Brookline Selectmen will hold a hearing next week on a proposal to increase parking meter rates up to $22 for Red Sox fans parking near the St. Mary’s MBTA stop during home games.
The board will meet next Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. in Brookline Town Hall for the hearing on the proposal and other measures that would increase parking meter rates on a much smaller scale in other areas of town.
Last October, Brookline’s Transportation Board approved a plan to increase meter rates along the Beacon Street median from St. Mary’s to Hawes streets to $1 per hour for the first two hours, and $10 per hour for an additional two hours, bringing the four-hour total to $22. Selectmen will have the final say on increasing the rates.
The metered spots are within a short walk to Fenway Park and the St. Mary’s T stop is one stop away from Kenmore Square.
The District of Columbia already charges dramatically higher rates at meters around the Washington National’s stadium on game nights, and Brookline has been studying the move as a way to generate revenue and increase turnover at parking spaces around several local businesses who have said their customers have no where to park when the Red Sox play home games.
Current meter rates in the area are 75 cents per hour and the meters have been shutting shut off at 6 p.m., so Red Sox fans could park at the spots at 4 p.m., pay $1.50 and leave a car in the spot for the duration of a game. Parking in a garage near the ball park during a game can cost up to $35.
In addition to increasing the meter rates, the Transportation Board has already voted in favor of extending the hours in which motorist must pay to park at the metered spots until 10 p.m. along the median strip near the St. Mary’s T stop.
Before Brookline could charge the dramatically higher rates on game nights, the town must first install multi-space meters that would allow motorists to pay with cash, credit or debit cards. The multi-space meters will also enable the town to adjust the meters to reflect the higher rates on game nights and lower rates on nights when the Red Sox aren’t in town.
Brookline Transportation Director Todd Kirrane said the town is currently installing 93 multi-space parking meters at locations throughout the town. He said the installation should be completed by the end of this month and they will then be activated for use. Until then, the 960 single-space parking meters being replaced by the multi-space meters will remain in operation.
Next Tuesday’s hearing will also cover a proposal approved by the Transportation Board that would raise the meter rates from 75 cents to $1 per hour at all two, three, and five-hour parking meters. The board also unanimously approved extending meter operating hours until 8 p.m. in business areas where there is a strong demand for parking spots.