Letter to the Editor:
The City of Boston and the BRA need to reconsider their policy that discourages construction of parking spaces within new developments (City wants a cutback on new parking, 7/5/13). As the District 2 City Councilor, I represent some of the most congested neighborhoods in Boston. I hear from constituents on a regular basis that lack of parking affects their quality of life more than other issues. As a resident of South Boston I experience this difficulty on a nightly basis as I circle the blocks around my home looking for a parking spot.
BRA Director Meade cites US census data that the city has seen an increase in Boston residents between the ages of 20 to 35 and that this population is increasingly relying on public transportation and other modes of transportation to travel to and from work. While this is true and we should continue to encourage this practice, it has not translated into fewer cars on our streets. This demographic still have cars, they just don’t all take them to work or use them regularly. This creates less users of a particular space.
Another demographic that finds it difficult to travel without a car are young families. I have six grandchildren who live in Boston. My children, and other young families in my district, tell me that getting the kids to and from school and all their other activities is not feasible on public transit itself. Lugging the kids alone is difficult enough never mind all the sports equipment, carriages, lunch bags etc. that go along with each trip. Discouraging additional parking spaces is making it more difficult for families to stay in my district. This needs to change. We should be creating policies that attract and retain families, not drive them (literally) away.
Additionally, often seniors and retired members of the community do not move their cars after 3:30pm in fear of not finding a spot in a reasonable distance from their homes. Many of these folks are less mobile than they used to be.
Our policies need to be more holistic in nature and not just for target groups who at this present time are interested in living in our neighborhoods, as chair of the Council’s Economic Development Committee I will continue to push for just that. The demographics will change in just a few short years but housing infrastructure will remain the same for decades.
Bill Linehan, District 2 Boston City Councilor