BU removing more than one hundred public parking spaces from Kenmore Square

Boston University has bought three on-campus streets from the city for $11.45 million. Their plan is to turn the roads into a "pedestrian mall" for now, although the university master plan uses some of the space to redevelop and expand science laboratory buildings along the roads.

Signs went up along the roads recently announcing the removal of all public parking on July 30th, which includes over 100 meters and unmetered space for about a dozen handicap-designated vehicles. The information on the signs informed people to call the University's Transportation Department, whose website also contains further information.

According to the FAQ on the website, their survey showed more meters vacant on Beacon St. and Bay State Rd. than total meters on the purchased streets on average. Of course, timing is everything. There's no way the survey was taken during a Red Sox home game, since every meter in all of the compared areas is taken those 81 days of the year. It's also doubtful that the survey was done during the semester either. It's also further doubtful that the survey would have found quite so many empty meters after 6 PM. However, BU's parking office would also like to remind everyone that they have many for-fee parking lots and garages available in the area.

Neighborhoods: 

Topics: 

Free tagging: 

Ad:

Comments

Good timing.

By on

For once, I actually had good timing—those were my go-to streets in grad school when I had to drive over. I'd be in trouble now if I were late for class.

up
Voting closed 0

Typical Boston

By on

It's great that the City held a community process before selling off public land to BU...oh wait.

up
Voting closed 0

Big whoop?

By on

This was announced over a month ago.

It's not like they're losing revenue; all those Red Sox parkers come in after 6pm when the meters close. Neither BU nor the city owes people free parking spaces.

up
Voting closed 0

No negative impact?

By on

“I’m not sure there’s going to be any negative impact,” Riley (aka someone who most definitely has a reserved 24/7 parking space) said.

This is an absurd trend picking up around here. Providence is about to sell Brown University a few streets as well. A one-time, short-sighted cash infusion isn't worth selling off property, especially to institutions that are tax exempt.

up
Voting closed 0

No, but they do owe us traffic mitigation

Bay State Rd. is a great (and surprisingly underused) shortcut around Kenmore Square if you're heading down Comm Ave. (Expletive) move by BU to make that a pedestrian street. There's no reason for that to happen. Those streets already have sidewalks, and they're residential streets. Boston should have told them to screw.

Maybe the city can donate the $11 million to the MBTA's debt service.

up
Voting closed 0

Misread it, Will

By on

Bay State is where they are telling people to park instead. The purchased streets that are being transformed into pedestrian mall space are Cummington Ave, Hinsdale St., and Blandford St. These are the connected streets on the south side of Commonwealth Ave between BU Bridge and Kenmore Square.

up
Voting closed 0

I stand corrected

Those are pretty narrow streets...BU might be better off.

I stand by my point of that $11 million going to the MBTA, though.

up
Voting closed 0

Cummington Street is dangerous

By on

I work on Cummington Street, and it's quite dangerous. It's one-way and has very limited car traffic, so cars come zooming around corners without stopping and use the street as a speedway.

Meanwhile, pedestrians trying to cross at the blind corner of Blandford and Cummington or semi-blind corner of Blandford and Hinsdale can't see if cars are coming or not, and nearly get run over. Other people assume that since there's minimal traffic, they can take their time meandering across the street/unloading their trunk/doing other slowpoke pedestrian things, and nearly get run over by cars who don't think pedestrians belong on such a sleepy street.

Additionally, due to the concentration of science labs in that area, there are always delivery trucks of lab equipment nearby, so cars are zooming around the trucks manically, paying no mention to the fact that they're delivering vats of hazardous chemicals.

Finally, the street is completely deserted late at night and it just feels creepy.

up
Voting closed 0

Never

By on

Had an issue with Kenmore, and I had an apartment (and a car) right across from the dorms there for a year.

Traffic around and along MA Avenue is much, much worse. Kenmore is always moving, and the traffic lights are set up well.

(But yeah, the back streets, alleys and cut offs are nice). Just watch out for the assholes blowing up them the wrong way

up
Voting closed 0

Do they owe us a better B Line?

By on

If we can't drive to our destinations around Kenmore, then do they owe us an improved transit alternative? Should BU (and BC) fund extensive improvements along the B Line that would alleviate traffic light delays and reduce the number of stops between Packard's Corner and Kenmore?

up
Voting closed 0

Goes back to the argument of

Goes back to the argument of making BU and NEU pay property taxes to help improve city/state coffers and the MBTA. At the very least they should remove BU Central because BU doesn't need 3 T stops where you can often walk to each quicker than taking the train.

Peterborough
http://www.bostontipster.com

up
Voting closed 0

Platform Size

By on

I've said it once and I'll say it again: The reason the stops on the B line are 65 feet apart is that the platforms are too tiny for the volume of people that use them.

Have you ever ridden an inbound train expressed through Allston and Griggs? The platform's packed. Imagine if that happened and only one of those stations existed!

up
Voting closed 0

There's a reason why subways

By on

There's a reason why subways were built along busy corridors. Surface transit with on-board fare collection and traffic light delays doesn't have enough capacity.

Unfortunately we're never going to see another wave of wholesale subway expansion across the city, since we can't even build a 7-mile Green Line surface extension on an existing right-of-way for less than a billion dollars, and it takes 30 years to do it (if it happens at all).

