In steps to raise revenue from parking lots, MBTA must not lose control

February 26, 2011

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I APPLAUD the MBTA’s creative efforts to deal with its crushing debt payments without again raising fares (“MBTA forges plan to reduce deficit,’’ Metro, Feb. 23).

But while the T explores one-time savings such as pre-selling future parking lot revenue to for-profit businesses, it needs to be careful not to lose control over its future. For example, the public sector must retain the ability to reconfigure parking lots to serve passengers who arrive by foot, bicycle, or bus, as well as those arriving by car. The T must also keep the ability to install additional bicycle parking facilities. We also need a “Safe Routes to the T’’ program that connects commuter rail, trolley, and bus stops with their surrounding neighborhoods, with special emphasis on senior residences, shopping and social service centers, health care providers, parks, playgrounds, and schools.

The T’s board should make sure that any revenue pre-sale contracts retain these vital safeguards.

Steven E. Miller