Councilor Michelle Wu wants to impose fees on residential parking in the city of Boston.
During the regular city council meeting, Wu called for a hearing about potentially charging $25 for one residential parking permit. Wu said residents would have to prove their residency, and there would be no limit on how many permits a resident can obtain. If a household gets more than one permit, each one would double in price, meaning a second one would cost $50 and so on.
Currently, residents do not have to pay for parking permits. Boston City Council started questioning this free process last year.
“Our parking system isn’t working,” said Wu.
In 2018, there were 240,000 cars registered in the city and the city has given out more than 100,000 residential stickers.
“We need to have that conversation, as tough as it is. We need to step up, because the traffic is getting worse day by day,” Wu said.
However, some councilors are worried that with living expenses costing so much in Boston already, this would add one more burden to people’s wallets.
“This ordinance places an unnecessary burden on our residents that is inappropriate,” said Councilor Althea Garrison. “This is a slippery slope that would start at $25 or $50 for a parking permit that I am sure would be $100 or $150 in five years.”
Wu said there would be exemptions for seniors and low income residents.
Councilor Tim McCarthy suggested the city charge ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft more as a way to handle the congestion on the streets.
“Surcharge the people who are taking Uber and Lyft everywhere. Surcharge the people who are going from City Hall to the Bostonia across the street in an Uber because it’s raining out,” he said. “Those aren’t the people living in the city of Boston.”
Councilor Michael Flaherty also wants to have a conversation with the MBTA about the amount of bus stops in the city.
“It’s 2019, we do not need a bus stop on every single street corner and they don’t need to be a football field in length. They don’t,” he said. “We could talk about bump outs…that right there would free up hundreds of parking spaces in every single neighborhood.”
Councilor Lydia Edwards said the city needs to look at parking reform overall.
“We can no longer maintain the status quo, we have to change. The question is how are we going to change together,” she said.
Under the current draft of the ordinance, visitor parking would cost $10 and be valid for up to 72 hours.
“Quality of life is being effected. People are feeling it. We don’t have to be trapped in some neighborhoods where you just have to deal with circling around and cause traffic and pollution,” said Wu.
A NorthEndWaterfront.com reader poll last year found our readers are split on their opinion of this fee, with the scales tipping slightly in opposition with 57% of voters saying the permits should continue to be free.