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How important is parking to you?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis July 7, 2013 08:10 PM

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Sadly or not, the majority of working adults still drive to get to and from work, buy groceries and pick up kids after day care.

And if you have a car, you either need a parking space or access to one.

But Boston development planners are already looking ahead to the day where getting in a car to drive somewhere will have the same stigma as lighting up a cigarette. In fact, they seemed convinced the end of the auto age is at hand and all that is needed is an edict from City Hall to make it a reality.

"We don't need a parking space for every bedroom in every new building," Peter Meade, head of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, told the Globe.

Grand words, sure, but the real question is who is going to pay the price for such utopian policies?

Our society has been built around the car since the 1950s and the post-war building boom and even in Massachusetts, our public transportation system is marginally functional on a good day.

Moreover, Meade, Boston's development chief, misleads in the way he downplays the city's fairly draconian effort to reduce parking throughout the city.

His quote - the lead one in the story - suggests the Boston is moving away from parking excess, a parking space for every bedroom.

Sure, that sounds reasonable, but that's not really what's being contemplated here.

Instead, city officials are debating whether there should be a single parking space for every unit, not for every bedroom. All at a time when the dearth of parking is a major issue in neighborhoods across the city and downtown as well.

That's a big difference.

Boston's new requirements would make it a crap shoot whether your condo comes with parking, reducing the ratio of parking spaces to new apartments, homes and condos to .75.

In defending this proposal to force the future to hurry up and get here, Boston's development chief cites the growing number of younger residents, 20-to-35 year, who don't own cars.

But certainly a large chunk of this group are college students, who aren't driving anyway, for the most part.

Of course, the rich won't have to worry about a parking shortage - they can ante up $250,000 to get their own, private Back Bay space.

But what about the rest of us?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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