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Old 02-04-2008, 08:33 PM   #41
ablarc
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Re: Is parking too cheap?

^ Not hard to program the computer to avoid that.
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Old 02-04-2008, 08:34 PM   #42
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Re: Is parking too cheap?

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Would they change in real time? You put in a quarter expecting 10 minutes and it changes up half way through and only gives you 7? Or when you reload another quarter it only gives you 7? Could cause some angry customers.
No. You pay the price, and put the receipt on your dashboard, which shows how much time you bought, not how much you payed for it.
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Old 02-04-2008, 08:42 PM   #43
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Re: Is parking too cheap?

^ These exist all over Paris. An added bonus: you can eliminate painted lines demarcating parking spaces, thereby allowing much more fluid arrangements of cars often more densely packed. The number of cars you can park on a block goes up when spaces aren't sized for the largest cars, but rather for whatever car will fit in the last space vacated.

This also encourages city dwellers to buy smaller cars. A Smart car makes real sense in Paris; you can always find a place.

Forget meters. The ticket dispensing/payment device is usually mounted midblock on a building in Paris.

All very nice, and very easy to get used to.
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Old 02-05-2008, 12:22 AM   #44
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Re: Is parking too cheap?

Church Street in Cambridge has this kind of parking meter, though I don't think it charges variable prices.
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Old 02-05-2008, 06:09 AM   #45
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Re: Is parking too cheap?

They need to build on that abominable parking lot on Church Street.

Think what a row of shops with residential above would do for the environment of that potentially quaint street. They could replace the parking with two underground levels.

Doubtless the regulations limit bulk of a potential development here to an uneconomical level, with the result that the parking lot will remain till the rules are changed.

May never happen, with NIMBYs.
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:23 AM   #46
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Re: Is parking too cheap?

Does anyone know what was there before the parking lot, and how that building came to be demolished?
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:35 AM   #47
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Re: Is parking too cheap?

doesn't newbury street use these parking meters now? I've also seen them around manhattan...
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:11 PM   #48
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Re: Is parking too cheap?

The parking lot on Church Street will never get built on, unless Harvard somehow takes it over. They're the only people who have built anything in the square in the last generation or so.

If I had a magic wand, I'd also target the two-story mini-garage in front of the Harvard Square Hotel for redevelopment. Give the newly pedestrianized street somewhere to lead to.
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Old 02-05-2008, 04:55 PM   #49
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Re: Is parking too cheap?

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The parking lot on Church Street will never get built on, unless Harvard somehow takes it over. They're the only people who have built anything in the square in the last generation or so.
This is true?

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If I had a magic wand, I'd also target the two-story mini-garage in front of the Harvard Square Hotel for redevelopment.
Don't stop there, redevelop the hotel too. And don't forget that much-too-wide sidewalk in front.
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Old 02-06-2008, 08:59 AM   #50
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Re: Is parking too cheap?

hmm... that much too wide sidewalk will pose some challenges. Though I agree it is much to wide stylistically, its often well used thanks to the bus stop. A much smaller sidewalk here could crowd things beyond the point of comfort.
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Old 02-06-2008, 09:32 AM   #51
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Re: Is parking too cheap?

I'd leave the sidewalk alone. Buses 66 and 86 are quite busy.

Church Street was a good example of what you get with sidewalks that are too narrow. Pedestrians spilled into the street to get around the movie theatre's lines. I think the most recent redesign has helped.
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Old 02-06-2008, 10:28 AM   #52
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Re: Is parking too cheap?

I think before you make all of Boston expensive to park, we would have to make mass transit more extensive than it is. B/c to make it a rip off right now, will only increase mass transit use so much. With out improving the T some will just not come in anymore. And contrary to what some Boston residents think, Boston needs its metro area to come into the city every day. And even if all this happens, city streets will allways have a lot of cars on them, we don't live in a thousand year old European village. So if pollution is the concern, lets get legislature to make electric cars, which could be charged by clean renewable enery (wind farms), the cars that can be sold in America. Of course old money (oil) will never let that happen.
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Old 02-06-2008, 12:00 PM   #53
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Re: Is parking too cheap?

