A Better City – Boston, MA

Boston Multimodal Parking Policy Study

The livelihood of Bostonians, the success of businesses, and the health of the environment are adversely affected by free and cheap parking policies. The high demand for parking in Boston makes it difficult for residents to park near their homes and discourages customers from visiting businesses. Moreover, free and cheap parking discourages people from choosing to bicycle or ride public transportation.

Nelson/Nygaard focused on three goals to plan for the future of parking in Boston: enhance community access, promote economic opportunity, and reduce parking demand. We used a data-driven approach to highlight the true cost of Boston’s outdated parking policies and proposed a new framework for parking based on those goals. Looking to best practices and the interconnected effects of parking on businesses and housing, we recommended policies, key initiatives, and action projects to pursue.

Changing Boston’s parking policies requires a revision to existing policies and overarching changes to the way people are accustomed to parking. The final report recommends strategies to curtail inefficient curbside space, support small and large businesses, improve bicycle access and access of other modes, enhance community access, and reduce parking demand.