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Suburbanites need not apply!

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis July 22, 2013 11:08 AM

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Boston is growing again, what with all those downtown Boston luxury condo towers and young hipsters searching for micro apartments on the waterfront.

However, Hub officials are making pretty clear they won't bend over backwards to accommodate suburbanites and their pollution spewing cars. In fact, Boston is considering further lowering the ratio of parking spaces per units, now at an anemic .75 per unit.

Here's my take on this lifted from my weekly Banker & Tradesman column - the whole thing can be found here.

Apparently, Boston isn't interested in luring back all those boring old suburbanites, what with their retro four-wheeled pollution machines and their environmentally burdensome rug rats in tow.

Only footloose and bike-riding hipsters and wealthy empty nesters with a million or two to blow on a deluxe downtown condo need apply.

If you own a car and need something outrageous like a place to park it, then you had better just stay out in the 'burbs where you belong!

Of course, Peter Meade, the Boston development chief who in past professional lives was a radio newsman and then a public relations guru, said nothing of the sort when he began spouting off the other day about reducing the number of parking spaces at new apartment and condo developments.

But sometimes attitude, tone and context can be as telling as wonky policy details.

And Meade and his minions are making pretty clear that in their view, Boston's future lies with all those greenster young'uns who don't own a car - or at least don't register it in more expensive Boston - as well as wealthy empty nesters.

For a city whose momentum is building on the cusp of making a case to the middle-class families that once spurned it, that's a big mistake.

Fighting Words

Given that parking is notoriously scarce in Boston and spots in the fancier neighborhoods like the Back Bay can fetch $200,000, Meade has sparked a furor.

Meade wants the number of parking spaces required when new condo and apartment towers are built, already at a minimal .75 per unit, knocked down further for some projects.

A spokeswoman for Meade said there's no plot to take away parking from city residents, with the reduction in parking spaces being contemplated only for a number of projects near transit hubs.

Still, it's not just the Back Bay we are talking about, with examples of proposals to include a miserly number of parking spaces in new residential developments popping up in South Boston, Charlestown and Brighton.

Yet if the parking brouhaha is roiling residents in Boston?s neighborhoods, it is also sending a pretty chilling message to future potential city residents now living in the suburbs.

You're welcome to live here, but cars just won't cut it in the new Boston.

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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