T pares back parking hikes at Braintree, Quincy-Adams
Mayor of Braintree says increases defy logic, aren’t fair
IN RESPONSE TO PUSHBACK from Quincy and Braintree elected officials, the MBTA on Monday announced it would hike parking rates on September 1 rather than August 1 and cut the size of the weekday price hike at the heavily used Braintree and Quincy Adams garages from $3 to $2.
T officials said the revisions, apparently made because both garages are undergoing renovations, would reduce the expected revenue gain from a series of parking initiatives from $8.5 million to $7.3 million.
MBTA officials call their new parking strategy demand pricing, reflecting their desire to use pricing to reduce demand at busy garages and increase traffic at little-used facilities. Overall, the plan calls for raising weekday prices at 32 facilities, lowering them at 21, and holding them steady at 46. On weekends, prices are scheduled to go down at 98 facilities by 50 percent; the charge at the remaining lot – the one at Sullivan Square – will remain unchaged at $6.
The T’s three busiest garages – Braintree, Quincy-Adams, and Alewife – were all scheduled to see their weekday rates rise from $7 to $10 and their weekend rates drop to $3. With the changes announced Monday, parking rates at Braintree and Quincy-Adams will now go to $9, leaving Alewife as the most expensive garage of all of the T’s 99 facilities.
Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan, a member of the board overseeing the Department of Transportation, complained about the parking rate increase shortly after it was first announced in June and made no secret of his disdain for the compromise announced on Monday.
He said it defied logic to penalize the very people who are using the T’s most popular garages. “I don’t think it’s fair,” he said, noting that, in meetings with T officials, he had pushed for a $1 price hike that would have been followed at a later date with another $1 increase. Sen. John Keenan of Quincy also participated in discussions with T officials on the proposed parking rates.
The parking rate increase was one of only a handful of issues that has split the T’s Fiscal and Management Control Board over the last several years. Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, speaking at the control board’s meeting on Monday, said that T officials would review the impact of the parking rate increases after 90 days and make adjustments if they are warranted.Sullivan said he was mystified at the T’s approach. “The lack of communication is something I find troubling,” he said. “I don’t think there was much of a process.”
After leaving the hearing room, he declined to elaborate. “I should move along before I say something else,” he said.