As for stop spacing, it's an interesting trade-off. With fewer stops, trains have a faster average speed, so they can carry more people per hour for a given number of tracks or trains. So eliminating stops could mean more people boarding at each train-stop. Or it could mean more frequent service with the same number of trains, so the crowds wouldn't get as big between trains.

Maybe there are some academic papers on the subject.

In any case, the main goal should be reducing station dwell times and traffic light delays. That's what kills the Green Line.

up
Voting closed 0

You can't make a non-existant trolley run faster

By on

Waiting 30 minutes for a green line train that should run every 5 minutes or less is what kills the green line. The posted schedule is a joke.

At least when buses are 30 minutes late 6 show up bumper to bumper (re #39) so you can ascertain they probably left one terminal of their route 5 minutes apart.

With the B line it just doesn't come at all some times.

up
Voting closed 0

Those improvements should happen anyway

By on

Signal priority and station elimination would likely save the MBTA a good chunk of operating costs, for a relatively tiny capital investment.

That's why it'll never happen: too sensible.

up
Voting closed 0

Most students

By on

Hopping on those stops are also fare jumpers. They'll wait at the back doors until the driver has to open the doors to let the back out because of overcrowded trains. They also tend to take the train one stop. On a bad day you can out-walk the B line from Packards to Kenmore. On a good day you can outrun it easily.

Babcock St, Pleasant St., St. Paul St., BU East, and Blandford St. Should ALL be eliminated. And they should throw on another 57 bus or two during peak hours.

3/4 those stops are within 500 feet of each other! AND the 57 runs the same length of road!

Meanwhile last I heard the university and MBTA are looking into putting in another station or two.

up
Voting closed 0

Given the cost of BU

By on

Would the students even notice a surcharge if it meant they all got a T pass for the school year?

up
Voting closed 0

T pass included in tuition

By on

I think it's a great idea -- I had it at my 4-year undergraduate school. The first year it was optional, after that they decided to make it mandatory. Nobody minded; the discount was pretty good too. It was extremely convenient, just to show your ID and board. I never had to pay cash.

up
Voting closed 0

Disagree

By on

As a daily rider of the "B" for the past 4 years, I see very little of this supposed "fare jumping." What I do see is people waving their monthly pass; I also see drivers opening the rear doors and telling people to board, in order to keep things moving. I would surmise that the actual fare evasion rate is in the low single digits. Unfortunately, the MBTA refuses to do an actual study -- probably because the result would show all the moral grandstanding to be baseless.

One way they could quicken trip times (and therefore, reduce operating expenses) would be to open all doors and post fare inspectors in the rear of selected Green Line trains. Those fare inspectors would have the authority to check anyone who steps on the rear door. At first, they could collect statistics about the actual amount of evasion. Then, they could set penalties and fines to a point where the expected value of catching fare evaders resulted in net positive cashflow for the MBTA, balanced against the cost of inspectors. This isn't quite proof-of-payment, but it's a system that could be implemented tomorrow if they wanted.

Second, why would you eliminate those stops but leave BU Central and West? Instead, I would eliminate every other stop from Packard's to Kenmore, and maybe move the remaining ones if needed. E.g. Eliminate Babcock, keep Pleasant, remove St Paul, keep BU West, remove BU Central, keep BU East, remove Blandford.

Even without those changes, you can't outwalk the "B": the average speed is 8 mph. That is outrunnable though.

up
Voting closed 0

Don't need

By on

to tell me.

I think the pay in the front setup is ludicrous, especially with the deign of the Green line trollies. They absolutely should have an open door, trust policy; with random fare checkers and very large fines / civil penalties.

I'd eliminate them because they are literally 500 feet apart.

~1500-2000 feet between stations is not excessive IMO, and leaving two stops for BU would align up a stop about every 1500 feet. But it require getting rid of Central, which they'd raise hell about.

You could probably keep Central and get rid of East instead, but then it's a long haul to Kenmore.

I'll give you back Pleasant St though if you want.

I said on a bad day you can Outwalk. Doesn't happen often, but I remember a few days that I did, door to door. Especially since you can't always be expected to board a green line train. Because of the door policy above!

;p

up
Voting closed 0

I think 400m is more appropriate

By on

But I'm definitely open to anything above the current <200m spacing!

That layout was just a suggestion. Might also consider keeping BU Central and Blandford, or creating a new station between and replacing Central and East. I've been working, slowly, on a more complete analysis of the corridor, which I hope to post someday, maybe by the end of this summer.

up
Voting closed 0

Hey Will, Bay State Road is

By on

Hey Will, Bay State Road is not being closed to traffic. Did you read the article? Bay State Road is mentioned for its supposedly plentiful available parking meters - not because they're closing it to traffic.

up
Voting closed 0

Not to mention.....

BU has removed how many housing units from the public over the years (by buying many..most? of the brownstones in Audubon Circle area). What's a few parking spaces, when nobody but BU students can live in that neighborhood anyway?

up
Voting closed 0

By that logic

By on

Then why turn the meters off at 6 or 8 PM at all anywhere in the city? Why have resident only spaces, as that is just lost revenue if you'd put a 24-hour meter there instead? Yes, why have any parking options around Kenmore at all? You should be forced into a BU-owned lot as soon as you pass the BU Bridge and then walk to Kenmore if you choose to partake in the area's restaurants and businesses and approach by car.

up
Voting closed 0

There's

By on

quite a bit of pay metering around there as is, and very little straight up resident parking. My guess is to stick it to BU kids.

up
Voting closed 0

do you live in Boston?

