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Seaport District Performance Parking map

First demand-responsive price change made for Seaport parking meters

March 28, 2017

New Urban Mechanics

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New Urban Mechanics

Following up on Boston's parking pilot, meter prices have been lowered to open more parking spaces.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM), the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) and the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) today announced the first demand-responsive price change of the Performance Parking Pilot. A majority of metered hours in the Seaport pilot area will drop to $1.00 an hour, lowered from the pilot's initial $1.50 hourly fee.

"The City began our parking meter pilot to make navigating our streets more efficient and less congested for all drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians," said Mayor Walsh. "This price change is a result of tracking peak parking times, which allows us to make smarter decisions about how much parking should cost. As part of Go Boston 2030, our overall transportation plan, innovative solutions like the Performance Parking Pilot will continue to improve how our residents and visitors travel in Boston."

Rates for approximately 550 metered parking spaces on 40 blocks in the Seaport will change on April 3, 2017. This rate change is based on sensor data that allows the City to monitor average occupancy per meter space and block. High-demand blocks will increase by 50 cents, while lower occupied blocks decrease by 50 cents. The minimum price will be $1 per hour, and the maximum price will be $2 per hour during this phase of the pilot. Prices will vary by four time bands (weekdays 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.12 p.m. - 4 p.m.4 p.m. - 8 p.m. and all day Saturday). Prices will be posted on meters and are available in a searchable map online. Parking on Sunday is and will continue to be free.

With this first price change, over half of the total meter hours in any given week will drop by 50 cents to $1.00 per hour.  A quarter of the total meter hours in the Seaport will stay at the current rate of $1.50 per hour, and another quarter of the total meter hours a week in the Seaport will rise to $2 per hour.

During the Seaport pilot, prices will be adjusted every two months, and will remain consistent in two-month increments. Prices stabilize when occupancy reaches the target of about one space open per block. This is the first demand-responsive pricing change during the pilot, which began in January and will run through the end of 2017.

The end result of the pilot will be to open up more short-term curbside parking opportunities. Over time, the goal is to have each block priced in a way that makes finding a spot easier on all blocks. These rate changes demonstrate that it is easier to find parking on some blocks at different times of day. Frequent visitors to the Seaport are encouraged to check the meter rates posted the Boston.gov website to determine cheaper blocks to park on.

"The goal of Performance Parking is for Boston drivers to park easier and circle less," said Chris Osgood, Chief of Streets. "These new rates are expected to signal to drivers blocks where it's easier to find a parking space, cutting down on the time it takes to find a parking spot and reducing congestion on our streets and emissions in our air."

"Distracted driving was involved in nearly one in five traffic crashes in 2013 according to the CDC," said Gina N. Fiandaca, Commissioner of the Boston Transportation Department. "Up to 30 percent of street traffic is made up of drivers who may be distracted while searching for on-street parking. Varying meter rates to open up parking spaces is expected to cut down on distracted drivers looking for parking and help to achieve Boston's Vision Zero traffic safety goals."

The pilot, which also includes a fixed price change in the Back Bay, will run through the end of 2017, and maps with detailed boundaries and prices of the two pilot areas can be found on Boston.gov. In addition, parking prices will be posted on meters and the City's Park Boston app. Residents are encouraged to share feedback on the pilot through performanceparking@boston.gov.