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letters | a car-free illusion?

Even with nearby transit options, car keys will be jingling

The Globe blithely assumes that occupants of housing constructed near ample public transit will forgo owning cars, obviating the need for such housing to provide off-street parking for its residents (“Don’t burden car-free residents with cost of parking spots,” Editorial, Oct. 5). However, in a 2010 report, researchers at Northeastern’s Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy found that, in transit-rich neighborhoods, housing prices, income levels and, surprisingly, vehicle ownership all tended to increase.

It would appear that well-off newcomers are attracted by convenient nearby transit but also desire, and can afford, the freedom to drive to the mall, dine on the Cape, visit friends in Sudbury, or vacation in the Berkshires whenever they please and on short notice without having to seek an available rental car. They may value the transit, but many will still hold on to their cars.

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Therefore, unless a neighborhood has a demonstrable surplus of parking for current residential purposes, any new housing had better include sufficient parking to accommodate the realistically anticipated needs of its wealthier occupants so as not to overburden the existing parking supply. Ideological wishful thinking will not save current car-owning residents from the resulting parking shortfalls and the inflated parking costs certain to result.

Stanley Spiegel


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