City councilor: Might be time for parking meters in West Roxbury

City Councilor John Tobin said today he wants a meeting with city transportation officials to look at installing parking meters in the West Roxbury business district along Centre Street.

Tobin said he's hearing from a growing number of merchants who want meters as a way of increasing turnover in spaces. In addition to on-street spaces, the city has two small lots off Centre Street, one behind the post office, the other across from the Dapper O'Neil mural,

City Transportation Commission Tom Tinlin said he'd be willing to meet, but cautioned the city has generally resisted efforts to put meters in outlying business areas to try to keep from driving would-be customers to suburban malls such as the South Shore Plaza, where parking is free. A possibly better solution would be better enforcement of two-hour limits on parking along Centre Street, which would encourage the turnover the merchants seek while not making local shoppers flee to Braintree.

Their discussion took place at a City Council hearing on raising fines for parking violations outside of Boston Proper.



Free tagging: 


uh no...

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I go to the centre st stores becuase parking is so easy. If I had to worry about whether or not I had the right change or had enough money left in the meter, I'd shop somewhere else (Dedham anyone?)

You mean the malls, right?

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Because Dedham Center has meters (except in that large lot between the center and Rte. 1, because apparently walking an extra 100 feet is too much for most shoppers there).

Family Dollar on Bussey and

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Family Dollar on Bussey and all the Rt 1 stores don't have meters.
When I go to Dedham USPS office, I park on the side street. Can't tolerate the wait at WR USPS. Maybe it's everyone standing in line there that's parking too long on Centre. We need a new USPS. Wait.. they just did that.

No thank you

There's always a place to park within a few blocks. Having no meters means having no annoying tickets.

Most people just double park in front of the place they're going anyway.

Right on both counts

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I spend way more time along Centre than in Roslindale (or Hyde Park) and I've never had to park more than a block away from Centre Street.

And yeah, if I had a dollar for every Very Important Person who double parked in front of the Real Deal (the worst being the morons who park in front of the corner where it bulges out), I'd be rich. Ditto for every single time I see the stupid Starbucks 18-wheeler parked in front of the NO STANDING sign in front of the Starbucks (it seems to be there every evening; the truck is bigger than the entire store).

Agreed. Also, how about Starbucks and Dunkins

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using smaller straight job trucks instead of those enormous 18 wheelers (like the one that is in front of the DDs at the corner of Boylston and Tremont most mornings) to make deliveries to their local stores in the first place.

Seems silly

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I'm down Centre St. all the time & there are usually on-street spaces, but there are also plenty of lots where you can park and walk a block or so. I can't see the need for meters. I would love to see them crack down on double-parking, though.

My father used to write

My father used to write tickets on Centre st in W.R. Put a chalk mark on the tire, come back in an hour, if it's still there in the same position, write 'em up.

Short and Long Term Suggestions to Explore

Short and Long Term Suggestions to Explore:

Explore potential short-term solution: By enforcing the 2-hour limit, the city will increase revenue and help address business community parking concerns.
Additionally, the business community could elect to work with city officials to establish a "free parking when you shop or do business program.”

Explore potential long-term solution: Invest in infrastructure, underground parking facility, close off main street to parking; create bikeways, pedestrian walkways, and an outside mall with atrium ceiling.

Happy to discuss. Feel free to contact me,

Is it really the shoppers?

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In Back Bay it's well known that a lot of the meter spots are used by people who work on Newbury Street and Boylston - they move their cars around all day to avoid tix and when they get one it's a cost of doing biz. I doubt too many people out shopping are leaving their cars for hours on end in one spot. Are people parking for free in the street and taking the T into town? I could see that in Rozzie Sq for example or around Forest Hills to save a few bucks on the T parking lots.

Irony of meters

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While I'm not familiar with the specifics of the West Roxbury situation, there have been studies that show, ironically, putting in metered parking has the tendency to make parking more available. People don't squat in spots forever, so they turnover more, so one is more likely to be available for you when you drive by.

Yes...It's simple economics

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If 100 people will pay $2.00 for a slice of pizza...fewer than 85 of those hundred people would pay $2.25.

If the same 100 people would pay $2.25 than the pizza shop would already charge $2.25 and pocket the extra $25 in profit.

The more taxes you add, the fewer services people will use. Parking meters are worse than a simple tax hike because of the hastle it adds, having to find quarters or the frustration of getting a ticket.