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I think before you make all of Boston expensive to park, we would have to make mass transit more extensive than it is.
More extensive in what way? Coverage area (more routes out into suburbia), hours of service (run buses and trains between 1am and 5am), or more frequent service?
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Old 02-06-2008, 02:07 PM   #54
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Re: Is parking too cheap?

Yea that is what I had in mind. Definately have the T run later, build the urban ring, which is kind of like the T version of 128, but a closer radius to Boston, and also extend the T lines further. And maybe up the frequency on the weekends. Obviously that would cost a lot more money for the T to run. Also nimby's would put up a huge fuss. Just think about the Greenbush opposition, then times it by a lot. But really I'm pretty sure all this has to happen. The oil-age will come to an end, lets plan ahead.
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Old 02-06-2008, 02:44 PM   #55
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Re: Is parking too cheap?

OR, you could make parking more expensive first, and that way people in the 'burbs would be more likely to support extended Commuter Rail (See: Hockomock Swamp, Easton) lines and light rail lines. Extended lines would require more trains, and more frequent service on the subway would be a plus (especially after last call... I still don't know why they don't do this).

It would be nice if the commuter rail service went later as well (maybe closer to midnight?) for people commuting from further away- especially to Red Sox games April through October.

If you reduce parking availability first- in this case by raising price and as a result reducing demand- you'll be more likely to gain support for expanded mass transit than you would if you pushed for an increase in mass transit BEFORE you raise parking costs. Keep in mind, Boston has one of the better mass transit systems in the country, and opponents to expansion would likely beat that fact to death.

That being said, this system has worked well in Europe (Particularly London, and from personal experience, Madrid as well) and Boston is one of the best candidates in the U.S. (along with San Francisco) for this type of treatment.
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Old 02-06-2008, 03:24 PM   #56
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Re: Is parking too cheap?

Good points
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Old 02-11-2008, 10:37 AM   #57
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Re: Is parking too cheap?

Always something to do first.

Do we spend so much time arguing about critical path that nothing gets done in the end?
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Old 03-02-2008, 05:17 PM   #58
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Re: Is parking too cheap?

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I think before you make all of Boston expensive to park, we would have to make mass transit more extensive than it is.
I partly agree with this since my own driving behavior is hugely influenced by the MBTA's schedules. Since weekend service on the Orange Line is so infrequent, I drive in on weekends and have to park. This is really pathetic, since I live four stops from Back Bay Station. But errands that take me 90 minutes by car on weekends take over three hours when I have to walk and wait for the Orange Line.

I drive in to downtown every weekday morning because I'm an early morning person and the T doesn't start running until 5:30 AM.

But I've also learned to game the system and take advantage of cheap garages, parking validation by merchants, and underused onstreet parking spots.

Days when I have to pony up $33 to park in Post Office Square for three hours make me think parking is priced appropriately to discourage driving... but then I discover cheap garages like the Winthrop Square one (owned by the city) and realize I'm just parking in the wrong place.

I'd love to see the T just increase frequency on the existing system to make it more usable every day of the week.
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:34 AM   #59
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Re: Is parking too cheap?

Banker & Tradesman - March 30, 2010
Quote:
'Soviet-Style' Parking Cap May Put Ceiling On Boston?s Growth
MCCA?s Common Garage Expansion Would Put City Over Threshold


By Scott Van Voorhis

Banker & Tradesman Columnist

Today

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino may have finally met his match, and I am not talking about a certain trash talking New York developer behind the Filene's fiasco.

Rather, as the mayor pushes corporate expansion in hopes of generating thousands of new jobs, his ambitious agenda is poised to run headlong into a 1970s-era cap on the number of downtown parking spaces.

Menino and his capable crew at City Hall have managed to keep Boston?s skyline growing for years despite the cap, finding ways to stay under the mandated number of spaces.

But the days of creative solutions may soon be coming to an end. Boston?s already notoriously tight downtown parking situation is finally nearing the breaking point ? potentially stifling new corporate growth in the downtown office market at one of the most challenging times in the Hub?s long history.

Leading the pack is a budding proposal by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority to expand a parking garage under Boston Common, which could use up all the remaining downtown parking spaces still left under the cap, creating problems for future development, according to a recent report in the Boston Courant (in the interest of full disclosure, a report I wrote).

