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Parking Fines In Boston May Increase By As Much As $50

A parking meter in Boston. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)MoreCloseclosemore
A parking meter in Boston. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Drivers in Boston could soon be hit with higher parking fines — some going up by as much as $50.

The city of Boston is looking to increase the costs of some parking fines, in an effort to ease congestion and discourage people from doing things like double parking or stopping in loading zones (you know who you are).

"The requests for parking enforcement in the city of Boston have skyrocketed over the last four years," said Chris Osgood, the city's chief of streets.

In 2014, the city had about 4,500 requests for parking enforcement. Last year, the city received "well over 35,000" requests, according to Osgood.

The city unveiled its plan on Monday, targeting 11 parking fines, which it says are the violations residents complain the most about. For example, fines for parking in a resident parking area would increase from $40 to $60. The fine for double parking would increase to $55 or $75, depending on the zone. And fines for not feeding your meter and overstaying the meter limit would increase from $25 to $40.

The biggest fine increase would be for parking during overnight street cleaning. That fine would more than double, from $40 to $90. A few other fines, like parking in no parking zones and loading zones, would increase to $90.

The parking fines are part of a $5 million transportation investment that will be included in the city's operating budget for fiscal year 2019 as well as its Imagine Boston 2030 capital plan. The city will release the budget and the capital plan Wednesday.

Osgood said the city expects the parking fines to generate $5 million in revenue, which would pay for the transportation investments. Those investments will go toward 58 projects and policies outlined in the city's Go Boston 2030 initiative.

The city expects these efforts to make traffic better in Boston.

"We need to be moving people in a different way in the city of Boston," Osgood said.

Other parts of the city's transportation investment include:

  • Creating a "transit team" to work with the MBTA: The team would focus on improving bus service in the city. There are 350,000 bus trips made every day, but the service is less reliable than other public transit services. A six-person transit team will look at dedicated bus lanes, bus lane design, transit signal improvements as well as policies and strategies to improve bus service.
  • Improving streets and traffic signals: The plan includes $2 million for roadway resurfacing and sidewalk repairs. According to Osgood, $1 million of resurfacing is the equivalent of 6 lane miles of new streets or about 12 blocks of sidewalk reconstruction. There's also $150,000 dedicated to stormwater-related improvements, which could include stormwater retention, rain gardens or permeable sidewalks.
  • Working with transportation tech companies: A new program manager would develop policies and programs focused on ride-hailing companies, electric cars and autonomous vehicles. And a new transportation planner would work with companies to fund improvements such as bike parking.
  • Improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists: The city would put an additional $750,000 toward building a better pedestrian network. An additional $300,000 would go toward expanding the city's bike network and building protected bikes — increasing the city's annual investment in this area to $1.2 million. There's also $400,000 set aside to build bike and pedestrian pathways to green spaces around the city. The plan would allow the city to complete about 10-15 miles of new bike infrastructure in the next four years, according to Osgood.

The parking fines and the capital budget are subject to City Council approval. If approved, the fines would go into effect July 1.

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Zeninjor Enwemeka Twitter Digital Reporter
Zeninjor Enwemeka is a digital reporter, covering a range of news. She also covers tech and culture as part of WBUR's Bostonomix team, which focuses on the innovation economy.

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