Cambridge in transition : regulating parking in a growing city
Author(s)Ferrentino, Cara Elizabeth
Regulating parking in a growing city
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Frederick P. Salvucci.
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Parking is regulated today by cities to achieve a variety of goals including traffic reduction, air quality improvement, urban densification, and climate change mitigation. In the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts, parking regulation has proven to be a highly contentious dimension of local development politics. In 1973, the US EPA promulgated a cap on non-residential parking supply in Cambridge as part of efforts to bring the Boston metropolitan area into compliance with Clear Air Act ambient air quality standards. Until 1997 the City of Cambridge administered the highly controversial parking "freeze," which garnered opposition from developers, businesses, and their allies within city government, as well as strong support from neighborhood activists who hoped the freeze would limit development. Debate over the parking freeze led to efforts by Cambridge planning and transportation staff to recast the parking freeze as a suite of policies targeting demand for driving, particularly among employee commuters. Cambridge has grown significantly over the past two decades and is poised to grow further, providing the impetus for research into the city's experience with parking regulations and travel demand management policies. Analysis of the history, implementation, and effects of Cambridge's parking policies yields several key conclusions. First, the City developed its parking policies in response to a series of external federal, state and local mandates in the form of regulations, lawsuits, and petitions. These events precipitated debates over the role that parking policies should play between groups that in this thesis are called the local "growth coalition," or development interests, neighborhood "limited growth" activists, and govemment "planned density" bureaucrats. Debates between these three groups dramatically shaped the form that Cambridge's policies now take. Second, past and current parking policies have facilitated the existence of many underused parking spaces in the city, which undermine the effectiveness of City policies that target commuter driving. Finally, although concerns about the impacts of parking policies on economic development still exist in Cambridge, anticipated growth presents an opportunity for the City to revisit its parking policies. Revised policies could more effectively enable the shared use of existing parking spaces, increase employee awareness of commuter benefits, and make the costs of parking more transparent and representative of their physical, social, and environmental impacts.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2013.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 99-104).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.