By on

So... you think residents should set their alarms to go off every 2 hours in the middle of the night to throw quarters in the meter and move their car each time so as not to be fined for feeding the meter? Rest assured, residents get parking tickets. Typically there are 5 to 7 residential stickers issued for every 1 residential parking space. We don't always get to park for free as if it's some sort of parking utopia. Feel better now?

up
Voting closed 0

Indeed, why turn meters off?

By on

The point of turning parking meters off is that its not worthwhile for the city to collect revenue at that point -- a presumption that the market price of parking is too close to zero.

But clearly, that's not the case -- if all those spaces are taken when the meters go free, then those parking spaces have some positive value. So why shouldn't the city collect some revenue?

Perhaps they should set the prices seeking an equilibrium where about 15% of the parking spaces are available at any point in time. This would sharply reduce cruising -- and the traffic congestion that results -- by making it easy to find a parking space when you needed one.

up
Voting closed 0

Remember that Boston makes

By on

Remember that Boston makes parking meters free downtown on Saturdays in December, allegedly to encourage drivers to come into town to shop.

Let's talk when the T is also made free on December Saturdays.

up
Voting closed 0

No more parking!?

By on

So the City of Boston's assault on drivers and working-class people continues, as if it wasn't bad enough that the city removed 71 parking spaces on Mass. Ave. earlier this year for a bike lane, on top of all the other spots they removed, on top of Mayor Menino's new push to remove even more parking spaces in the South End to put out more tables for restaurants that fewer customers are going to be able to get to. It would be one thing if Boston had a state-of-the-art public transit system but we don't. It would be nice if everyone could ride a bicycle but for many people that is simply not an option due to the nature of their jobs. Also the physically disabled and elderly would have a hard time riding around on bikes, especially in dangerous Boston traffic. In the earlier cases, it was the city simply trying to appease a small but vocal minority of bicycle advocates by removing the parking spaces, but unfortunately this time it all points to the greed of Boston University to make more money off people just trying to see a Red Sox game.

up
Voting closed 0

The Mass Ave spaces weren't

By on

The Mass Ave spaces weren't being used by residents. They were primarily being abused by contractors and suburbanites seeking below market rate Symphony and RedSox parking.

As a resident of Boston, I want it to be more difficult for people to drive in order to encourage more walking and other forms of transit. Cars have had free reign to destroy the city at the expense of residents and other forms of transportation for over 50 years. It is about time that some balance was achieved and there be a significant blow-back against the dominance of the automobile.

up
Voting closed 0

We cyclists...

By on

We cyclists would just like to be able to share the road equitably. The roads are meant to serve everyone - pedestrians, cyclists, automobilists, trucks, buses, &c. In my opinion, the city is attempting to make it more equitable.

Re: "It would be nice if everyone could ride a bicycle but for many people that is simply not an option due to the nature of their jobs." - For what types of jobs can someone not bicycle?

Re: "Also the physically disabled and elderly would have a hard time riding around on bikes, especially in dangerous Boston traffic." - I wouldn't advocate EVERYONE on bicycles. That's illogical. Would it work for you to convert more parking spaces to disabled spaces to cater to this audience? Re: "dangerous Boston traffic" - see the point about being equitable.

up
Voting closed 0

Jobs you can't bike to

Jobs with a dress code that's not consistent with bicycling to work, and where there are no onsite changing facilities or showers. (E.g. requiring business dress, or even slacks, ironed shirt, and tie.)

Or if there's nowhere reasonably secure to put a bicycle during the workday.

I'm grateful that I work somewhere where the dress code is pretty casual for most employees, there are showers on-site, and where my employer provides a lockup for employee bicycle parking. Not everyone is so lucky; I know it wasn't always that way for me, either.

up
Voting closed 0

I lived in Paris for awhile

By on

I lived in Paris for awhile and saw people in suits riding bikes (often Velib) to and from work everyday. Now, back in Boston I see people in suits riding Hubways around somewhat regularly. I don't see how bicycles are incompatible with formal wear.

up
Voting closed 0

Fatties

By on

This is America.

Then again, that's a problem that would fix itself, no?

up
Voting closed 0

Suits on bikes

I see people in business attire riding in Boston, but speaking for myself, it doesn't work. I get sweaty even in shorts and a t-shirt. But this is not to say that biking to work doesn't work. Just that some of us need to bring a change of clothes and a towel.

up
Voting closed 0

If I had a million plusses

By on

You'd get them all.

Going to City Hall today at lunchtime (from Somerville, where I work), I could take the red line to park, wait for a green line train to come, get on that, and take it to Govt Center.

This is a non-deterministic trip, due to connection delays.

Instead, I got off at Charles/MGH, grabbed a bike, and rode the final ~2/3rd of a mile to City Hall up Cambridge. It doesn't make my trip 100% deterministic, but it does take a lot of the chance for a delay away. And that .6 mile I'm riding is at least as fast as the red line for another stop, and a new train.

up
Voting closed 0

Re: "It would be nice if

By on

Re: "It would be nice if everyone could ride a bicycle but for many people that is simply not an option due to the nature of their jobs." - For what types of jobs can someone not bicycle?

