“Baby I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.”
Only in 2015 could cheesy pop lyrics be used to describe one of the largest shortcomings of urban life: Parking.
On the surface, the reality of parking is seemingly easy with garages all over town, lots that sit empty for 12-14 hours a day and just about every new development project being required to include parking. It is, in fact, downright dreamy. Those complaining about Boston’s parking situation are categorized as seemingly just another example of Boston’s hilariously long-running culture of sarcasm, pessimism and general discontent with just about everything.
In reality, Boston is saturated with parking SPACE but hardly optimizing it. Even our elected officials have acknowledged that there’s a problem, and not many good solutions, especially in areas that lack adequate public transit systems.
While garages and private lots will charge $20-$60+ per day (not to mention roughly $9-$12/hr if you’re parking less than 2 hours) for you to park there, they sit virtually empty most nights and weekends. Even as I leave SPOT HQ around 6 pm most nights, a glance to the 3 parking lots located within my view appear over half empty, meanwhile during the day these lots are so full that when I come into the office at 10 (did I mention my boss rocks?) that there is hardly ever a SPOT left; so what gives?
Parking is an antiquated industry that has done little until recently to address its biggest issues. While building new designated parking spaces has been capped for a while, it’s not a lack of parking that’s plaguing the city, nor is it a very good idea. We simply need to make the most of our parking inventory.
By allowing individuals, businesses, churches and schools to get in on the action, we can help people find places to park during high demand areas without the need to add a SINGLE new parking structure.
Over 35,000 off street private spaces are currently owned by Boston’s residents (and that is not including those possessed by businesses and other organizations). Coupling access to these SPOT’s with optimized practices and technologies for those looking to (or at least, willing to) pay garage and meter prices there’s an opportunity that together we can all help wake Boston up from this nightmare, so long as we stop living in the daydream that one day it’s just gonna fix itself.