Parking Meters will kill the local economy and anger the residents. The dead Centre street will lower real estate values and quality of life in the Parkway. Lower real estate values equals lower tax assements. I would estmate that the average $300k property with a thriving meterless Centre St. would be worth $290k ($10k less) with a partially shuttered metered Centre Street. Boston's tax rate is $12 per thousand, so the lower tax assessments would cost the City an average of $120 per year. So, parking meters are a very bad idea even from a revenue point of view.

Meters are bad for business & bad for everyone.

I disagree.

First off, I have never not driven somewhere because there were parking meters there and I might have to pay 25 cents to get a slice of pizza. The only time I would not go to an area where there are meters are in cases where I might not make it back in time or if I am staying so long where the money really doesn't make it worth it (5/10 hour meters when I can take a chance on a side street).

Parking meters in urban areas are not hassles. The only problem I have with them is that if you run 2 minutes late you have to pay a heavy fine that doesn't really fit the crime.

Unless you know the specifics regarding who parks where in West Roxbury (which I don't think you do and I actually do own property in that area), you have to be speficic on which areas you don't think would benefit.

This is Outrageous!!!

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Businesses want parking meters?!!! Are for real Tobin?...Find me ONE business owner who thinks their customers want to pay for parking in WR!

This is just another tax that will hurt local businesses already struggling in a recession. It’s simple economics…if a business could charge an extra $1 or $0.50 without losing customers, they would. Prices are set to maximize profit. In the real world if you add a cost, you lose customers. If 1 out of 10 people decide to go elsewhere, that’s 10% of their business lost which is huge for struggling shops with mostly fixed costs such as rent.

Parking is NOT a problem...There are always spaces, sometimes not directly in front but on the next block or in the lots. Spaces sometimes aren’t available in front because popular businesses have other customers!!!

If installed, I'll spend the money to affix stickers on each meter that says CITY COUNCILOR JOHN TOBIN'S PARKING METER so residents will know who's bilking them.

Dan H, business owners do want meters. I know some of them.

Not all of them, but there are many areas in town where businesses are in locations where there is no parking close by except for a few spaces in front of the store. Often times these spaces are taken up by merchants from the same area. These workers will park in these areas, and then move them to another street if there is a two hour limit and their co-workers will move back into the other spaces.

These spots should be for customers that want to shop in the stores, not for merchants from down the street who have nowhere to park.

And parking meters were invented in Oklahoma City for this very reason back in the 1930's. Merchants were taking up all the spots in the commercial areas and shoppers did not have anywhere to park. So the meter was invented so people could come in for a period of time (for a cheap price) to park and shop.

Merchants do NOT want meters!

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"You know them"...Who are they?...Names or Businesses?

Merchants from the same area are still going to park...Paying a meter or not. But now the employees will demand raises to cover parking, adding another cost to the businesses at an already difficult time.

Also, many young customers use plastic for EVERYTHING. They rarely have change to feed meters. And older customers won't like the new electronic metering with the stickers on the windows.

Customers will go elsewhere. Centre St. has to compete with Dedham's shopping centers & chain restaurants and other business with off-street parking. It's tough to compete when you force customers to rummage through their car seats and fish through consoles for quarters or risk coming back to a $40 ticket. They will remember hastles like that especially if they get a ticket...and the next time, they might chose to go elsewhere to avoid those hastles.

Just remember...Whenever they tell you it's not about the money...It's about the money.

You have never been to a chamber of commerce meeting

have you? I have actually attended these meetings and have heard complaints from merchants regarding parking problems in many areas of the city. Although I cannot find a link to any Boston articles, here is one from another urban shopping center, Coolidge Corner:

Further, having the meters running is better for business, according to urban planners. Donald Shoup of UCLA , in his book The High Cost of Free Parking argues that free parking is often less parking for shoppers.

Brookline Transportation Board member Peter Furth , who himself is a transportation planner at Northeastern agrees.

“A meter holiday is the worst thing they can do for business,” he said. “On the streets and in the lots of Coolidge Corner, the meters are nearly always full. If you take away the meter fee, employees will park there, or people will stay all day.”

In fact, he said, the reason most folks don’t shop in Coolidge Corner is because they can’t find an open space in which to park.

In W. Roxbury?

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I'd love to hear which businesses in W. Roxbury want metered parking. W. Roxbury isn't exactly Coolidge Corner.

Yes I know two merchants there...

that want metered parking. I'm not saying they all do and probably 99% of them wouldn't even think twice about it, but there are a few newer establishments that don't have enough parking on Centre St. and would like some metered parking.

And you have to put the theory into context. Coolidge Corner does a lot more business than West Roxbury does. I would assume the merchants in West Roxbury would want the same amount of shoppers that Coolidge Corner has as well.