Not everyone has a nice office job where they go to work and don't leave the office all day. Newspaper reporters, for example, need their cars to get to locations at a moment's notice and not all of those locations are within the city of Boston.

up
Voting closed 0

Re: Assault on Working Class

By on

Re: Assault on Working Class - The reason I started cycling to work was because, when I was un/under-employed, I had a hard time affording a T pass - so it was less expensive for me to bicycle. While many issues come down to class, I don't think parking is one of them. Sincerely, a working class advocate.

up
Voting closed 0

I assume you have free child care?

By on

Most of the people I know who drive every day do it because taking the T made them rack up the late-pickup fees at child care, they had to shell out big bucks to get cabs if they had to go pick up a sick kid on a different bus route than their job at noon when the bus runs once per hour, etc.

Biking is feasible for poorer people if they have relatives watching their kids and only have one job, sure. But this isn't the case for everyone.

Keep in mind that other things play into class standing as well. If a middle-class professional type person can't rush over and get their kid because they biked to work, they can usually convince someone to wait, they can send someone else who isn't on the release list and it's usually fine, etc., because it's assumed that the middle-class person is doing important things and is doing the best s/he can. If a poor person can't get right over, it's assumed that they have transportation problems, aren't taking policies seriously, and then the kid is suddenly in an ambulance to the ER for a routine illness and there's a DCF call made regarding a parent who didn't have transportation when their kid got sick.

up
Voting closed 0

Hey

By on

It's not just bicycle advocates asking for density and a more pedestrian friendly streets.

If the City/State were smart, we'd find a way to institute congestion charges / parking charges and funnel the money back into improvements in public transportation. Better public transportation then negates the need for cars.

If you want to work in the city and live 30-50 miles away, that's fine, but it's on you. It shouldn't be on the residents of the city.

That has nothing to do with bikes, and everything about making the city itself a better place to live, work, and raise a family. Might be an age thing, but the few people I know living in Boston that have a car have it as a luxury, as a way to easily get out of the city.

up
Voting closed 0

What if I want to live 5

By on

What if I want to live 5 miles away, and want to make a trip into Boston which involves heading home after 12:30 AM?

What if I want to take a trip within Boston which takes 5 times as long on public transit as it does driving?

What if I'm travelling with someone who has mobility issues, and there are no accessible T stations in the neighborhood we're heading to?

What if I'm taking a whole bunch of crap with me?

I'd be less annoyed by efforts to remove street-parking if there were off-street paid parking nearby. But in many parts of the city, the streets are it -- the garages don't exist. (Nor should they, if metered parking can meet demand.)

up
Voting closed 0

Choices have consequences

By on

You want to live 5 miles away? Travel late at night? Why does the city have to accomodate your choices at great cost?

WE ARE TALKING KENMORE SQUARE HERE, noticing your "what if disability" rants.

The world is not a mall for your car to visit.

Seriously. Grow up.

up
Voting closed 0

-Called a Cab, most people

By on

-Called a Cab, most people that live in a city are well versed with it. Especially as one of the few late night transportation options.

-Plan a ahead, now you're just complaining about it being a city?

-The Ride. The city also is very generous at having and giving out handicap placards and spaces. Sometimes too much so, as my neighborhood is littered with exclusive roadside handicap parking spots.

-Budget Truck? You can also go to city hall and reserve curb space for moving stuff. Otherwise, why are you carrying around a bunch of stuff in your car? Take a note from George Carlin...

You sure you live in the city? You sound awfully like a suburbanite.

up
Voting closed 0

Working class people?

By on

Um, how many of those park by BU?

Also: cost of a bike $200-300
Cost of a used car $8-10,000 + upkeep

Sounds like you need to haul your "working class" arse back to math class so you can do that "working class" job of yours.

up
Voting closed 0

wake up, junior

By on

That's great that when you're finished with work that you don't need to take your work home with you. However, many people do and it can't always be transported via bike. Maybe when you get a little bit older and acquire some real life experience, you'll realize it's a big world and not everyone is just like you and not everyone's life mirrors yours. Some people have families with little ones who can't be expected to ride around the city of Boston on a bike.

up
Voting closed 0

Speak for yourself

By on

Maybe someday you'll get a little more mature and realize that the rest of us don't want to subsidize your choices. You're welcome to pay your fair share though.

These parking spaces are primarily used by students, and people trying to find free parking for Red Sox games. BU made the right decision.

up
Voting closed 0

Assault?

By on

Uh, what? The bike lane installation is one piece of the city's Complete Streets initiative. Sanjay Sarma gave a nice presentation on this to the BRA's taskforce for parcels 12–15.

Other pieces at Mass Ave/Boylston include Hubway, a new busway on Mass Ave south (during Parcel 12 construction), nearby Zipcar spots, improved pedestrian signals, segregated storm/sewer lines, groundwater recharge, compliant curb-cuts, street furniture and lighting, etc.

http://bostoncompletestreets.org/

up
Voting closed 0

I bike on Mass Ave through

By on

I bike on Mass Ave through Back Bay all the time. Since the removal of parking meters and addition of bike lanes, biking through there is still hideous due to the poorly-designed and maintained roads, and the tiny percentage of parking that was available to nonresidents has been cut in half.

