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Editorials

Editorial | Open up, Boston

Build future with new people, not old ideas about parking

You wouldn’t know it from the complicated parking minimums built into Boston zoning rules, but many city residents would rather have a patio, or more square footage in their apartments, than a dedicated space for a car.

These are the people architect Sebastian Mariscal had in mind when he proposed an $10.6 million apartment complex in Allston with 44 units — and just six parking spaces, all for Zipcars. Tenants would agree in their leases not to own vehicles; in return, each unit would get two bicycle spaces and extra storage for the bulky items — like ski gear in summer, beach chairs in winter — that clutter up the average Boston apartment. The lifestyle Mariscal foresees isn’t everyone’s ideal. But it is for some people. It lines up with the city’s stated environmental priorities. It doesn’t add to traffic. And it furthers an emerging vision of Boston — as a dense, growing city where car-free living is a convenience, not a last resort, and where new approaches to urban planning can flourish.

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