Washington Street in Roslindale in the morning. Thankfully, it doesn't happen that much, but if they want the lanes to succeed, they need to keep them clear. Same thing with the Silver Line. It's low investment, and it shows. Repainting existing bus lanes is the most cosmetic thing one can do. Dedicating personnel to enforce the lane would be a much better use of money.

Enforcement

No way will improved bus lanes work on Blue Hill Avenue without increased enforcement. Due to the geography of the area a tunnel system through the entire length of Blue Hill Avenue would cost way more than the Big Dig did. Definitely really, really need lane enforcement on the weekends.

man, you're absolutely right.

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man, you're absolutely right. how foolish we've been. if something doesn't solve all the problems, 100%, immediately, there's no reason to do anything.

incremental improvements that positively affect real people in small ways? FUCK THAT, hold out for the perfect solution that won't be fiscally or politically viable for another two decades!!!

just curious

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Do you hit f5 on this site all day or is it an alert you have set up? It's impressive how one can open even the most tangentially related car/parking topic on UHub and the first comment will undoubtedly be some anti-combustion engine hyperbole from you.

Residential Permits

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Good. Now start charging for residential permits and limit them per household. It's insane the city hands them out for free with no limit.

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That's some clever

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That's some clever politicking. They announce that the money will be spent on a few high-profile projects most people support, which they should have been doing anyway. But there's no guarantee that ALL the money will go to said projects. And of course the increase won't be rolled back once these projects are done.

This is terrible news for Downtown

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Newbury Street is struggling already. How will people get to businesses there if there's not copious, cheap parking? The "car-free Newbury" days have causes businesses to flee the region. Have you been to Newbury recently? It's a ghost town. No one goes there anymore. I know someone who drives in from Brighton, this will cause him to have to pay so much more to park. Think of the children!

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Make it higher

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Keep raising it. The people that can’t afford $10 or $20 to park should not be driving. They should be walking, taking the T, or screaming obscenities at drivers as they weave through traffic on their bikes. Proles should move over and be proles while society’s winners can make use of the roads.

I also like the fact that the higher rates keep out-of-Towners from driving into “the city.” Boston should be an urban playground for salaried workers to to comfortably work until their deaths and not have families, with maybe some leisure time to enjoy craft beers, outdoor events, and food trucks.

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Parking meters

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Skip the baby steps and go right to $6.50/Hour.

They need to shit or get off

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They need to shit or get off the pot when it comes to demand pricing. They love to point out that some blocks in San Francisco are more than $6 per hour, but only certain high-demand blocks, at high-demand times. Areas with lower demand are as cheap as 50 cents or $1 per hour.

Look at all those meters along Comm Ave in Allston that sit empty for most of the day. Beacon Street between Mass Ave and Charlesgate? Mostly empty throughout the day, because not enough people are willing to pay $3.75/hr to park there. It may be considered "Back Bay" but it's not Newbury and Boylston at 4pm on a Friday.

Lower the rate, or increase the time limit to meet the demands of the neighborhood. Newbury Street on a Saturday afternoon, or Kenmore Square during a Sox game can certainly be higher, but that should be countered with lower prices (and perhaps longer time limits) for low-demand times like early mornings.

How to set meter rates

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To set meter rates, the city ought to take the hourly rate for nearby parking garages, and divide by two. That's fair.

South Boston Waterfront or Seaport?

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When I think of the South Boston Waterfront, I think of Day Boulevard to Castle Island. The area you're referencing is the Seaport. I realize the powers that be in City Hall, always heavily populated by South Boston residents, want the area to be called the South Boston Waterfront so they can park all day in the resident spots and then drive back to East 7th St or wherever they live in Southie, but in reality, no one refers to the area around Seaport Boulevard as anything but the Seaport. It's time for City Hall to rezone the resident parking over there and create Seaport stickers only so the few non rich people who actually live there can have a fighting chance at finding an on street parking spot and not have them taken up by commuting Southie folks.

Parking Meters

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I don't mind the parking increase....if that was all it is. What I mind, and what really pisses me off is the slap in the face of working people who work at Fenway Park. We park at metered spaces and we pay the meters. But then some Brunhilde comes up and fines us. Its not for not paying the meter, its for staying in a metered spot for more than 2 hours. It SUCKS. Here I have spent $5.00 paying the meters and still I get a $40 ticket for coming to work. Meanwhile Marty Walsh pulls up to Fenway Park in his SUV and eats his lobster roll while hard working people are working to pay their fines.

Funny thing

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Most people don’t drive to Fenway Park. Use the T. Even without the parking ticket, it’s cheaper.