Another major obstacle to biking in Back Bay is a serious lack of bike parking. An unintended consequence of the meter removal is that bike parking is even worse as well, since meters are very convenient for locking bikes.

I'd much rather see more bike posts around the neighborhood, rather than obscenely expensive Hubway stations which have limited utility for most regular cyclists.

up
Voting closed 0

"Assault on working-class"...

By on

What a tired vignette these days. *Everything* is an "assault on the working class", and frankly, of the things that really *are* seriously detrimental to the working class, this is really low on the totem pole.

up
Voting closed 0

but where will people with

By on

but where will people with fake handicap passes park

up
Voting closed 0

And I'd like to remind you...

By on

...that there's a major bus hub, a light rail line, a bike path, AND a major bike lane road, all within a couple hundred feet.

Drop the "I must be able to park anywhere" entitlement complex.

up
Voting closed 0

I'd like to remind you, too

By on

That two of the three Green Lines beyond Kenmore are slow pieces of shit and poor excuses for transit. I often drove to these streets and parked in order to take the Green Line from Kenmore into the rest of the city.

up
Voting closed 0

BU's survey finds what BU wanted it to find

By on

"[BU's] survey showed more meters vacant on Beacon St. and Bay State Rd. than total meters on the purchased streets on average. Of course, timing is everything."

Yeah, that totally set off my weaselly-argument detector.

What does "on average" mean? Is it a time-weighted average, including all the Tuesdays at 8:15 AM in the summer when hardly anyone is looking for a 2 hour metered spot?

They should have analyzed peak periods. Of course they didn't, because that would have been evidence against the conclusion they had made in advance for this so-called study.

up
Voting closed 0

Again

By on

Why should BU be forced to provide free street parking for Red Sox games?

Do tell me why?

up
Voting closed 0

Not at discussion

By on

http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/loaded-question

Yes, and when did I stop beating my wife, right?

If BU is justifying its ownership of the streets (and subsequent removal of public parking) by claiming that there is plenty of other parking available in the area, then they have the burden of supporting that claim.

The current status is to have those 130-140 parking spaces available, particularly during peak and crush usage times like 2PM during the semester and 6 PM when Fenway Park has an event (not always just baseball these days). They are invariably entirely in use, as well as all of Bay State and Beacon St, at those peak and/or crush times. However, BU claims the opposite is true "on average", without any effort to define their averaging method or explain their surveying.

So, since the usage of these meters is extremely time-sensitive (9 PM on a weeknight in December, the meters are relatively empty!), claiming that "on average" people will not even notice the loss of these meters is specious. That is problematic if it's one of the only justifications for allowing them to remove the parking. You are the one arguing they don't need to provide public parking at all...not them. If they simply stated "so what, we don't have to do anything to make it easier for some of you to attend Red Sox games", then you might have a point worth discussing.

up
Voting closed 0

But that's not why they're doing this

By on

BU is justifying their ownership of the streets as a way to provide more space for their students and academic buildings, which completely dominate this area. Remember, BU's campus is cut through by two highways and Commonwealth Avenue -- they barely have a strip of land not invaded by speeding automobiles. The BU "Beach" is a grassy knoll overlooking Storrow Drive.

So they found a clever way to create some campus space without impacting through traffic -- great!

The removal of parking isn't a justification, they're just explaining the details of it. And in any case, why should BU be held hostage to parking spaces? What is your justification for holding parking spaces to be sacrosanct?

up
Voting closed 0

Thus we reach the root of the problem

By on

Look at a map of Boston and you'll see a pencil-thin rail of land connecting Allston-Brighton to the rest of the city. It is land that the city of Boston bought from Brookline to keep its borders singular and intact. Boston University has since taken every inch of it that it can. I'm sure BU would be happier if the B Line were submerged and Commonwealth Avenue between Packard's Corner and Kenmore were turned into a long giant quad forcing drivers to go down Storrow (if they don't buy that too) or drive through Brookline to Harvard St just to get to Allston.

Sure, that's a bit of hyperbole, but look at all of the developments being discussed. BU is an urban university that basically refuses to acknowledge that it is part of the city...by simply buying the city out from around it.

My argument for maintaining public parking in Kenmore is the same as maintaining any public parking in this city: convenient access. This move will reduce the convenience and access to Kenmore Square...which is apparently only worth $11+ million to the city.

And I'm not going to discuss loaded questions on terms like "being held hostage". There is no gun to BU's head to buy the street in the first place. They chose to take on the parking as a factor of choosing to buy the public street from the city's resources. They then justified the parking removal by claiming the city provides plenty of parking elsewhere "on average". Again, I don't have support any claim of sacrosanctness since I have not made any claim of it. I also wouldn't expect you to justify removing all of the public parking and meters from a 1 mile radius around Kenmore. However, BU has made a claim that removing the parking will have no effect and their support of it is absurd on face value.

up
Voting closed 0

To be fair, I think everyone

By on

To be fair, I think everyone would be happier if the B line were submerged. Everyone.

up
Voting closed 0

So you want free parking

By on

That "pencil-thin" rail of land is just a political artifact, not a geographical one. And it has a superhighway, a "parkway" and a major arterial road running along it, so there's not exactly a lack of automobile capacity.