Good Guess but no.

Although I don't know if the parking situation is as bad down that end. I always seem to find a spot behind West on Centre and I think if you knew about Gleason you can park up there.

But I do remember having trouble parking right in front of Brighams when it was there. I'd often somedown Manthorne and park there if I knew I was coming down that way just for Ice Cream.

Coolidge Corner?!!!

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Comparing Coolidge Corner to Centre St is pointless. Beacon St has a major subway/trolley line down the middle and Beacon St and Harvard St. are lined with 5+ story luxury high density residential buildings. The issues are not even close...And a Commuter rail line to South Station is no subway ($4.25 per ride, running every 45 minutes).

There are 2 hour parking rules already in place. THEY DO INFORCE THIS. I've seen parking enforcers writing down plate numbers in the lots behind the USPS. If a merchant is noticing an issue, I'm sure if they dropped a dime, parking enforcement would do what they do best...Check on it and write them up.

There are always spaces, just not always the most convenient spaces. Meters will hurt business. But meters or not, even with 10% fewer customers, those spaces in front of West Garden and The Real Deal are going to occupied because they have other customers.

As far as Chamber of Commerce meetings, I just don't have the time...But comparing WR to other parts of the City or some City Planning Guideline isn't fair to the businesses who have to compete with neighboring shopping centers.

Parking isn't a problem. So find somewhere else to raise your revenue, or better yet, find ways to cut spending. But don't tell us that merchants want meters because nobody IN WEST ROXBURY would buy that.

Ask yourself this Dan...

Why do parking meters exist? What don't you get about the fact that they are put in place to make for more parking in business districts? Sure they wouldn't be ideal for all of Centre St, but there might be places where they could be used. Of course revenue is an added benefit, but do you really thing Tobin is benefitting from the revenue that would be produced?

And Coolidge Corner wouldn't be comparable if everyone used the trolley and didn't drive through there. But go down there some evening or Saturday and then tell me there isn't a parking problem in that area. There are tons of cars that go there to shop, just like there cars that go to Centre St. to shop.

And two hour enforcement only goes so far when merchants play the moving game with their cars. It happens in a lot of those areas. Tobin could probably get you more names than I could.

Besides being ugly, I see no harm in parking meters. And I could care less either way if meters go up or not. But I know for a fact that some merchants want meters. I'm sure many of them don't.

Why do parking meters

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Why do parking meters exist?...REVENUE!!!

If each meter has a car in front of it for 3 hours a day. That's $3. Times 365 per year that's about $1000 per year. Add another 25 - $40 tickets per space per year and your at $2000 per meter per year.

Just drive down Centre and count the spaces on one side and double it for the space on the other side. 5 thousand, 10 thousand 15 thousand. It adds up. It's no small tax. It will kill many businesses.

Even if you think it's half of that, it's still way too much of a burden on the businesses.

I know most people say to themselves...I'll still get my Mess at Comella's. But that tenth person, who got a ticket the last time because he didn't have any quarters...will NOT come back.

You're Coolidge Corner example is absolutely ridiculous. Centre doesn't have foot traffic that a trolley generates. It doesn't have the population density of Beacon and Harvard Street...and while Centre does have a buzz, it doesn't have the buzz of a Coolidge Corner. People aren't parking their cars on Centre St. and jumping on a trolley to Fenway or going to class at BU.

It's also not Brighton Center either. WR's population is not nearly as dense as Brighton, and parking is far more ample. So ample in fact that about 6 years ago, a new massive US post office distribution center was able to take a third of the municipal parking lot, not for post office customers but for "US government use only"...While at the same time, evicting a successful bowling business.

Parking is not a problem. Meters won't help. Any buzz Centre has, will be lost when every third business closes, unable to handle the sharp decline in sales and unable to compete with Dedham.

Read what the urban planners are saying.

And read up on the history of parking meters and why they exist. If they were simply for revenue, then they would have been there already.

Secondly, why would I ever go to a place like upper crust (on Centre St or Coolidge Corner) if I were driving? Those spots in front of both locations are always taken up. At least in Coolidge Corner (that actually has meters) you know the cars have to move every hour and the spaces are still full!

And the Real Deal? Imagine if the police actually ticketed double parkers down there and enforced the law? That would really kill business.

Bottom line Dan is that I know a lot of people down there and many of them do and don't want meters. More importantly, I know about store owners fighting with each others because of one stores workers parking in front of the other stores and then moving their cars before two hours are up onto side streets while other employees move back. The two hour enforcement works about 40% of the time and about 10% of the time when cars are moved every 2.5-3.5 hours.

