City won't give residential stickers to residents of some new buildings with limited or no parking

CommonWealth takes note of some recent proposals for new residential complexes in the city that will have little or no parking spots for tenants (like this one next to the Ashmont Red Line station), and says the BPDA is taking steps to ensure the residents actually use public transit and not clog up neighboring streets with their cars - such as creating a registry of the buildings so that the city can bar their residents from getting residential parking permits.

Maybe this time the BRA, um, BPDA, has finally fixed its record keeping and so these records of buildings won't simply disappear into the ether like they used to.

Also, this transit-oriented-development stuff only goes so far. Last month, a developer proposed a 72-unit development with 84 parking spaces. Granted, in West Roxbury, but it's right on Washington Street, which is served by the 34 and 34E



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This is not new. Maybe it's

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This is not new. Maybe it's becoming more widespread though which is great. The West Roxbury example is also about as transit-oriented as realistically possible for that part of the city.

Is that fair?

Should a ban on residential stickers apply to all homes within that distance to the station, then? Parking is a problem created by all residents. Street parking is not an entitlement, but access should be equal.

I think that if you were going to pick and choose who gets residential parking, it should be by income. Beacon Hill, Back Bay, South End, Symphony shouldn't have residential parking. If you can afford to rent or buy in that neighborhood and afford a car then you can afford to pay for parking. In those neighborhoods, you are just making it harder for the all the people that work for the residents of these rich neighborhoods. House cleaners and home health aids can't take public transportation from house to house. Waitstaff and security guards work later than the T runs.



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"I think that if you were going to pick and choose who gets residential parking, it should be by income"

Yah that makes no sense at all.


Not by income

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It should be directly charged for by the city and limited in numbers.

Are you an auditor?

If you can afford to rent or buy in that neighborhood and afford a car then you can afford to pay for parking.

Did you poll the residents about their expenditures, or are you guessing?


It's deeper than that

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There are pockets of deep poverty in the South End.

Talk to "United South End Settlements" or "More Than Words" about the communities they serve. I respect your caring, you wouldn't comment if you didn't. But the surface can hide a much more complex story.

I can't speak to the other neighborhoods.


One problem with your argument

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Unless the home health aids or house cleaners live in Beacon Hill, Back Bay, South End or Symphony--they can't get a parking permit for those neighborhoods. And if you take away residential parking permits for people in those neighborhoods, then people who live in places like Villa Victoria and the many subsidized/affordable buildings on Tremont in the South End won't get them either.

The plan is not to deny parking permits for everyone who lives near transit, it is focused on new units that are being built where developers are seeking variances for not having the required amount of parking per unit (.5). Parking spaces in a building = more cost for developers. They would rather seek a variance for not having it and push the parking problems to the neighborhoods.

I don't agree with this idea of some buildings get permits and some don't. It is unfair on its face. Not only that, I doubt it could be enforced properly. Parking permits should not be free and there should be a limit: 1 or 2 per household.


I agree that the south end

I agree that the south end has more income diversity. Limiting the permits per address would be very helpful. But I think it should be per address, rather than household. If roommates are allowed to have more permits than families, it would seem unfair.

If you can afford...

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"If you can afford to rent or buy in that neighborhood and afford a car then you can afford to pay for parking."

I don't live in those neighborhoods you mentioned, but I'm glad you have no problem assuming that everyone who does live there can easily afford another daily/monthly bill to their budget (sarcasm).

Do you have any idea what a reserved parking spot in those areas cost? At just $10 per day, we're talking $300/month, and my assumption is that would be on the absolute low side. Judging by garage rates, it might be $30 a day, or $900 extra per month.


Charge $1000 per year for

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Charge $1000 per year for permit parking in the expensive neighborhoods. Charge a bit less in the outer neighborhoods. That is a great deal because as you pointed out a month of private parking costs about the same. This will free up parking because some people will decide it is not worth it. Use the money to pay for expanded bus lanes, parks, sidewalks etc. If my property taxes are going towards streets I don't use then it should go they other way too. The city of Boston should not be giving away billions of dollars worth of property away for free to only a certain segment of the population(car drivers). No more hand outs. If parking is important to you then pay for it.