Your claim essentially boils down to the fact that you want more free parking spaces for Kenmore Square. If you wanted convenience, then you would support meeting the demand by pricing street parking in Kenmore Square appropriately, in order to target ~15% availability.

This whole discussion is a perfect example of why I say street parking is pernicious. It leads people to believe that they are entitled to land they don't own; and then they try to block development whenever it might threaten their perceived "ownership" rights.

up
Voting closed 0

This is why you are wrong

By on

This whole discussion is a perfect example of why I say street parking is pernicious. It leads people to believe that they are entitled to land they don't own; and then they try to block development whenever it might threaten their perceived "ownership" rights.

We did own it. That's why they are called public streets...well, until the "public" sold them to a private institution, anyways.

up
Voting closed 0

Nonsense

By on

We own them and we have established rules of their use so that everyone can use them equally and without destruction. To argue that we don't own them because we can't do whatever any one wants with them is incongruous. We own them as a group...or we did until "we" sold them.

up
Voting closed 0

Commons vs anti-commons

By on

The case where any number of private individuals can step in and exert ownership rights over land -- for example, by blocking redevelopment of parking spaces -- is called the anti-commons.

Public properties, like streets, are not an anti-commons.

Second, you seem to be objecting to the whole notion of selling public property to private owners. That would be strange!

Historical tidbit: this is not the first time BU has purchased a public way. The land where Marsh Chapel stands was once a street.

up
Voting closed 0

Automobile access

By on

You can't access that segment of Boston between Packard's Corner and Kenmore from the Pike, so it's out of the equation. Westbound Storrow also can't access it any more than someone on the Pike. If you live in Brighton or Lower Allston, you also access it much faster locally than by going all the way out to the northern most parts of Allston to get on Soldiers Field Road or Storrow to come east...just to get off of Storrow to come back into city traffic.

About the only other option you have from Brighton is to travel down Beacon through Brookline...and then, you are cut off from that area of Boston by the Pike being in the way and a number of one-way routes surrounding the BU Bridge such that you would have been better off sticking to Comm Ave in the first place. Plus, if you travel too far east in Brookline, you run into the Muddy River and Longwood area which is almost interminably at maximum capacity regardless of the time of day or week. Look at a map some time and realize that there are few roads that run E-W through Brookline that connect Brighton to the rest of the city.

That segment of Comm Ave from Packard's Corner to Kenmore is extremely relevant in connecting locals in Brighton and Lower Allston to destinations in Kenmore Square and Fenway as well as getting to Mass Ave to go anywhere in the South End.

up
Voting closed 0

Relevance?

By on

Nobody is suggesting the shut down of Comm Ave. Cummington is a small side street.

up
Voting closed 0

Full circle

By on

Yes, a side street full of parking at the terminal end of what I just established was a major access road for much of the western spur of the city to that area. Now, parking for those travelers is further into the square, locked into portions of the traffic better accessed from the east than the west, and in less accessible portions of Brookline. The replacement for these parking spaces is less convenient, less accessible, and ultimately not worth the money the city got. That's what this comes down to for those of us who aren't BU.

Was this a good deal for the city of Boston? We get what? Some money (I'm betting it's already gone into a deficient budget somewhere). We lose what? Parking around Kenmore forever. I don't see how WE benefit from this.

up
Voting closed 0

The unspoken assumption

By on

That the city of Boston should act to preserve parking spaces at all costs. Why? What is the overriding public need to provision free or cheap parking spaces?

up
Voting closed 0

Not at all

By on

No it does not assume that. I provided tons of evidence of value that those parking spaces hold. Not only do the meters and tickets represent revenue directly, but as an addition, if something were to be built on it replacing the street, then the land itself has real estate value. None of that assumes parking spaces must be preserved at any cost. That is all real value that the streets had to the city as-is.

The exchange was all of that value for $11.45M in a one-time payment to the city. Not accounting inflation or possible interest earned, in 18 years the city will be losing on that payment because it could have easily made as much from the meters and parking tickets (even if we assume that the city would keep them on at their current $1.25/hr and 12-hour time frame). Purely monetarily, it was a bad deal for anyone looking more than 15 years into the future.

But there is intrinsic value to those spaces as far as convenience and access around Kenmore that has now been lost. I don't know why you keep acting as if it is necessary to frame me as thinking that value is immeasurably large. It isn't and I'm tired of you framing your questions as if it is or that I should defend it as such. But it isn't negligible either, so I don't know why you keep arguing that something of value wasn't lost here...except that YOU see no value in parking there....then again, as you say, big whoop for you.

up
Voting closed 0

Kaz, you come off a bit crazy here

When you speak of convenient access, for whom is it convenient? It's arguably not convenient to the university and students to have part of the campus serve as a parking lot for suburban Redsox fans. If you are going to discuss convenience, you need to make the case that it isn't convenience for one at the expense of convenience for others.

up
Voting closed 0

With a foot in both pools

By on

Not at all. It is convenient for both groups (and others too). As a grad student, I often had times when I stayed late in my building on Cummington St and wanted my car because of the MBTA's reduced night schedule. There were times when I would need to stop by the lab on a weekend too. I used those meters FREQUENTLY during my time at BU, and I was nowhere near the only one. Yet, the predominant use by BU students/faculty/employees is 9A-5P on weekdays when classes are scheduled, etc.

