Two separate articles - one from The Sunday Globe and the other from today's Boston Globe about parking at MBTA/MBCR stations.
The Northwest version of "Starts and Stops" profiled commuter and public transportation support William Elliott's quest for parking. Elliott relies on the Fitchburg line or the Red Line to get into Boston from Action. He finds accessing parking at the Action station and at Alewife to be a challenge. So much of a challenge that he is considering forgoing public transportation. Here is Elliott's story:
William Elliott of Acton is a supporter of public transportation who has had his patience tried. He said the problem for "those of us living in the outlying areas" is parking - in Elliott's case, parking for the commuter rail (Fitchburg) and the subway. "I get on at Alewife, if I can. I have such limited parking that I hardly try to use them anymore. We're paying huge amounts of money to support a system that refuses to address the core problem: how to access it. I've tried so many times to find a parking space in Acton and at Alewife with no success, and, after getting tickets for parking in Concord, I've just about given up on the MBTA.In other parking-related news, a battle may be brewing in Salem over the construction of a parking garage that could deplete a $20 million state fund that was created to encourage housing and walking paths near T stations. Two North of Boston legislatures did some behind the scenes maneuvering to secure $15 million to build the proposed parking garage. It sounds like the garage may be needed.
"I used to be a huge supporter when I lived in Cambridge (I got rid of my car at one point), and in fact grew up in Braintree in the '40s and '50s, routinely taking the bus to Quincy to get the T to Boston, and to my relatives in Watertown (bus out of Harvard Square). Now, it simply frustrates me to drive to the South Acton lot (it's full), then to Alewife (it's full, by about 8:30 a.m. sometimes), at which point there's no alternative but to drive into town, the ultimate frustration.
"It's hard to believe that after all these years of talking about public transportation no one seems to be addressing the central problem of how to access the system unless one can walk to the station."
With more than 43,000 spaces in 150 locations, the MBTA claims to be the largest owner of off-street paid parking in New England. In 2007, more than 9 million vehicles were parked at an MBTA-owned surface lot or garage.
But MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said parking lot expansion is a problem, particularly along the Fitchburg line, because the stations and platforms are owned by the T, but the parking lots are not.
He said there were plans several years ago to add a second deck to the parking lot in South Acton that would double the 287 available spaces, but the Acton Transportation Advisory Committee decided not to proceed because abutters were concerned about congestion in the area.
As for Alewife, where 2,733 parking spaces are now available, Pesaturo said there are no plans for an increase in parking, because "the T is not in a financial position to acquire land for parking."