An early Earth Day tweet from Logan International Airport recommending that people use its parking garage didn’t land quite as expected on Monday, leading officials to delete the message after a barrage of criticism from transportation advocates and local environmental groups.
“For those traveling, parking at the airport brings you close to your terminal and reduces the impact on the environment,” read the tweet, which was taken down a few hours after it was posted. It included the hashtag “Earth Day,” which falls on Thursday.
Followers of the airport’s account — and many others — were quick to point out that promoting driving to Logan seemed contrary to the essence of Earth Day, a decades-old movement for protecting the environment in ways big and small.
“Boston Logan’s deleted Earth Day tweet is ridiculous greenwashing,” tweeted the Massachusetts Sierra Club, the environmental group’s state chapter.
The group said that the Massachusetts Port Authority, the independent public authority that owns and operates Logan, “needs to do more to reduce traffic, emissions, and air pollution.”
“Single occupancy vehicles do not cut it,” the group wrote.
.@BostonLogan's deleted #EarthDay tweet is ridiculous greenwashing. @Massport needs to do more to reduce traffic, emissions & air pollution. Single occupancy vehicles do not cut it. Electric buses, Red-Blue Connector, Regional Rail & more is needed #mapoli https://t.co/dWCrH6Nmd2 pic.twitter.com/sy541tA0Aa— Massachusetts Sierra Club (@MassSierraClub) April 19, 2021
Others berated airport officials for encouraging driving over public transportation. People heading to the airport can use the MBTA’s Silver and Blue Lines, reducing emissions and easing traffic, they argued.
“Just generally curious what the thought process was that led to their thinking that encouraging driving was somehow good for the planet,” one responder wrote. “The best answer here is they did it out of desperation for parking revenue.”
It costs $38 to park at Logan’s Central Parking garage for up to 24 hours, according to the Massport website. The price then jumps to $57 for parking for one day and between zero to 6 hours; and $76 for one day and between 6 to 24 hours.
Another person was a bit snarkier about the subject, asking, “Did a parking garage write this?”
“If only there was a more environmentally friendly way to get to and from the airport,” another quipped, in a tweet that included a screenshot of the MBTA’s Blue Line.
Jim Aloisi, the state’s former transportation secretary, called the missive a “failed Earth Day message” in a series of tweets.
“Today’s miscue is a reminder that there’s a lot of work to do if we are going to build a better future,” he wrote. “Those entrusted with power [at Massport] and elsewhere in state government have an obligation to make sustainability actionable and not a talking point.”
In a separate message, Aloisi said deleting the tweet wasn’t enough, and that the agency should issue an apology.
Jarred Johnson, executive director of TransitMatters, a public transportation advocacy group, said the message highlighted the “difficult time we’re going to have reaching our climate and decarbonization goals.”
“Logan Airport is one of the most transit-accessible airports in the country . . . there is no excuse for Massport to be promoting driving to the airport,” he said. “So if they’re unable to reframe the messaging to convince people to embrace more sustainable, efficient modes of transport, we are in trouble.”
In a statement Tuesday, Massport spokeswoman Jennifer Mehigan said that officials decided to remove the tweet after seeing the reaction.
“It was clear the post lacked context. We decided to remove it so we could reassess our messaging going forward,” she said, adding that Massport has “a positive record when it comes to sustainability and reducing our environmental impact.”
Mehigan said the airport is seeing an increase in pick-ups and drop-offs at the airport as travel begins to rebound from sharp declines during the pandemic.
While high-occupancy vehicles such as shuttles and trains are “the best in terms of environmental impact,” parking at the airport is more environmentally friendly than being picked up and dropped off by a relative or ride service, if those vehicles went to or from Logan without a passenger, she said.
“Passengers who park at the airport generate two car trips versus four for pick up/ drop off,” Mehigan said. “We recommend passengers look at all their options before heading to Logan.”