THE BOSTON Redevelopment Authority has permitted a 54-unit building in Charlestown with only 43 parking spaces, and the neighborhood appears to be aghast. If the city’s main planning agency doesn’t mandate enough off-street parking for new buildings, current residents may have to compete harder for limited on-street parking. But far from “sticking their heads in the sand,” as one Allston community activist put it, the BRA is right to regulate more lightly — especially when its existing regulations artificially encourage automobile congestion. (I should note here that the BRA and the Rappaport Institute, which I direct, have collaborated on public events and research.)
Minimum-parking requirements are a second wrong that doesn’t make a right. The original wrong is that we’ve never charged automobiles properly for using city streets, either for driving or parking.