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Why does a tower on top of New England's largest train station need so much parking?

Urban Liberty ponders all the parking spaces the developer of the proposed mixed-use complex above South Station wants to put in.

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It on top of NE largest train station and bus terminal. What next, they'll ponder as to why Logan airport has so many parking spaces...

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Downtown Boston and the marshy fringes of East Boston are completely different. And MassPort makes the Silver Line free from Logan to downtown because they don't want people driving to and from Logan, in part because there isn't a lot of parking there. And who drives into Boston and parks downtown to take a train or bus out of Boston? That would make no sense. That is the complete opposite of how transportation networks and cities are planned.

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who drives into Boston and parks downtown to take a train or bus out of Boston?

I would, for one. Living north of the city I would love to drive into South Station, park my car for a few days and take a train or bus to NYC or Washington DC. So instead what would you have me do, take the commuter rail - where most stops don't allow overnight parking - to North Station, where I would then have to lug my bags across the street, hop on the Orange or Green line to the Red Line to get to South Station. Or do you want me to drive an extra 30-40 mins to get to the Rte 128 Station (which wouldn't help if I wanted to grab a bus anyway).

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So we should build skyscraper sized parking garages all over the city just so you don't have to take the commuter rail? Who cares if that makes housing harder to find and less affordable, right? Who cares if that creates more pollution? Lets design the city for the people who don't even live in Boston so that they can have ample parking the one time per year they may take a train to DC.

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You can do that now. There are already several garages within a few blocks of South Station, and a lot on top of the bus terminal.

http://www.south-station.net/parking/

Or park at Alewife for $8 a night.

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Boom. There it is right there in Northener's comnent. Nevermind the fact that people that live south and west could suddenly get to, for example, Gloucester and Maine without having to clog up roads North Shore roads.

Now imagine if you could live on the North Shore and work on the South Shore (or vice versa), and not have to drive a traffic-riddled 3-4 hours a day round trip. It would change everything and go a very long way toward fixing our housing problem, too.

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Yes, the North Station-South Station connection would be great. It would solve a lot of problems. More parking spaces just means more cars in the city. More cars in the city means less space for housing, more traffic, more pollution and more pedestrians killed. These are all issues the Walsh administration has claimed are priorities but actions speak louder than words.

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SS is literally a block off a major highway... Seems like if anything letting people hop right off and park there, and then take the train, or busses, or red line, or silver line, would actually reduce city-level congestion. I mean, you could theoretically get right off 93 and park there, and then walk or silver line to the waterfront, and not contribute to the hellacious traffic and pollution issues in that area.

Eliminating cars is a great long term goal but until the alternatives work better for more people, smart, targeted building of parking where it's less impactful of city dwellers isn't the worst thing ever.

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People who live in Boston, are taking the train out of Boston, and have a bunch of luggage? Trying to haul three suitcases and a kid in a travel carseat on the green line and then walking to SS sounds like hell on earth.

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So we should reduce our housing stock and add on thousands of dollars per unit to buildings to provide more parking for people too lazy to carry a suitcase on the subway on the very rare occasion they take a train?

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Well ideally we should make public transit more convenient and affordable, running more often, and with more direct and simpler connections. Also, not everybody in the city is served by the train.

But yeah in the meanwhile putting a garage on top of a commuting hub isn't the worst idea. The idea that these units were going to be small-a affordable to the middle class and only with the addition of parking will become ridiculously expensive is a fantasy.

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Uber, Lyft, Fasten, Taxis?

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I travelled for YEARS using the MBTA with three children.

You have to THINK about what you pack and how you will move around with it.

Seriously, you must be a truly dim bulb to think that people living in the city without a car can't have kids and can't travel. You are just making stuff up and throwing it against the wall.

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None of those require parking, all of those solve your problem.

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Perhaps the parking spaces are intended to service the surrounding businesses where there isn't sufficient parking? That way they can make a nice profit off selling parking.

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Nonsense.

There's plenty of parking in downtown Boston, within a short radius of South Station, in the numerous garages.

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Funny, we're rapidly approaching a future when the opposite of this is true: only the wealthy will be served by public transit. Certainly that's happening with rapid transit now, with housing prices soaring near any red, green, orange, or blue line stop. Right now, the alternative is slow buses (often with several connections) or expensive commuter rail, but how long until housing prices force everyone who's not rich out to the burbs where the only option is driving?

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They want it because it will make money for them. At the expense of everyone else nearby who has to deal with the effects of increased traffic.

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I'm no longer up on the details of this project, as it's gone through so many iterations over the years, but isn't there a large residential component? I would imagine many of them will want to own a car, even if it mostly goes unused. Need a place to store those vehicles. I'm not a fan of adding parking downtown for commuters or other visitors, but some of the people who actually live there may need a spot.

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They're requesting more spaces than are required, while sitting literally on top of the biggest transit hub in New England.

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Note that only 70 parking spaces are extra beyond those required by Boston for the residences. All the rest are deeded to the units to be built.

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I believe the entirety of the South Station expansion plan includes specs for a hotel and office space. I'm pretty sure there won't be 900+ executives and/or room renters exclusively taking the Red Line or Commuter Rail in.

Otherwise, you'd be kidding yourself & that brand new space likely wouldn't be fully utilized. Just because South Station may be the destination, it doesn't mean those hotel and/or office-dwelling folk are all connected via rail from their origin.

Maybe that's part of the problem...many looking at South Station's future primarily as an origin location, and not as a destination.

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are likely to use taxis, Uber/Lyft, or public transit rather than having their own cars with them.

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Low wage workers working late shifts at the hotel with no MBTA service after they get off in the middle of the night might, though.

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Not many hotel shifts end after midnight or begin before six in the morn.

Some, to be sure -- but very few.

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What are you basing that comment off of? What data can support they'd "likely" use those services?

Regardless, folks seem to be dismissing the chance of office/hotel/retail workers who already own a car and might travel from zone 9 or 10 areas...maybe someone might not be willing to invest in a monthly pass if they're choosing not to sell their vehicle.

There's a whole spectrum of reasons why people may or may not choose to and/or be able to utilize those services to South Station, as opposed to utilizing a vehicle.

Besides, Commuter Rail expansion certainly supports the influx of people, as would the large parking facility...but what "upgrade" would the Red Line riders get? Are there going to be more trains or improved headways to coincide with this expansion? I can't imagine potential workers (coming from Braintree/Quincy/Ashmont) going to the redeveloped S. Station would have no reservations about commuting via the Red Line, as it's a cr*p show and busting at the seems as it is. Add a couple hundred to the current morning commute, and don't tell me driving doesn't seem like a reasonable option.

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And hotel guests are more likely to arrive in Boston by plane, train, or bus, rather than in their own personal vehicles.

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The Red Line can handle an additional 900 peak commuters much more easily than the highways can handle 900 more cars.

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I'm always shocked by how many visitors in Boston rent a car, even when it's obvious to locals that they wouldn't need one. For example, one of my company's annual conferences is often held at the Renaissance in the Seaport. Despite being literally less than a block from the silver line, and despite being at a conference all day, almost every single attendee rents a car for the week. They pick the rental up at the airport on Monday, park it in the hotel garage, and return it on Friday. In part, I think it's because people from anywhere outside the urban northeast just can't envision a situation in which you don't need a car to get everywhere.

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