Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Brookline gets market-rate meter rates

Brookline, clearly influenced by a particularly well-reasoned op-ed in the Globe, is considering higher meter rates near St. Mary's place during Red Sox games.

Guess who the higher rates are intended to benefit? Local businesses!

Business owners recognize that the provision of too cheap on-street parking (seventy-five cents an hour compared to game-day $35 off-street parking) means that spaces are occupied by folks spending a few hours over the bridge at Fenway and not across the sidewalk in their shops and restaurants. They understand that there is good parking use -- by people who spend money in their businesses -- and bad parking use -- by people who take advantage of the town's subsidy, but are not customers.

Brookline may take an approach not heretofore discussed on NS&S: start low and end high. They may have a relatively low rate for a couple of hours and then raise the rate substantially. The total cost of parking for a game will be a still-bargain-rate $10.

Start low and end high also has the potential to address a concern that market-rate public parking will put street-side commercial districts at a disadvantage versus competitors with free off-street parking. For a short shopping stay, the difference isn't substantial.

The game-day situation is extreme in terms of the value of the spaces as measured by the cost to park in nearby private lots, the severity of the lack of turnover, and the ability to distinguish the good parking v. the bad parking. But, the fundamentals apply in any commercial district.

Cheap on-street parking hurts businesses.


Anonymous said...

Kudos Sean, you had something in print that others are thinking about 3 years later. I hope you were being facetious about the fact that they were influenced by your thoughts. A little self aggrandizing if you weren't. And I hope you didn't actually lift the idea from someone else to take credit for it years later. Aside from that, the flat statement that cheap on street parking hurts businesses is absurd. They have a very particular situation being close to the ballpark, and you're attempting to globalize the statement. I doubt the business owners would agree if there were no red sox games. This is almost as bad as drawing your other conclusion (from the same article) that density helps business and then trying to apply it to Riverside. Is this the bad logic blog? Are other readers actually going back to your references, 'cause they don't seem to make much sense. Maybe this same article will solve world hunger in the next entry. Sorry, had to say it.

Anonymous said...

Whats more important than raising rates is extended the time.

Right now, for a 7:10pm game, all one has to do is park at 3:55pm. Pay two hours of parking ($1.50) and stay until midnight. Anybody who wants to use the space at 8pm to have dinner is screwed.

I suggest extending meter hours to 8pm year round, and 10pm on game days. Or, take the street cleaning approach. 6pm enforcement from November to March, 8, 9 or 10pm the rest of the year.

Anonymous said...

Brookline is doing both. They are using the new multi-space pay and display meters to extend the time that the meter is in effect to 10pm on home game nights and those that wish to pay only 2 hrs. at a time (local customers) can pay the normal meter rate so there is no negative impact on local businesses. Those that have to buy all 4 hrs. at once (Red Sox fans) will have to pay the elevated rate for the 3rd and 4th hours. This has been used very successfully in Washington DC outside the National's stadium and is part of a larger town-wide review of management of the public parking supply in town.