South Boston doesn’t have a parking problem — at least not in the way that neigh­bor­hood offi­cials think it does. Southie politi­cians are blaming waves of new res­i­den­tial build­ings for area grid­lock, but neigh­bor­hood street wars over cov­eted parking spaces don’t have any­thing to do with new build­ings on Broadway or D Street. If any­thing, new devel­op­ment in South Boston, and across the city, is too gen­erous toward cars. If parking is a problem, the answer is to build apart­ments that have no parking at all.

Boston’s obses­sion with parking is leg­endary. A developer’s ability to score a devel­op­ment permit is often directly tied to his will­ing­ness to buy into Boston’s parking ortho­doxy, which views the cre­ation of new on-​​street parkers as a car­dinal sin. But this fever over parking doesn’t have any­thing to do with the way people actu­ally live. Zoning around Boston rou­tinely requires devel­opers to build more parking than res­i­dents actu­ally use. Ducking a fight over devel­op­ment and parking now means over-​​building parking.

Last week was a big one for hyper­ven­ti­lating over parking, even by Boston’s own stan­dards. West Rox­bury res­i­dents beat back a devel­oper who was looking to build 62 apart­ments and 52 parking spots across the street from a com­muter rail stop; one attendee sug­gested turning the entire prop­erty into a parking lot. Savin Hill neigh­bors fretted over a scarcity of parking at a 13-​​unit condo devel­op­ment that’s slated to rise across the street from a Red Line sta­tion — a loca­tion that shouldn’t need any parking at all. And a pair of South Boston politi­cians accused City Hall of flooding the neigh­bor­hood with new cars. They demanded that neigh­bor­hood devel­opers build at least one off-​​street parking spot for every new housing unit.

Read the article at The Boston Globe →