?At some point in time, you start to run into the wall,? said David Begelfer, CEO of commercial development association NAIOP. ?The wall is where you run out of these spaces that are required for future growth.?

?You take a look at where we are and where we are going and you realize we have serious problems looming in the near future,? he added.

Deal With The Devil

The culprit here is a top down, Soviet-style bid to save the environment by punishing commuters who drive to work.

In order to comply with the federal Clean Air Act, Boston in the Kevin White years of the 1970s, capped the number of commercial parking spaces allowed downtown.

Parking_SignBy limiting the number of garage and lot spaces to 35,576, backers of the freeze argued it would force people out of their cars and into trains.

?The city made a pact with the devil to deal with this Clean Air Act, and now it?s coming due,? Begelfer warned.

Of course, we know what really happened. The number of cars on the road in Greater Boston has grown exponentially as companies have pushed out from downtown, building sprawling new complexes in the suburbs.

Still, thanks to creative parking cap juggling by city bureaucrats, Boston was able to keep adding to its bejeweled skyline, with the downtown office market growing through the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.

But the Hub?s luck may finally be running out, with the parking freeze rearing its ugly head just as Menino and City Hall scramble to shore up the downtown office market and keep companies from bolting for the suburbs.

Menino just unveiled a deal to shower millions in tax incentives on Liberty Mutual as part of an agreement that will see the big insurer expand its downtown headquarters.

The move, if anything, was a preemptive strike, with Liberty courted aggressively by suburban locales interested in gaining well-paying jobs and oodles of real estate taxes.

But keeping additional companies anchored downtown ? and enticing developers to build new towers as well ? could prove increasingly difficult under the growing tyranny of the parking cap.

Zero Sum Game

For starters, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority is seriously exploring plans to double the size of the garage it owns underneath Boston Common.

That could add another 1,300 spaces to the Boston Common Garage, eating up all of the remaining 800 downtown parking spaces still left under the cap, and then some.

?Certainly if they do expand the Common garage they will exhaust all the spaces,? said former Boston City Council President Larry DiCara, now a partner at NixonPeabody specializing in real estate. ?It?s a zero sum game.?

Sure, maybe more parking spaces in the Common garage will help support additional office development downtown. But for the secretaries and back office workers who will end up using the garage, it is a hike, especially on cold winter mornings, to either the Financial District or the Back Bay.

Still, it is sure to at least serve one purpose ? generating millions for the state convention center authority, which is also weighing an ambitious expansion of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center down in South Boston.

But an even greater long-term threat to the precarious downtown parking situation looms as well.

Downtown Boston has been able to survive all these years under the parking freeze because it sits next door to acres upon acres of surface parking lots along the South Boston waterfront.

Those lots, which don?t fall under the downtown cap, have acted as a safety valve over the years for the Financial District, providing ample and fairly cheap spaces to commuters.

But demand for those spaces is already rising, with two nearby office high-rises, at Fan Pier and Russia Wharf, preparing to open.

More importantly, local developer John Hynes and investment backer Morgan Stanley plan to convert most of the waterfront?s remaining surface lots into condos, stores and offices.

And when that happens, all bets are off.

Maybe, as all the environmental purists have long hoped, Boston?s legions of office workers, no longer able find a parking space in the city, will dump their cars and head to the commuter rail station, laughing off the more-than-occasional no-show train and schedules that are rarely kept.

But my guess is that instead, we?ll get more companies leaving Boston and heading to the suburbs, building bigger and better office complexes, and dumping more traffic on roads that were previously secondary backwaters.

And no, you still won?t be able to find a parking space downtown.
I guess referring to things as 'Soviet-style', 'communist' or 'socialist' is the cool thing to do now.
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Old 03-30-2010, 09:02 AM   #60
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Re: Is parking too cheap?

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But for the secretaries and back office workers who will end up using the garage, it is a hike, especially on cold winter mornings, to either the Financial District or the Back Bay.
Not to mention it's impossible to take a train into the city as the financial district and back bay are so transit deprived. And taking a train is so much more expensive than $20/day parking.
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