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Boston City Council Eyes Charging For Resident Parking

Councilor Michelle Wu wants to impose fees on residential parking in the city of Boston.

Residents soon might have to pay $25 for resident parking.

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.

17 Replies to “Boston City Council Eyes Charging For Resident Parking

  1. I’m just here for the comments by people who cannot even fathom the idea of anything but unrestricted and unlimited free parking in a neighborhood that has very limited on-street parking. Residents of the North End should be appalled that the city hands these permits out like lollipops. Some estimates are that there are 4 times as many North End stickers as actual spots. That’s ludicrous and no one should be ok with that whether you think a fee is warranted or not.

  2. While I agree there may be many more permits issued than spaces available, rationing based on ability to pay is undoubted the worst idea. This move would disproportionately affect lower income residents. Why not make the first permit free and charge for additional ones? The city fails to provide adequate public transportation and the residents pay the price.

  3. I say definitely charge a small fee for the first permit and then charge very high fees for more than one car registered at an address. The fees raised should go toward enforcement!!!!! #fivecarflaherty

    1. Who are you? Someone who just moved in I am born and raised here you probably have no car I could tell you stories when I was growing up here during the blizzard of 1978 but I won’t even go into that so don’t say you think that we should be charged a fee unless you really know what you’re talking about

      1. Lol. I love this tactic to discredit someone. I’m a long time resident who didn’t move to Medford to raise my kids.

  4. We pay enough taxes each year and continues to increase consistently how can you ask residents to pay for parking permits? You have parking lots where the City could give vouchers for a few dollars off to put their cars in one of those lots which could alleviate the parking issue. It seems every time the City makes a decision it cost the tax payers extra money I disagree wholeheartedly.

  5. I live in a different neighborhood in city but parking is same situation. I dont think resident permits should be charged a fee unless you are guaranteed a space. Which you are not. Residents with permits have to ride around and wait for spots and that I dont think a resident should pay for. Its a public street and residents should get first dibs……for free.

    1. Thank you SXM my sentiments exactly. We pay a few but not guaranteed a space really?

  6. I suppose charging for parking is not a new thing for the city or anyone else, but usually a person is guaranteed a space if he is charged. the city should think long and hard concerning charges for stickers especially if there is no guarantee of a space.

  7. Bob,it wont make any difference if they charge a nickel or a hundred dollars for a resident parking permit .We who reside here see the abuse of non residents who park on our streets and the valet parking racket that takes up what should be resident only spots and of course we see the lack of enforcement particularly on the weekends.It drives me insane when I hear supporters who agree with another tax hustle for the city.Why don’t they charge everyone a fee who owns a bicycle?

    1. Well, for one, bicycles don’t take up much space or cause pollution. But more specifically, this has nothing to do with bicycles. Why even bring it up?

  8. Before fees are charged for parking permits, the city or someone should look at who is parking in the lot on Fulton street. I see non resident cars parked and empty spots. Areas like this need to be enforced otherwise corruption will continue.

    1. Fulton Street is not resident only. Those folks pay a pretty hefty monthly fee and are given a pass to get through the gate. If people are in there that don’t belong, that’s on the company that runs the parking lot, not the city.

  9. Then this is a change. Wasn’t like this a few years ago. Only permitted residents. What a shame given our parking shortage. Once again the higher bidder wins.

    1. Not sure that it did change. There was a good size waiting list to get in. This is City owned a concession for spots lost when the Greenway replaced spots under the overpass. Issue with that lot was landlords would get hold of spots and include them in the rental. So slots weren’t getting freed as people left the neighborhood.

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