I have friends who have used those spaces to go to Kenmore's restaurants and hang out on Landsdowne Street or even to use the MBTA from Kenmore towards downtown. Public parking around Fenway even when there is no game is limited, which is why that survey finding Beacon and Bay State to have tons of room is so absurd to me as someone who has parked in that area frequently for the past decade. When there is a game, all of the meters near the ballpark are tow zones, pushing public parking even further away from the ballpark. Yet those games are exactly when BU students predominantly aren't in class or doing research.

So, it's convenient for BOTH groups at different times of the day, honestly. And I've been in both of those groups at different times over the past 13 years to see it from both sides. There were few times when I felt that one group's convenience was at the expense of the others and it was usually weekday afternoon games.

up
Voting closed 0

Take that up with BU

By on

If you are coming in to work off hours as a BU student or employee, they should open some parking for you.

If you have to point out that experiments need 24/7 tending and won't get that or won't get done, and that BU can't bill the funding agencies because of that, they might listen.

If they don't, consequences?

up
Voting closed 0

Read the linked FAQ

By on

BU would gladly give any researcher/faculty/student needing parking access the ability to park in one of their lots...for a per-hour price. Or they tell you to go park at a meter somewhere else in the city, like Bay State Road.

up
Voting closed 0

Then stop work off hours

By on

That simple. If they can't deal with it, tough. It shouldn't be the City of Boston's problem.

up
Voting closed 0

I don't know, I could preach

By on

I don't know, I could preach a sermon about building the church for Easter Sunday, but I suspect it wouldn't be heard.

I do want to ask if you're forgetting the City of Boston sold the streets to them for an infusion of cash? It's not like BU just up and announced this.

up
Voting closed 0

I haven't

By on

That infusion of cash equates to about 18 years of meter revenue.

$1.25/hr/meter * 12 hr/day * 300 days/yr * 140 meters = $630,000/yr
$11,450,000 / $630,000/yr = 18.2 years

I am not including parking ticket revenue to offset whatever revenue is lost from meters being unused.

That's better than some of the recent selling out of public resources that cities like Chicago and New York have done (if you haven't read about Chicago selling its parking meter revenue to a private company, you should; it's a sad indictment of where this country is heading). But as I said, this isn't as bad as all that...but it's a bad sign too.

I'm not happy that the city sold the streets to them, but I'm also not happy that BU has decided to remove even more parking from the area (while gleefully telling you to pay to use their lots if you're an employee/student or pay $40 to park there if you're going to a Red Sox game).

up
Voting closed 0

BU's Granby Street and

By on

BU's Granby Street and Kenmore (549 Comm Ave) lots are open to the paying public.

What happens when there's no attendant, after 9 pm weekdays, Saturday afternoons/nights, and all day Sundays? Is it free parking?

What about in BU's permit-only lots off-hours?

Some other colleges allow free parking off-hours even if the signs don't say so (such as MIT, though most of those lots have been closed recently). Others occasionally write tickets you don't have to pay, but generally don't tow if you're not in a reserved spot (Harvard).

up
Voting closed 0

Well...

By on

You might have to eventually pay up...

;)

up
Voting closed 0

How? Harvard hasn't come

By on

How? Harvard hasn't come after me in the years since I got those tickets. They don't have the authority to cause an RMV car non-renewal like a municipal ticket. So what could they do at this point?

up
Voting closed 0

This is unfortunate

By on

I don't know, something about selling public streets (or streets used by the public) to a private, not for profit institution, smells and stinks. Yeah, the City got 11 million or so bucks but what is the ultimate cost of the precedent the City is advertising? Will the City be selling off bits and pieces of the City to, oh, I don't know, whoever has the price? Hey, why don't we sell the Public Garden to the highest bidder? (Oh, wait, by Matthew's logic, the Public Garden really isn't public, so never mind.)

up
Voting closed 0

Huh?

By on

I pointed out that the Public Garden IS public property.

up
Voting closed 0

Sigh.

By on

Nevermind.

up
Voting closed 0

jeezis!

By on

How will I get to the Nickelodeon now??

up
Voting closed 0

Matthew and the rest of the pissed off bikers just don't get it

By on

Everything is personal for you folks, so you miss the big picture.

$11.5 million is a paltry sum, a drop in the bucket.

Why would Menino do this, to plug a hole in the budget?

That's great.

Meanwhile, BU is going to build over the street. Do you geniuses realize how much this is worth to them? Certainly a heck of a lot more than $11.5 million.

But yeah, keep celebrating this victory in your perceived war on automobiles. If you you do eventually grow up, you just might realize how much of a ripoff deals like this are for the residents of the cities served by the governments that make them.

up
Voting closed 0

Cool story, bro!

  1. The big picture is not entirely clear, but I suspect both City Hall and BU have more information than you or I. Some have suggested that it's 18 years of meter fees, but that neglects the time value of money. Without getting overly complex, what this means is that the payment is worth quite a bit more than 18 years of quarters. Then there is the savings on maintenance and enforcement. I suspect this is actually a rather good deal, especially when you consider that these streets don't actually go anywhere.
  2. There may be a perceived war on cars, but it's not the cyclist who have that perception. It is a claim made by some drivers who feel threatened by the idea that public resources are for all of us.
  3. and it isn't personal, just logical.
up
Voting closed 0

Why so shrill?

