In my last post, I said that the city needs to require for-pay parking on the Riverside site. There are all sorts of challenges implementing such a requirement, as stated. Allow me to refine. The city should require any parking on the site to be provided to any user on the same terms. It would have the same impact.

If the owner of the office building provides free parking and has to provide it free to everyone, some commuters will park for free and take a longer walk. And, inevitably, some office workers will have to pay to park in the spaces intended for commuters. The MBTA doesn’t want to lose revenue from commuters. And, the property owner doesn’t want some tenants to get free parking and others to have to pay, especially if the reason that some office workers have to pay is that the property owner is providing free parking to commuters.

The answer is a coordinated effort to provide parking at a market cost that reflects demand.

The recent efforts of the Board of Aldermen’s Zoning and Planning committee is heading in the direction of shared parking, as they propose requiring a shared parking analysis on the site. My proposal is simpler. Don’t require an analysis, just share all the parking. Let the developer, the MBTA, and the market determine the price for parking.

To return to the main point of my earlier post, with truly shared parking — any space available on the same terms to any user — the interests of the MBTA, the developer, and the city are better aligned.

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