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Boston City Council Considering Fees for Residential Parking Stickers

Boston city councilors are looking to start charging for residential parking stickers, saying that the current parking system is broken because the city currently issues many more parking stickers than actual spaces.

Councilor at-large, Michelle Wu, expressed frustration over the unlimited residential parking stickers the city hands out despite the fact that several neighbors have limited parking. Currently, a resident seeking a sticker does not have to pay but just prove their residency and that their vehicle is registered to City Hall.

“We want to improve the day to day experience,” said Wu at a Committee on Planning, Development and Transportation hearing yesterday.

According to Chris Osgood, chief of streets, transportation, and sanitation, 240,000 cars are registered in the city and the city has given out more than 100,000 residential stickers.

Osgood said the city gets a “tremendous amount of complaints” about non-residents parking in residential areas through the 311 system and the city issues about 190,000 tickets every year on the issue.

Liveable Streets Community Engagement Manager Andrew McFarland suggests the city put a cap on the number of residential parking stickers it hands out.

“Curb space is one of the most valuable resources we have,” he said. “It is not reflected in the way we manage it. We give out more permits than there are available spots.”

McFarland says it is estimated that there are about 1,500 parking spaces in the North End but there are 4,000 permits issued. He said about 30 percent of traffic in the city is from drivers circling around trying to find a spot to park. He also mentioned that people are selling their residential parking stickers on Craigslist, which means that person is most likely parking in a street parking spot and that defeats the purpose of the system.

He also said the city needs to do a census to find out how many parking spots there are in the city.

City Councilor Josh Zakim believes there needs to be more enforcement when people do not follow parking regulations. The council just approved this month an increase in fines for residential parking violators from $40 to $60. It goes into effect Monday.

Officials have said parking stickers could cost anywhere from $25 to $100 a year and the fee would increase if a resident has more than one vehicle.

“This money could go to help for some much needed infrastructure improvements,” said Wu.

Wu said these talks are the very beginning of the process and developing a good parking system is going to take time.

8 Replies to “Boston City Council Considering Fees for Residential Parking Stickers

  1. Charging a fee for parking stickers is long overdue. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Cambridge charges $25.00 a year.

    1. Medford charges $10.00 for one household permit and you get two visitor parking passes. The permit is good for one full year from date of issue. Not all streets require a permit. Residents on my street requested the parking permits because we had unknown cars from all over parking on our street not leaving many spaces for residents..

  2. I agree that this is overdue. I have a resident sticker and would have no problem paying the proposed fees if the money is going towards infrastructure. I am glad to see the increase in fines for residential parking violations as well.

  3. You actually think they will use these fees for the neighborhood? We already pay property and excise tax which is supposed to cover that.

    If they enforced the actual stickers, this wouldn’t be such an issue.

    Doubt they ever do this as the Mayor won’t support it for poorer city residents.

    1. Steve – we still need to address the isssue of 2 1/2 times the number of stickers than actual parking spaces. Charging households (a lot) more for additional vehicles and stricter parking enforcement with higher fines are a good start!

  4. I think it makes total sense to impose a fee. But the bigger question people need to be asking is how can residents guarantee the funds will be reinvested back into our immediate community?

    So I don’t think the debate should be around whether there is a fee. There should be. But eyes wide open as to how the money is spent.

    This would be a good open data project for the City: publish revenues based on zip codes and corresponding infrastructure investment outflows. If it led to less congestion that would be incredible.

  5. Lmfao city hall justs wants u too pay pay pay and the money disappears didn’t they just raise the tix fees 😬 now they want $25 too $100 just say no remember u can vote them out 😉

  6. Some good, some bad. I don’t see an assurance that the money collected goes back to relieve the parking situation. Increased fines seem like the most sensible solution. Plus enforcement. Another fee for resident users (taxpayers) in an already expensive neighborhood. Craigslist abusers will just charge more. Non- resident abusers willl still abuse because the cost of the sticker is better than paid parking. One positive is that multiple car residences will pay more. Another positive is that, hopefully, better parking solutions won’t hit residential taxpayers, some might not own a car.

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