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Cities Lose $1000 Or More Per Year For Every Parking Space They Have

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 07

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.

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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!


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I’m Not The Only One Who Thinks The Boston Parking System Is Broken

Written by Boston Biker on Nov 11

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).


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Pictures Of North Harvard Street Bike Lanes…Failing

Written by Boston Biker on Aug 06

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


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Boston Outlaws Parking In Bike Lanes

Written by Boston Biker on Aug 04

From ABBikes:

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.


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Jesus Christ People Ride A Bike (Parking Space Sells For $300K)

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 11

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…


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The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • Vehicle Operators Salmoning By Car September 18, 2014
      TweetThe term “salmoning” has become quite popular for describing the act of bicycling the wrong way down a one-way street. Salmon are known for swimming against the tide. They do this because fresh water is required for them to lay … Continue reading →
      IsolateCyclist
    • Brookline Asking For Feedback About Idaho Stops September 17, 2014
      TweetIn case you didn’t know, the Idaho Stop is when cyclists are allowed to treat stop signs like yields, and red lights like stop signs.  Idaho was the first to try it out, and more or less its been pretty … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Active Versus Inactive Transportation September 15, 2014
      TweetUntil I started a bicycling blog, I had never really heard of the term “active transportation.” The first time I heard this term, I thought it was rather odd. I didn’t know whether it referred to the fact that one … Continue reading →
      IsolateCyclist
    • More Bikes Than Cars September 12, 2014
      TweetTwice in the last two weeks I have been a part of a lovely thing.  While riding to work I look around and see way…way more bikes than cars.   I think it is a product of the lovely riding weather … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • FREE! Bike Hangers With Security Cable’s FREE! September 12, 2014
      TweetHowdy folks, I have roughly 10 Mini Mum Vertical Bike Hangers with Security Cable.     Free to whoever wants one or all of them.  They don’t have mounting screws, but you can get those at any hardware store.   … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • The Role Of Bicycle Tourism In A Community’s Acceptance Of Bicycling September 11, 2014
      TweetBicycle tourism, although growing in leaps and bounds, is not something we think about when advocating for bicycling or bicycle infrastructure. Bicycling is generally seen as a recreational activity or a mode of transportation. Consequently, arguments for its acceptance are … Continue reading →
      IsolateCyclist
    • More Coverage Of Side Guards September 11, 2014
      TweetFrom Boston Magazine: ———- In late July, a Hubway cyclist traveling down Massachusetts Avenue in the South End was hit by a city-contracted trash truck as it went to make a right hand turn onto Columbus Avenue. The cyclist survived the accident, … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • David Watson Steps Down As Executive Director Of MassBike September 11, 2014
      TweetWhile I am very sad to see David go, he did an excellent job at MassBike for many years, its great that he is moving on to other challenges. From MassBike: Today our Executive Director, David Watson, announced that he … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Mayor Walsh Proposes A Truck Safety Bill For Cyclists September 9, 2014
      TweetFrom The Boston Cyclists Union: —————- The City of Boston took a big step forward for the country today as Mayor Marty Walsh presented an ordinance to the City Council that will make truck design far safer for pedestrians and … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Big Elm/ QuadCross Weekend! September 9, 2014
      Tweet Photo by Katie Busick This was good weekend at the races for the Cuppow boys. Mike took the win at Big Elm, while Ian (whose tactical nous helped win the race) managed to hold on for third. The course … Continue reading →
      geekhousebikes