Sunday, March 21, 2010

Riverside and Parking, Pt III

If it's better for surrounding neighborhoods to eliminate the park-and-ride spaces, why are nearby residents concerned that the developer create enough parking to satisfy current park-and-ride demand. In fact, why do some want more T parking, enough to satisfy demand on Red Sox game days?

In a word: overflow. Neighbors don't want the traffic that now goes directly to the Riverside lot to start trolling the neighborhood and parking in front of their houses.

But, on-site parking to prevent parking on residential streets is a crude tool with substantial negative consequences. Adding on-site parking limits either or both density and walkability. Without a walkable, human scale, Riverside will be just another sprawly, car-centric, suburban strip mall. Less density means less opportunity for the vitality that people on the street create. And, as surely as night follows day, parking generates traffic.

There are tools, however, that can limit neighborhood parking: residential parking permits, short-duration parking restrictions. I'm not sure that on-street parking should be discouraged on all streets around Riverside. On-street parking slows traffic and creates a buffer between moving traffic and pedestrians on the sidewalk. But, if the neighborhood wants no parking on a street or streets, parking ought to be restricted directly, not indirectly by requiring "enough" spaces on-site.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice to see you posting again Sean. It's nice, once again, to see people of Newton caring only about themselves. Why have a park and ride to promote people using pubic transportation? They don't contribute anything to that area (which I don't really believe), so the heck with them. Let them go somewhere else, preserve the space for the folks in Newton who want to zip along on the roads with no one in their way. Heaven forbid someone parking on a public street in front of a resident's house. Park and rides seem to benefit a larger majority. They get people accustomed to public transportation, something they might stick with. Fortunately, I don't believe the majority of Newton residents act like this. I haven't seen anyone else suggest we charge a toll to people driving through. Maybe the need to pontificate just overrides the ability to care about other things.