Back in March of 2017, it was reported in the Boston Globe that 2100 new parking spots would be created via two large projects subsided by Massport and Boston Planning and Development Agency. 1550 of those spots are now available at the newly opened garage called South Boston Waterfront Transportation Center located at 500 D Street. Another garage will be built a few blocks away in the Mayor Raymond Flynn Marine Park to make up 600 more parking spots.
So who exactly are these parking garages for? The residents of South Boston? As we are slowly learning, hardly anyone lives in the Seaport District. So who will be parking there? Well, I’ll tell you who, commuters.
A little history lesson. Back in the day, the waterfront consisted of an abundance of affordable parking lots that catered to out of town commuters looking to drive into Boston but not pay downtown parking rates. You know, the people who use the rest of the neighborhood as a cut-through. Well, now that this part of the neighborhood is developing at a rapid fire pace, a major issue has surfaced – lack of parking for the people working in the new office towers.
So now Massport has built an $85 million giant “transportation center” at D and Summer Street. What is a “transportation center?” It seems to be a parking garage with a wig. According to the Globe, it’s called a transportation center because it would include a shuttle bus stop, possibly a taxi or Uber stand, and a Hubway (Blue Bike) bike-rental station. (What? No, gondola stop?) Also, I bet the word “possibly” used here really means “probably not.”
We are living in a era of car-shaming. If you live in the city, you are encouraged almost daily to give up your cars, take public transportation, walk to work, use bike lanes, support gondolas and the like. Apparently, the out of town commuters are not being fed this rhetoric but in fact being accommodated with large, luxurious parking structures close to their new offices.
You would think planners would have learned from the nightmare that is A Street at rush hour thanks to a 900-plus public parking garage there. There is a long line of cars in the one lane each way every morning and afternoon.
We seem to be getting mixed messages. Do you want us driving cars in the city or not? The city has not changed any infrastructure as far as widening streets and sidewalks, enhancing bike lanes, building gondolas or creating bus lanes. And they are basically encouraging more people from the suburbs to drive into Boston. And this giant parking garage will be filled every day at about $38 a car. Who’s making this money? Is any going back to the city, state or neighborhood?
So brace yourself, Southie. If you think traffic on L St, I St, D St, A St, Farragut Rd, Day Blvd, and Kosciuszko Circle (but not Haul Rd. because that cannot be used by cars) is bad now, it’s about to get a lot worse.