Last updated on May 16, 2017 at 02:42 pm
Hunting for parking is something of a sport in most major American cities. Boston, with its relatively small size and sometimes confusing maze of one-way streets, can be particularly challenging for parkers.
Praying to the Parking Gods to find a spot sometimes works; most of the time finding a legal metered spot is just sheer luck, especially if you’re in town for a popular event like a Red Sox game.
Stop driving, start parking
If you’re considering driving into the city (and if the T, Commuter Rail or ferry don’t make sense), remember that every car adds to the traffic congestion problem. Much of the traffic in cities is not caused by drivers trying to get somewhere, but trying to stop and park once they’ve arrived at their destination.
Some 30 percent of traffic in urban areas is created by people slowly circling around, hunting for a spot and slowing everyone else down in the process. Cruising for the perfect spot adds up: besides time wasted, looking for parking causes approximately 950,000 miles of excess driving a year over a typical 15 block area (like Newbury Street, for example). That’s the equivalent of burning almost 50,000 gallons of gas and releasing some 730 tons of carbon dioxide into our air.
To help cities get a grip on parking, companies such as California-based Streetline are rolling out “intelligent parking systems” in cities around the country, including Ft. Lauderdale, New York, and Indianapolis. Boston’s smart parking system, created by developers at BU, is in the works.
Wirelessly connected networks of sensors placed at parking spots track when spaces are free or full, quickly matching drivers (armed with the right app) with available spots. The technology also creates more sensible pricing that can change with demand.
Park it like you mean it.
The most expensive city in the world to park is London, where it’ll set you back about $70 to park on a weekday. Blimey! New York and Boston are tied for first place in the U.S., both of which will cost you around $30 per day to park. (source: WiseGEEK)
The Backstory: find out more
- “The High Cost of Free Parking”, the groundbreaking study by Donald Shoup, professor of urban planning, University of California, Los Angeles
- Gone Parkin’, New York Times op-ed by Professor Shoup
- Economic View: Free Parking Comes at a Price, New York Times
- The future of intelligent parking, The Atlantic, Atlantic Cities blog
Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowner’s insurance throughout the northeast.