I’d heard this fact before about why parking in Boston is such a pain, but always meant to post it. Maybe I have. I can’t remember. Basically, the number of parking spaces in Boston has been frozen at 35,556 since 1978. I’m not really sure how this works in the context of new buildings building their own underground lots, but I don’t think that means they close parking lots in other parts of the city. One of the most striking things about this fact is there’s no way a law like this would get passed in this political…climate. Can you imagine how the GOP would respond to this? I’m not going to blame this all on them, though because the Democrats would never suggest such a move.
In 1978 the city froze the number of off-street spaces—garages, private lots, and the like—at 35,556 in the North End, Financial District, Chinatown, Back Bay, and South End neighborhoods. (Southie and Eastie had their own parking freezes later on.) Why? Because we needed to reduce air pollution to comply with the Clean Air Act. Limiting the availability of garage parking was seen as an effective way to control the number of pollution-spewing cars that were traveling into the city. Not a bad strategy, but, predictably, with supply limited and no new competition, the owners of the city’s garages have spent the past 30 years jacking up their prices.