By Lauren Bennett
City Councilor Michelle Wu filed an ordinance this week to add a “modest fee” for resident parking permits across the city, as well as to create a visitor parking pass. Wu has proposed parking permit fees in the past, but nothing has ever come to fruition.
According to a statement Wu released on Twitter, the parking permit system in Boston was last reformed in the 1980s—a period when the population was historically low.
“Boston has grown by over 100,000 residents and our traffic is now the worst in the country,” she said in the statement. “We all bear the cost of this—of longer commute times, extra full days per year spent in the car sitting in traffic, and less time that we are able to spend with family. Our air is dirtier and our children are experiencing asthma at higher levels. These are the costs we should be talking about, and the ones that are absolutely unaffordable in the long term.”
Wu’s proposal is to charge $25 per household for the first permit, and $25 more for each additional car, making it $50 for the second car, $75 for a third, and so on. Seniors, low-income residents, home healthcare aides visiting patients, and Boston Public Schools staff or students would be exempt from this charge, Wu said. Currently, there is no charge or limit for resident permits given out in the city, and Wu said that there has been a 25 percent increase in permits issued over the last 10 years.
The visitor parking pass would cost $10 for a 72-hour spot.
The proposal was introduced at Wednesday’s City Council meeting, where it was assigned to committee, and public hearings will follow.
Wu said on Twitter, “Let’s take a bold, progressive step to align the value of our public streets with a smarter approach to parking management.”