So your groceries don't get

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So your groceries don't get trucked on the same roads your taxes are paying for? How about your amazon deliveries? Such a stupid argument. Grow up troll.


Another benefit of charging

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Another benefit of charging for permits is it provides a slight dis-incentive for permit parking expansion. Right now, sure, why not demand it on your block and grab the public resource for yourself, since it's free?

charging for the permits is worse actually.

It would be better to do away with all residential parking than charge for the permits. It is about proportionally priorities. If there was no residential parking in the Back Bay, you could still own a car and park there, you would just have to work much harder to find a space. Perhaps, you could base it on the car value or the axle length. That would be my other pet rant. Class 2 and 3 trucks should not get a residential permit.

I need a car for work, but I spent several years using zip car and finding cheap car rentals. I even found an online travel insurance agency to avoid the expensive rental agency insurance(until I qualified for a credit card that included rental car insurance). The irony is that my family felt so bad for me that my brother gave me his old civic. It is very convenient to have a car but it isn't necessary for many people.

If parking was that expensive then permits would make more sense

24-7 Back Bay parking cost $375 a month. That is relatively cheap, and that's directly related to neighborhood residential parking restrictions. It isn't any different than car insurance. It's part of owning a car. The streets are public property and visitors pay city taxes as well. Residential parking makes it cheaper for the individual to own a car but the cost to the public is too high. Small business suffer because they can't attract customers that don't live nearby.

The point is that if people had to pay more of the real cost of car ownership, less people would own cars. They only reason they can take away the parking from new residents is that they aren't at the hearings as they don't exist yet. There is no other logical reason to target them.


what is the bug that causes double posts?

The city approved these developments without parking spaces....

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....based on being "transit oriented development(s)".

These units were specifically marketed and sold WITHOUT the right to a resident parking sticker. Selling prices should have reflected that restriction.

Allowing the residents of these developments to obtain residents parking permits after the fact reneges on the original deal that was stuck with the neighborhood civic associations and the BRA by the developers.

If we want to rethink this stipulation after the fact, going forward we should also rethink the approval of transit oriented developments.



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is right. This is to appease neighborhoods and I call bullsh*t. Parking on a city street is something you earn by living in a neighborhood longer. So much of the awful architecture going up all over Boston is driven my existing residents fierce protection of "their" public parking. And the city's willingness to cave.

Yes, it's fair

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Developers got to make more profit with more units and less parking, so, it's only fair that the market set the (lower) price for apartments without (much) parking. Tenants get lower rents. Otherwise, landlords could charge the same or more rent as housing with parking. Landlords would charge above market rents because tenants are near transit AND have free on-street parking.

If your life changes and you need a car, you have to move - that's just how low parking minimums work. It's no problem if you are young and accustomed to moving every year during college. This is your housing. Most older people don't need the hassle and simply live in housing with parking.

Not everyone who lives in

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Not everyone who lives in Back Bay and Beacon Hill is rich. There are small basement studios which sell for $250,000.

Are you describing someone

Are you describing someone that is poor? you could be describing me. I have lived in small studios in the city while working 2 jobs. I went through a period in the South End when I could not manage to get my resident permit. Luckily they only checked stickers on Thursdays back then. I remember having an argument with a guy as i was getting out of my car. He said i had to give him my space because i didn't have a sticker so I wasn't a resident. I explained that I was a resident, and I was having trouble getting my sticker. He said but I will get a ticket, when I said no its not Thursday, he was so pissed. It was a challenge even when I had a sticker.

The thing is that i made choices. I chose a job that required a car. I chose to live in the most expensive neighborhoods. I wasn't poor. I could have lived differently. It is even harder today.

Why should new residents not get a parking sticker?

Are you aware

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That the Symphony area has a number of limited equity housing cooperatives that have moderate income people living in them - all founded probably before you were born? Stop assuming everyone in the neighborhood is rich.

