Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Parking Garage? Seriously?

What a racket. Two Boston area lawmakers are looking to take a large amount of funds from a pot of money that is meant for access and housing near transit and put it towards a parking deck. In fact they are looking to take 75% of the money for one deck.

Murphy, a Democrat who inserted the earmark at Keenan's behest, said the 1,000-space garage has been in the works for a decade and is needed. The garage would be shared by MBTA commuters in Salem who use the Rockport/Newburyport train line and users of a planned district courthouse in the area.

Murphy, who is vice chairman of the Legislature's bonding committee, inserted the amendment during the committee's consideration of the bill, which could come to the House for a vote this week.

"It's a legitimate project," Murphy said. "It's not like we're hiring someone's uncle to do something. I'm not going to apologize for getting something done here."

But the single-project earmark probably flies in the face of the fund's original intent.

The "transit-oriented development" fund, put in place in 2004 when lawmakers set aside an initial $30 million, has been used in the past to encourage people to live near public transit and to make it easier to get around without cars. Governor Deval Patrick has spoken often about his desire to encourage more people to live near public transit stations to encourage economic development around the stations.

Housing cars does not count as housing. Is anyone else tired of the car culture that believes its cars above everything else?


Brian Goldner said...

only in the Northeast could I imagine anyone being upset with a park-n-ride structure. I don't like them either, but they're one of the only ways some areas have to get people not to drive.
Perhaps even more maddening is the story of the the Sacramento light rail south phase 2, which was supposed to extend all the way to a major population center (Elk Grove) but was shortened b/c citizens demanded huge expensive parking structures. But hey, if it means that ppl will actually ride the light rail, I guess it's a starting point.

maybe once gas hits $5 a gallon (and stays there or rises) we'll stop building these car cathedrals and instead focus on providing extensive light rail service...

arcady said...

It's not the park-n-ride that's the problem, it's the use of TOD funds for it. That and the complete refusal of the MBTA to "get it" when it comes to these things. When they re-extended the commuter rail from Framingham to Worcester, they built some new stations on the line. But did they rebuild them in their historic locations in the centers of the towns which the line passes through? No, they built all the stations a couple miles outside of town, in the middle of the forest, where they could get plenty of cheap land for the giant parking lot that is made necessary because the station is in the middle of nowhere, because where else would you be able to build a giant parking lot?