Good city planning should have a research base. Last Sunday’s editorial (“Build future with new people, not old ideas about parking”), while focusing on a matter important to Boston’s future, is largely a collage of wishful thoughts. Every year the city approves residential projects with less parking than required by the zoning code. I am unaware of any research conducted by the Boston Redevelopment Authority or anyone else that studies the benefits and burdens resulting from these projects when they are occupied. It’s regrettable that the editorial did not advocate for the need to carry out research.
In my neighborhood, for example, the city approved a project that contains 20 apartments for seniors of low income — certainly a project that serves a community need. The zoning code required 18 off-street parking spaces, but this requirement was waived. Within days of the occupancy of the project, approximately 15 percent of the on-street parking in the block where the project is located was converted to handicapped spaces.
The writer is a retired city planner.