Why Stop There?

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Let's make all residents in newly built buildings wear easily identifiable neon vests so the "real" residents of the neighborhood can more easily know who to pelt with rotting vegetables as they walk down the street.


this isn't about the residents

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it's about the process of getting the permit to build it - they got a variance based on people living there not needing the required amount of parking so they didn't have to build the required amount of parking. If the residents later get parking stickers, the rest of the neighborhood that are part of the permitting process that allowed the building to built will pay for it, not the developers. I agree that if the transit oriented sales pitch is just for the permit and not enforced/applied by the owners, then the city and the neighborhood groups should either make it be enforced or stop believing the developers when they bring it up in the permitting process. By the time people are living there, the developers have sold the building and pocketed the profits. Only time to hold them to their promises is in the permitting process.

Street Parking (By Definition)

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Is designed for people living in homes that don't have enough parking. Why should it matter whether that deficient parking is for a house built in 2019 or 1919? Every single person parking on the street chose to live in a property that did not have a parking spot for their car.

Free resident parking is a policy failure no matter how old the buildings are. It's transferring public property to a private individual's use for no value. Either charge for it or get rid of street parking entire to give more bus lanes.

You chose to move to Boston

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Most new residents choose to move to a city that is well known to be extremely provincial.

They love the provincialism in SNL, when they see Boston in the movies, when they talk about the Sawks...then they are surprised to find out the city is actually provincial and unwelcoming to new comers-then they’re shocked and upset. Gentrififying neighborhoods knowingly and willingly and then upset they don’t get a parking spot for their Grand Cherokee.

Boston isn’t going to roll out the ENTIRE red carpet for kids from Ridfgefield CT or Canada, go figure.

Tax Abatements

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Will they get tax abatements?

Will the same "courtesy" be extended to people who have driveways but park on the street with their seventy cars?


That's a great idea. Taking

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That's a great idea. Taking away parking permit rights is a definite hit to your property value, and should be reflected in the tax assessment.

this is so stupid

Instead of designating certain addresses as "no cars allowed" and others as "you can park 10 cars on the street for free if you feel like it" ...

Maybe the city should just charge some money for a resident permit.


The other item to note is there should be no need for a variance

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Under the "reduced" parking plan for the building it still has over 1:1 unit to space ratio. So that's plenty of off street parking. I'm not a fan of minimum parking requirements at all... but if you're going to have them it should be based on the number of apartments, not bedrooms - with each unit getting one space.


Agreed. Charging appropriate

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Agreed. Charging appropriate prices for on-street permits would easily fix this issue, without discriminating against people who live in newer buildings vs older buildings (many of which also have no off-street parking).


This would make a right for some, verboten for others.

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You may not care as long as you are on the right side of that divide, but it wouldn't survive a court case. Amazingly enough you can't have different levels of rights for people who live in the same City. Even if you feel it's the woke-est red-lining ever.

Very Cool!

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Does that mean they also don't have to pay for street snow removal since they won't be storing private vehicles on public land?
It would be nice if this could be tied to adding bus lanes, even at the expense of street parking.

I think this makes no sense.

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I think this makes no sense.

Why are people in a building without off-street parking ineligible for on-street parking permits, while people nearby who have driveways *are* eligible? It's screw-the-newcomers protectionism, which I think is disgusting.

In other words, "Let's make other people use mass transit, so it's easier for me to drive."

What happens if someone doesn't need a car today, but then their situation changes and they need one? For example, they have to take in an elderly or sick relative, or lose their job and can only find another job in the suburbs. We're effectively telling people in this situation that they lose their housing.

Even once the era of cars started, we used to just build buildings with no parking, and people parked on the street. The best neighborhoods of Boston developed naturally this way, with no government interference requiring or banning parking. So long-term residents don't want more competition for off-street parking? Tough. It's a public resource.


What happens if someone doesn

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What happens if someone doesn't need a car today, but then their situation changes and they need one?

A person in that circumstance can rent a parking space from a neighbor, or they can rely on a car sharing or ride sharing service. That happens all the time.