By on

BU has been working on this for 25 years. I wouldn't have minded having them pay more, but it is what it is.

But yes, they are going to build over the street. And that is wonderful for the community. They are going to build over a street which has been a part of Boston University in all but deed for decades. Why does that bother you so much? Why do you feel the need to declare war on walking? Is a parking space so valuable that you need to fight to retain every single one?

up
Voting closed 0

I thought it was free parking for Red Sox fans

By on

How could it be "all but deeded" to BU if it's also a haven for cheap Red Sox fans which is your other dead horse to beat on? It was a public street owned by the city, not BU...patrolled by BTD not BU Parking...plowed by the city, not BU...and anyone could use it and did, not just BU. The community isn't improved by reduced parking options or by new buildings at BU being cobbled together between Comm Ave and the Pike. I wouldn't be surprised to see that staircase to Beacon St removed meaning nobody will even use the pedestrian mall except the few hundred people working in the BU buildings...until they build over it and they just go from building to building.

And what kind of nonsense are you on about a "war on walking". You could walk both sides of the road as it currently exists and people claiming it was dangerous to cross are absurdly overstating the case as I've never heard of anyone getting hit on that road in the past 10+ years.

BU owns over 90% of the land surrounding Comm Ave between Kenmore and Packards Corner. It's a part of BU in all but deed for decades too. Why shouldn't we sell them that to do with as they please?

up
Voting closed 0

And now

By on

And now the city doesn't need to maintain it anymore. Costs cut.

It will still be open to the public. You're welcome to come visit. You just won't be able to store your vehicle on that curb anymore.

I think you completely underestimate the number of people who work on that street. Especially during the school year, it's absolutely flooded with people -- just like Comm Ave gets. Except it's much smaller than Comm Ave. And most of the right-of-way is currently dedicated to automobiles; even though most of the users are on foot.

I doubt they will close off the staircase to Beacon, but if they do, they will certainly hear about it from the many users.

The "war" rhetoric comes from the shrill troll above and columnists like McGrory who go apeshit whenever a parking space is eliminated. Ask them why they are declaring war, don't ask me.

up
Voting closed 0

a blinding singular obsessession

By on

You must be loads of fun at parties...

"You just won't be able to store your vehicle on that curb anymore..."

And you're also the King of Red Herrings.

up
Voting closed 0

Parking Obsession Syndrome

By on

n. The irrational, unreasonable and baseless demand that every organization and governmental body must provide excessive quantities of subsidized free or cheap parking everywhere, regardless of context or goals.

Examples of individuals with Parking Obsession Syndrome abound in the United States, where said individuals threaten development and progress in the name of protecting and expanding access to free or underpriced parking spaces. According to their ideology, no benefit is too great to be worth the loss of a single free parking space.

In 99 out of 100 cases, they typically get their way by applying extreme political pressure. In the one case where an organization decides that they would rather use their land for something other than parking spaces, the Parking Obsession Syndrome bullies begin whining, crying and demanding at a shrill pitch that their entitlement be fulfilled.

Most parents know that giving in to spoiled behavior on the part of their children is to encourage that same behavior in the future. The same goes for the spoiled behavior of individuals exhibiting Parking Obsession Syndrome.

P.S. Thanks for suggesting the term!

up
Voting closed 0

Cool story bro?

By on

Yep keep talking about bikes and parking spaces and reclaiming stolen lands and gas taxes, because that's definitely what this story is about. You guys are so progressive and understanding and smart.

Meanwhile, back in reality, let's look at $12m fetches:

http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/real_estate/2012...

"Expanding that space would include extending the building over a portion of the street BU now owns, according to the proposal outlined in the institutional master plan the university has filed with the city’s redevelopment authority.

The school’s master plan also proposes eventually adding 50,000 square feet to an existing 84,000 square-foot academic building at the corner of Hinsdale Street and Commonwealth Avenue."

up
Voting closed 0

How many jobs does that represent?

By on

They probably aren't expanding just to expand, even if Silber is a toxic gassbag. There will be employment associated with this ... and benefits for university jobs are typically quite good as they go.

up
Voting closed 0

John Silber?

By on

While he may be a "toxic gassbag [sic]" -- I don't think the 85 year old has much to do with it at this point.

Jobs are good and realistically given that BU owns everything around that street and it doesn't really get you anywhere in regards to being a short cut, I guess the real question is the loss of parking (and we're talking evening ball game/bar/nightclub parking, as during the day it's impossible to get parking there) and the idea of ceding private control of public parts of the city.

It's sort of like making these open, public spaces into commercial malls -- they're "public" spaces where a private entity has the say over whether you can be there or not. You can walk down Bay State Rd and not feel weird but start cutting through behind the main BU buildings by "BU beach" and through Marsh Chapel and you're basically trespassing if they decide they don't like the looks of you (you're not a BU student or you don't look like one).

I think BU got that land for cheap. The city should have held out for more. But in the end I can't imagine ever wanting to walk down Cummington Street again, even for old times' sake.

up
Voting closed 0