DCR’s Plan to Expand Curbside Parking Meters Raises Concerns Over Potential Impact on Residential Parking

While details of the plan won’t be unveiled until two public meetings scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 14 and 15, respectively, the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s proposed expansion of curbside parking meters in Metro Boston, including the installation of new meters from Boylston Street to Avenue Louis Pasteur in the Fenway, has already raised concerns that it would like result in the loss of residential parking in that neighborhood.

“We haven’t seen the actual plan from DCR so it’s hard to comment on some aspects of it,” said Matthew Brooks, vice president of the Fenway Civic Association and a West Fenway resident, “but if it entirely goes to metered parking, it will be a significant hardship to residents who aren’t going to have any dedicated on-street parking, which every other public street in Boston has.”

DCR proposes to set the meter rates at $1.25 an hour, which is consistent with its existing parking fees per the agency’s regulations, while pledging “to honor existing municipal overnight resident parking sticker programs, and no revenue will be collected for overnight parking in locations where overnight parking is allowed,” according to a press release. In Boston, additional new meters would be installed between Peterborough and Beacon streets on Park Drive, as well as between Boylston and Newbury streets in Charlesgate East. DCR aims to have them all up and running by spring of 2021, and has committed a significant portion of revenue from the new meters to support the statewide park system.

In the Fenway, the Metropolitan District Commission (now DCR) created Carriage Lane as one of the residential parking areas for residents of Boylston, Fenway and Park Drive in the ‘80s, Brooks said, with one side reserved for residents only while the other side was dedicated to two-hour public parking with a residential-sticker exemption, but how DCR’s latest plan will impact still remains an unknown.

“It depends on how it’s done on Avenue Louis Pasteur,” Brooks said. “In parts of the Fenway by Simmons College, it might encourage more turnover of spaces not used primarily as residential parking.”

Besides the potential loss of residential parking, Brooks is also concerned that DCR’s new metered parking-spaces could suffer a similar fate as the city’s on-street public parking near Fenway Park.

“If DCR has doesn’t have enforcement with fines and aggressive towing, I could see that becoming an issue as well,” Brook said.

The first virtual public meeting on DCR’s curbside parking-meter proposal takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 14, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.; register at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_FIU2de1oQNy8rbl9pttMIg.

The second one takes place on Thursday, Oct. 15, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.; register at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_83ojDBGKT6iAsCt5I1LCog.

Both meetings will be able to accommodate only up to 100 participants.

After the meetings, the presentation will be available for viewing at https://www.mass.gov/dcr​/past-public-meetings.

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