If there is such a space to

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If there is such a space to rent.

Meanwhile there's plenty of street parking sitting there vacant, but it's reserved for the people with driveways (and political clout) who don't need it.

Nobody uses Zipcar or Uber every day to commute from Ashmont to a 128 office park. Taking a relative to the doctor or errands every day in an Uber would get expensive and annoying very quickly.

That's why people buy cars when they live in an outer neighborhood and have frequent trips where transit is difficult or nonexistent.

No, that analogy would be

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No, that analogy would be valid for a place with no off-street parking, but not for a ban on using city services that are available to everyone else.

How would you feel if a building had a no-public-school clause? That would be a good way to get tax revenue without increasing school costs for the city. You knew about it when you moved in. But then your plans change and you have a kid or you marry someone with one -- uh oh..

What if it had a no-transit clause? The Red Line is packed, and existing residents don't want it to get any worse. So they get the T to require an existing-resident-ID. (Think that's ridiculous? Politicians proposed a resident ID for the Independence Avenue entrance to Quincy Adams.) You agree to this because you never take the T today, and it's the best apartment you could find. But later your job moves downtown, or you get a disability and can't drive -- uh oh.

What if there were no laws guaranteeing wheelchair access to the sidewalk, and the city didn't feel like putting curb ramps on a certain block? You knew about it when you moved in. Then one day you need to use a wheelchair -- uh oh.

Correct target?

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On the one hand, if a developer says "we don't need to provide the standard amount of parking because this is transit oriented and no one is going to drive", it would be nice to have some way of enforcing that. On the other hand, is "punishing" the people who live in the new development the way to handle things?

If "nobody who lives here is

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If "nobody who lives here is going to drive" is the argument the developer makes when they sell it to the city, the developer can inform people of that restriction when they're selling the unit. I would imagine this is only going to apply for units yet to come on the market, since the city can barely manage to keep track of who has permits let alone go chasing people down and peeling the stickers off their cars.

If the consumer then buys it knowing there's no parking available, that's fair. People buy property with weird disclosures all the time, this would be no different from "attic room not heated" or "shared driveway with neighbor" or a dozen other things people buy and have to deal with.

no its not the same

It is really just about taking something away from people that aren't there to defend themselves. Parking shouldn't be part of the approval process. It has nothing to do with building safety. Any property with on site parking is more valuable because of it. Neighborhoods should not be allowed to block new development because they might not be able to park in front of their house. Nimbys are going to ruin the community input process. Eventually the housing crisis will get so desperate that all abutters rights will disappear and then high rise crappy beige boxes will cover the city.

Parking is a problem but longtime residents are just as responsible and new residents.

Ha, ha, ha, . . . And this

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Ha, ha, ha, . . . And this from a city that allows spot savers. Truly world class. Ha, ha, ha . . .

Planning, Development and Transportation Committee

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Adam, interested in the back

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Adam, interested in the back story of the BPDA/BRA not keeping records of buildings that arent supposed to have resident stickers?
Havent heard of that before.


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We are fighting over street parking because public transit sucks. Because Marty Walsh doesn't know WTF he is doing. He is keeping his construction union donor base happy - deliriously happy - and the urbanistas worship at the altar of the density god. And has anyone noticed how awful the MBTA is on weekends? Even if you can use the T during the week, you still need a car on weekends.

This is nothing new,

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This is nothing new, residents of Charles River Park can not get residential stickers. In allowing transit oriented development the city needs to preserve diversity of its neighborhoods including low density areas. Not everything should be transit oriented some some people need yards, off street parking and space. People who moved into low density areas farthest away from everything should be allowed to keep such

The city should charge for

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The city should charge for resident parking permits and limit the number of permits per unit. Other cities such as Cambridge charge and so should Boston. Also the city should issue city wide permits as other cities do. As far as parking tickets the price of the ticket should be based on the value of the car. Some people knowingly park illegally figuring the price of the ticket is the price of parking in the city. Since the city already assesses the value of the cars when they issue auto excise bills not additional work would be required