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Sox fans could pay more than $20 at Brookline meters on game nights

Posted by Brock Parker  July 16, 2010 10:03 AM

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Red Sox fans would have to pay more than $20 to park at some Brookline parking meters on game nights under a proposed rate hike being considered by town officials.

The proposal is part of a series of parking meter changes Brookline’s Transportation Board is considering, including increasing hourly meter rates throughout much of the town, and extending the hours in which motorists must pay to park at a meter in some commercial areas.

The board will hold a hearing on the proposed changes on Sept. 20, and Brookline Transportation Director Todd Kirrane said the goal is to adopt parking meter changes by the end of October.

Red Sox fans who park along Beacon Street near the St. Mary’s T stop and then walk a half-mile to Fenway Park would see the most dramatic increases. Kirrane and Transportation Board member Bill Schwartz suggested that the rates at many metered spots in the areas could be 75 cents an hour for the first two hours and increase to $10 per hour for the third and fourth hours, bringing the total cost to $21.50.

If the Transportation Board approves the proposal, Brookline would need multi-space parking meters to be installed around the St. Mary’s T stop before the variable meter rates could be enacted.

Kirrane said the meters won’t be in place before the end of the current baseball season, but should be ready before the start of the next summer.

“For next season, we’ll have them up and running,” he said.

The proposed rate hike came after some merchants and restaurants, including the Beacon Street Tavern, said business was suffering because their patrons couldn’t find anywhere to park in the area of the St. Mary’s T stop on the night of Red Sox home games.

Schwartz, who co-chaired a Selectmen’s Parking Committee that studied problem, said the increased meter rates would create some turnover in parking spaces for business area.

“But absolutely we can’t throw out that part of it is generating revenue (for the town),” he said.

Current meter rates in the area are 75 cents per hour and the meters shut off at 6 p.m. So a Red Sox fan can park at a metered spot at 4 p.m., pay $1.50, and leave a vehicle at the metered space until well after the game is over. Fees at parking decks and lots around Fenway Park can cost up to $35.

The proposal would extend the hours the meters operate along Beacon Street from St. Mary’s to Hawes streets until 10 p.m. The higher rates would apply to dozens of metered spots along the median of Beacon Street in that area.

Curbside meters in front of the businesses along the same stretch would still charge the regular rates, but would have a two-hour time limit. So if a Red Sox fan parked in a curbside spot at 6 p.m., his vehicle could not stay in the metered spot for more than two hours without being ticketed, Kirrane said.

Although Boston does not charge more for meters around Fenway Park, Brookline would not be the first community to charge higher meter rates around a large stadium. District of Columbia charges more for metered spots around the Washington Nationals’ stadium, which opened in 2008. Meter rates around the park during games are $2 for the first hour, $8 each for the second and third hours, and $2 for the fourth hour.

Brookline’s Transportation Board is also mulling proposals to increase the hourly meter rates throughout much of the town. Kirrane said the board should increase the rates from 75 cents per hour to $1 per hour to bring the town in line with Boston, Somerville and Cambridge. But the board may also ask selectmen to give the Transportation Board the authority to raise some meters up to $2 per hour in areas where demand is high.

The hours in which motorists must pay to park at meters along much of Harvard and Beacon streets, including Coolidge Corner, could also be extended. The meters now shut off at 6 p.m., but the board is considering extending the hours the meters operate until 8 p.m.

Brock Parker can be reached at brock.globe@gmail.com.

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