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I have been rambling on for years about how parking spaces are basically the worst thing you can put into a city (other than I guess the cars in them), but finally someone went and proved me right with math.
A pair of forthcoming studies by Garrick and several of his UConn colleagues examine the economic and sociological impacts of parking trends in six U.S. cities from 1960 to 2000. They conclude that some car-centric cities forfeit more than a thousand dollars per parking space per year in potential municipal revenues by using land for parking rather than more lucrative alternatives. The researchers also found that minimum parking requirements inhibit development and exacerbate traffic by placing incentives on car use rather than on walking and cycling.
The studies chronicle changes in Arlington, Va., Berkeley, Calif., and Cambridge, Mass.—all of which showed only modest growth in parking over the past 40 years—and Hartford, Conn., Lowell, Mass., and New Haven, Conn., where parking spaces were added with great zeal over that span.
Parking-centric cities also sacrifice income. In all six cities studied by UConn’s researchers, land devoted to buildings provides at least 88 percent of tax revenue and sometimes as much as 97 percent; parking contributes very little. In other words, cities that turn themselves into car lots relinquish tax money in the bargain.
Hartford loses an estimated $1,200 annually per parking space, a subsidy of more than $50 million per year, according to Garrick. The city is no anomaly: “We pick on Hartford because it’s our state capital.” Cities such as Cambridge, where parking is kept in check and more heavily taxed, don’t lose money. (read more here)
Hindsight is of course 20/20, but lets go over a little recap of what happened to many cities since the 60’s. Build big highways into the city, allowing people to commute from the burbs, whoops there goes your tax base, then you build lots of parking lots so those people have some place to stash their cars when arrive from 20-10+ miles away, roads get torn up without the tax base to pay for them, and whoops lost tax revenue because empty concrete doesn’t make much tax revenue. Then what are you left with? A city that is a traffic jam twice a day, a parking lot during the work day, and a ghost town at night and on weekends. You also have lots of ugly highways and overpasses that make it impossible for the people left to enjoy the city…in short building cities for cars is a nightmare.
I am uplifted by the fact that there has been a big trend in tearing down overpasses, making it more expensive to commute by car into cites, and removing, or reducing the number of parking spaces built. But we have a long way to go, our cities are still not designed for people, they are designed for cars. Hopefully people will follow the money and replace the parking spaces with something useful, like a garden, park, business, home, or bike lane!
Tags: economy, parking, throwing good money after bad
Posted in advocacy, news | 5 Comments »
Patrick Doyle from the Boston Magazine lays out in wonderful detail exactly what is wrong with the Boston parking system…its too cheap.
Driving in Boston is about as much fun as an emergency appendectomy with a jigsaw. Those of us who live here are well equipped to deliver detailed lectures on the reasons why: one-way streets derived from 17th-century cow paths; the lack, for the most part, of a grid; poor to nonexistent signage; and the general willingness of citizens on foot, on bike, and behind the wheel to dart out recklessly into traffic. But as bad as driving is in Boston, it’s a dream compared with the parking.
You see, the average car is driven only about 5 percent of each day. The rest of the time—when the owner is at work, at home, or in a store—that car is parked. In a small city with limited space like ours, this creates a major problem. Too many cars are competing for too few parking spots. Finding an empty space on the street is such a rarity that when my friend in the North End does manage to grab one, she’ll often choose to keep her car parked in it and shell out for a Zipcar when she needs to run an errand. Whenever you’re thinking of driving into the city—be it for a Red Sox game or a quick stop on Newbury Street—there’s always one overwhelming concern: If I can’t find a spot on the street, how much is the garage going to cost me?
It doesn’t have to be like this. Unlike a lot of the problems we have with cars around here, this one we can actually fix.
Read the rest of this great story for an in depth look at how we got into this problem, and some very good suggestions for how to get out of it, here.
While the Hubway rental system is briefly mentioned in the article what isn’t is how we can re-purpose a lot of that wasted parking space for bike infrastructure.
No one wants to talk about removing parking spaces, its one of the many third rail’s of government in this city. But if we are creative, we can accommodate more bike infrastructure and slightly less car parking.
