In the lead editorial on March 31, “Build future with new people, not old ideas about parking,” the editorial board got the headline right but is off-base on the substance. The core problem with parking in Boston has to do with the continued adherence to the 1970s agreement with the federal Environmental Protection Agency, severely limiting construction of new parking spots within the city. That is the old idea that needs to be addressed.
The agreement has many negative consequences. It drives up the cost of parking for residents, businesses, and visitors; increases traffic by forcing drivers to circle endlessly, looking for metered or less-expensive lot parking; and uses public roadways for parking that could be better used for pedestrians, bicyclists, and buses.
There is nothing wrong with Boston residents having cars, particularly if they do not drive them a lot. That should be a personal decision, not one forced by an artificial lack of off-street parking. Negotiate an end to the off-street parking restrictions and everyone would benefit — other than the owners of today’s parking garages, who are the only winners from high parking prices.
As a side benefit, maybe we would not have to read every winter about Boston residents who try to stake a claim to street parking spots they have shoveled.