And do you really think someone would go to Dedham just because finding 25 cents is such a hassle and they can save so much?

Dedham Centre is comparable to Centre St and the meters are there because of the Court House and the fact that is is much easier to enforce meters than it is to enforce 2 hour parking. Now Dedham Centre in my opinion is not that great in terms of shops and food. But the meters are there because people that go into court know they cannot park at the meters because they might not make it out in time. And you know what happens then? There are spaces for me to park to get a slice at the Dedham House of Pizza or coffe and bagel at Cafe Fresh. Take those meters out and I would never go there because there would be no where to park. Center St. in West Roxbury is starting to have the same problem in some areas where businesses with large amounts of employees are starting to take up customer spots. And thats really why meters might be needed.

westie rules!

Parking meters are not the answer to the "parking problem" some businesses in WR are experiencing. More spaces proximate to their businesses is the only solution and yet that's a solution that is not available to them.

Parking meters will cause as many problems as they solve.

Store owners want store clients to be able to park nearby and currently they believe potential customers cannot because of workers, workers at other people's business, are tying up the spaces.

Center street has been revitalized in terms of attracting new business that seems to be doing well, especially eateries. The parking problem is a direct result of the success of the revitalization project (which failed to include increased parking access.)

In addition, the route is used heavily during commuter hours so it's not only difficult to find parking, it can be dangerous to get out of your car once you've parked.


There are indeed many obstacles, like the people crossing in the middle of the street rather than in the crosswalk, drivers getting out of parked cars and the 18-wheeler in the turning lane near Starbucks.

Let's not forget

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The all-day Saturday jam-up at the Zoot's parking lot (I never understand that one: It's not like they have a parking attendant or something there; people, it's a frickin' parking lot, just drive into it instead of stopping to check your e-mail, or whatever it is you're doing), the people double parked at the "bumper" by Real Deal, the people who still haven't gotten used to how the state changed who has the right of way in rotaries by Holy Name (it's been, what, 30 years now?) and the furshlugginer lane markings at LaGrange outbound that mean people from away inevitably gun it and go straight even though they're now in the right-turn lane.

it's an obstacle course!

nothing surprises me anymore. I was going outbound on Center at the LaGrange light in the left hand go-straight lane, when the person in the left turn lane decided to go straight. There was a car on my right that intended to do the same. The truck in the left turn lane ended up having to wait. It's crazy because the traffic moves fast and leaves little time to make necessary adjustments when unexpected driving occurs, which is often.

Driver's Ed

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That's where I learned to drive. After that, nothing surprises you. Taking the road test in Roslindale Square was a breeze.

Bad Idea

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If metered parking is implemented, the side streets near Centre would become clogged with shopper's and worker's cars so they don't have to pay to park.

I walk down Centre street often and always see parking spots. Are merchants really so worried about that one customer who won't shop at their store if there is no parking right in front of it, that they are willing to alienate the rest of the population?

It would be nice if more people left their cars at home and walked to Centre St.

That could be true....

but then you can just enforcing the 2 hour rule on the side streets or have resident permit programs like they have in other parts of the city.

Why start with meters?

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I don't understand why everyone always starts off a discussion on parking problems by talking about installing meters. Rather than spend the money to install meters try starting off by enforcing 2-hour parking. Meters are pretty expensive. Either way, you have to pay a metermaid to check on the cars and write tickets. Especially in an area like Centre Street, where much of the shopping traffic is locals doing their regular rounds, enforcement of the 2-hour rule would probably not affect most people and would quickly weed out those abusing the free parking. If, for some reason, there was still a parking problem (not sure there even is one on Centre Street) then start talking about istalling meters.

Might be time... vote for someone other than Tobin.

I love the fact that there are no meters on Centre Street in both WR and JP. It feels like I'm getting a bargain, and that feels good.

Note to merchants who want this: The first time I get a ticket--the very first time--I will be going elsewhere after that. Even though it is usually more expensive to shop on Centre St. for various things (i.e., hardware, window treatments, etc.), I am committed to helping local merchants instead of big box stores. However, if it costs me a ticket, then I'm not going to be able to support you anymore. The financial margin really is that tight in these economic times, and I'm already paying more to shop at your stores.

Chalking the tires for 2 hours may be the most acceptable of all options, but may affect higher end restaurants who provide a dining experience that can last for some time instead of grabbing a piece of pizza, a sandwich, or pre-packaged tomato sauce.

Note to Police: Please do something about the double parking at Real Deal. It is incredibly dangerous.