Special to The Patriot Bridge
Boston City Councilor Gabriela Coletta introduced a hearing order, co-sponsored by At-large City Councilor Michael Flaherty with Councilor Liz Breadon of Allston and Brighton, to discuss the digitization and tracking of parking regulations in the City of Boston.
“Every year as we approach the budget season, residents across my district reach out asking for greater funding for parking enforcement. We need a strong enforcement system, especially as we have a high level of density with small parking spaces per unit in our neighborhoods,” said Councilor Coletta. “Based on my conversations with the Boston Transportation Department (BTD), staff is currently tracking parking regulations based on institutional knowledge with no modernized internal system to support them. This hearing aims to create a pathway for efficient constituent services regarding parking regulations by exploring how digitizing this information may foster greater quality of life for residents that rely on on-street parking near their homes.”
Additionally, Councilor Coletta hopes that the systemization of parking regulations can help BTD staff provide services efficiently as well given ongoing understaffing issues at the department.
At Large City Councilor Michael Flaherty said “I am happy to co-sponsor this hearing order to explore digitizing and categorizing parking regulations within the City of Boston. We need to bring the BTD into the digital age so that we can track where and when residents and nonresidents can and cannot park within the City of Boston. I believe it is also important to have a digitized system to allow for home health aides, physical therapists and hospice care providers to come to our city rather than choose to not treat Boston residents for fear of getting ticketed or towed. The goal is to increase efficiency, make things easier for people to navigate and ultimately raise the quality of life for all Bostonians.”
“I am delighted that Councilor Coletta has raised the issue of parking enforcement as the City Council enters into the FY24 budget process. In Allston-Brighton, residents sometimes find themselves at odds with their neighbors, construction workers, or small businesses when street parking regulations and enforcement do not keep pace with changing conditions. Several City departments are charged with maintaining safe conditions on over 800 miles of streets in Boston,” said Councilor Liz Breadon. “City workers possess deep knowledge of these streets, and I look forward to hearing from them and Cabinet leadership regarding the Administration’s plans to transparently assist residents who rely on street parking to take care of their families and businesses, even as the City enhances active transportation for cyclists and pedestrians.”
Highlights of the Order Include:
“WHEREAS, BTD currently relies on institutional knowledge of parking enforcement officers to recognize parking regulations in respective neighborhoods. There is no tracking system or geographic information system (GiS) mapping tool that defines what regulations are where which negatively impacts both residents and BTD employees; and
WHEREAS, Consistent parking enforcement heavily relies on a structural understanding of where and what parking laws are being implemented, appropriate staffing of enforcement officers, and efficient route development; and
WHEREAS, While BTD is currently experiencing understaffing, establishing a tracking system that allows the department to see gaps in service can ensure that residents who live in high density areas can safely and reliably find parking near their homes; and
WHEREAS, Investment in digital tools that are easy to navigate can make it more efficient for residents and city workers to access information, request services, sign up for alerts, and enforce parking regulations; and”
The Boston City Council has yet to schedule a date for this hearing. Members of the public are encouraged to provide written or oral comments once a date is established.