Concerned South Boston citizens gathered in the cafeteria of the Tynan school on Wednesday, July 23rd to discuss a proposed 7 Day Resident Parking Pilot Program for the City Point neighborhood. City Council President Bill Linehan presided over the meeting and also presented the proposal of the pilot program. The proposed 90-day plan is slated to begin in September and expand the current resident-only parking restriction between 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. to seven days. Also on stage was City of Boston Transportation Commissioner James Gillooly.
Council President Bill Linehan did an excellent job mediating the sometimes fiery crowd. He held his ground, spoke honestly, and remained to the point. All the while, he reiterated that this program is a temporary pilot, which is a stepping stone to improving the overall parking situation in Southie – not a solution. He wants to use this program as a trial and create an open conversation for potential ideas. He welcomes all ideas, and continuously encouraged residents to email and speak with him personally if they have suggestions.
The overall consensus seemed to be that the residents at the meeting were not happy with the 7 day parking pilot program or the overall parking situation in Southie. Many had concerns about how the program would affect the neighborhoods outside of City Point, and how much overflow would potentially make other neighborhood parking situations worse. Some felt concerned that they would not be able to have family and visitors from out of town stay with them anymore.
The other main issue presented last night was Southie’s parking situation is in crisis mode. Thanks to overdevelopment – South Boston is now left with more cars than parking spots. In a short amount of time, Southie has grown to include thousands of new residents, new residential development and new restaurants and businesses which has resulted in lack of parking spots. Residents want to see this issue addressed directly; they do not want to simply put a Bandaid over the problem.
- One woman brought up potentially creating more one way streets so there can be room for angled parking in the streets, similar to San Francisco
- Another idea was to build garages throughout the high traffic areas in Southie and build the garages upward so they can hold more cars
- Another resident brought up potentially shortening the length and the amount of bus stops
- One gentleman had numerous pictures of residents who “car jockey,” use Bumper Bullies and park without regard to spacing on the block.
- The idea of changing the street cleaning times in some neighborhoods and eliminating towing was also addressed
- Joann McDevitt of the City Point Neighborhood Association presented the results of an online survey she conducted with 57% opposed to the 7 day day parking pilot program.
- Linehan mentioned talks of a new transportation system underway (bus line) that will service run from Andrew Square to the Waterfront
Standout of the night:
Southie resident Chris Hurld kicked off the meeting and set the tone by keeping it calm and professional. Hurld stressed that resident parking is only “one small part of a larger problem of overdevelopment and frankly, too many cars.” He said, “We are punishing ourselves by not allowing visitors.”
- Hecklers in the back of the room ready to pounce and blame yuppies at every opportunity
- A majority of people left at 7:40pm due to the repetitive nature of comments, concerns and complaints
- At the end of the meeting, a man in the back demanded a vote – “like we do in the unions.” Linehan refused because it wasn’t up for a vote.
- Although Bill Linehan’s initial press release regarding the meeting stated that Councilor Mike Flaherty and State Rep. Nick Collins would be co-hosting the meeting – neither one seemed to be in attendance *EDITOR’S UPDATE: Reprsentatives from both Councilor Flaherty’s and Rep. Collins’ offices were in attendance.
A special thank you to Courtney Sheppeck and Betsey Walsh Frissora for helping to contribute to this piece.