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Boston parking requirements: Some projects stand athwart 1-to-1 rule

Trend sparks concerns

Lovejoy Wharf
Related Beal

Here’s a stat that should surprise anyone who follows Boston planning and development: Of the 76 residential buildings that the Boston Planning & Development Agency approved last year, 30 came with fewer than one space per unit.

What’s more, according to the Globe’s Tim Logan, is that city officials and developers both say they expect that number to grow.

The thinking behind the trend is rather simple and goes something like the following...

So many potential owners and tenants for these residential buildings will not be owning cars—and a lot of the projects are near public transit such as T stops and/or have ample bike storage—that the long-time rule of thumb of a parking space for each unit makes little practical sense.

Plus, not having to build parking saves developers money.

The trend is expected to cross a kind of urban-planning Rubicon in April with the launch of sales at the condo component of Lovejoy Wharf. That 15-story, 157-unit project will be the first large downtown Boston condo without parking for owners.

There is some resistance to the movement, though. Finding parking is already herculean in many Boston neighborhoods. Spilling more apartments and condos into the mix without designated spaces only exacerbates that problem, opponents say.

Moreover, a car-less tenant today may soon change his or her mind and buy a car tomorrow.