The idea for charging Boston residents for neighborhood parking stickers is not as outlandish as when you first hear this idea, but I do believe before we start tweaking with these parking stickers we should do a comprehensive parking study citywide.
For instance, Boston’s North End according to city officials has issued 3,602 residential parking permits but has fewer than 2,000 legal spaces to park. Should the city cap permits handed out to neighborhood residents or just allow a situation where there are 1,400 extra vehicles looking for those 2,000 spaces? Same goes for each of the city’s neighborhoods. If you are a South Boston resident with cousins in Savin Hill, you can’t find any parking because your resident sticker is only for South Boston.
City Councilor Michelle Wu reportedly is looking at these resident parking permits and wondering if they should be free or come with a fee. I do like the idea of allowing Boston residents to have the ability to perhaps pay a fee for a citywide resident parking sticker. I currently have an East Boston sticker but when I visit the North End or Charlestown, I get treated like as an out-of-towner. The same is true for any Boston resident visiting friends in East Boston.
Parking is not a right found I the Bill of Rights. It is always first come, first serve. I like having a free East Boston parking sticker, but I would gladly pay a nominal fee to park in any Boston neighborhood because I am a citizen of Boston and not just East Boston.
I am concerned that it sounds like a money grab but as long as Boston residents are served, sometimes things come with a cost. Better than parking in an expensive garage, isn’t it.