If we do we will be able to provide a convenient alternative to all those poor souls trapped in their cars in traffic. This allows for less congestion, less traffic, and basically makes everyone’s life better (car drivers and bike riders).
Tags: Bike Lanes, hubway, parking, parking tickets
Posted in advocacy, infrastructure | No Comments »
Reader Grim sent these to me…as you can see the new bike lanes on North Harvard have not been totally understood just yet by the drivers in the area…perhaps a couple 100$ dollar tickets would smarten them up.
more pics here
Tags: bike lane, cars, fail, North Harvard, parking, tickets
Posted in advocacy | 6 Comments »
AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING PARKING IN A MARKED BIKE LANE
OR MARKED SHARED LANE
WHEREAS: The City of Boston is lacking an effective method to ensure public safety as members of the public not only travel in motor vehicles in marked bike lanes and shared lanes but also park in said lanes; and
WHEREAS: This Ordinance shall establish the following guidelines for parking motor vehicles in marked bike lanes and shared bike lanes; and
Ordained by the City Council as follows:
1. Purpose. The purpose of this ordinance is to establish guidelines for parking motor vehicles in marked bike lanes and shared bike lanes.
2. Prohibition from Marked Bike Lanes and Shared Lanes. No driver shall stand or park any motor vehicle in a marked bike or shared bike lane in the City of Boston.
3. Penalties. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be subject to a fine of one hundred dollars and no cents ($100.00) for each offense. This fine shall increase by thirty-three dollars ($33.00) if it remains unpaid at least twenty-one (21) days after issuance of a notice of the violation.
4. Exceptions. Nothing in these sections shall prevent standing or parking a motor vehicle in a marked bike lane or shared bike lane: (i) when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or pedestrians; (ii) in compliance with the lawful direction of a police officer or official traffic sign; or (iii) unless authorized to do so under existing regulations (including but not limited to designated residential parking lanes or parking meters).
5. Enforcement. The Boston Transportation Department and the Boston Police Department shall have the authority to enforce this section. The provisions of Massachusetts General Laws c. 90, s. 20A1/2 may be used to enforce these sections, and the adjudication provisions of this chapter and of Chapter 190 of the Acts of 1982 shall apply to this section. The Boston Police Department and Boston Transportation Department shall have the authority to impound any motor vehicle in violation of these sections.
6. Regulatory Authority. The Commissioner of the Boston Transportation Department and the Commissioner of the Boston Police Department shall have the authority to promulgate rules and regulations necessary to implement and enforce these sections.
7. Severability. If any provision of these sections is held as invalid, then such provision shall be considered separately and apart from the remaining provisions, which shall remain in full force and effect.
8. Implementation. The provisions of this section shall be effective immediately after passage.
Woo! Now if only they actually enforce it…and get more bike lanes.
Tags: awesome, Bike Lanes, parking, ticket
Posted in advocacy, news | 8 Comments »
Really? Really! What the hell is wrong with people that they would spend $300,000 (arguably more money than I will ever see in my life) on a f-ing parking space! Buy a bike people!
Today, a buyer paid $300,000 for a private parking space in Boston’s Back Bay section, making it the most expensive parking space in the city’s history, according to Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.
Debra Sordillo, the Coldwell sales agent who brokered the deal, said several residents at 48 Commonwealth Ave. engaged in a bidding war for the space, driving the original asking price of $250,000 up to the record-breaking $300,000. The winning bidder did not want to be identified, she said.
Though the price is more than what many people pay for a house, Sordillo said prime parking spaces in a neighborhood just a block from the Public Garden are in short supply.
“There’s only so many parking spaces in the city,” said Sordillo. “And in this part, there’s very few.”
You have to be kidding me…the person who wasted this much money on a place to put their stupid car (by the way that much money would have allowed you to park in any parking garage in town for more than a 40 years).
If they just rode a bike they would never have to worry about parking, would lose some of that fat rich ass, and could have given the $299,000 left over to charity.
EDIT: Because people asked you can park in the Boston Common Parking Garage for more than 30 years! (info here)
EDIT 2: If you use the monthly rate you would be locked in for more than 80 years…seriously these people are idiots…
Tags: morons, parking, rich idiots, seriously
Posted in news | 2 Comments »