By Shirley Leung | Globe Columnist
One of the greatest joys of going to lunch at Sam's on the South Boston Waterfront has been the free parking.
It was a small lot, maybe a dozen spaces, but I could drive up and a few steps later be inside eating oysters and taking in the postcard views. A completely suburban experience in the most exciting part of the city.
My beloved parking went away a few months ago to make way for the construction of high-priced condos. I still go to Sam's, but now I pay for parking at $10 a pop, a bargain by valet standards.
We used to complain about all the wind-swept parking lots in the Seaport District, but these days cranes and gleaming new towers seem to outnumber available parking spaces. Hundreds of spaces have already disappeared since the beginning of the year. Parking fees are going up, and lots are filling up fast, as thousands of new employees move in after the city rebranded the area the Innovation District.
To keep up with the ever-changing landscape, I asked Lauren Grymek, the executive director of the Seaport Transportation Management Association aka my parking guru, to share her cheat sheet on lots and rates.
Her tip: The garages will always be more expensive; open lots are still your best bet at $17 a day. Steep compared to the $10 daily rate they used to be, but those days are long gone.
"It's a sign of progress," said Grymek. "That's what happens when people want restaurants -- a 24-7 neighborhood. We are going to lose some things to get there."
Below, check out a map of parking lots, parking garages, MBTA stops, water taxis, Hubway stands, and Zipcar locations in the Innovation District.