MassDOT Just Opened Up Hundreds of New Parking Spaces

Sure, they're mostly reserved for specific neighborhoods. But it sure beats circling the block.

Photo via MassDOT

Photo via MassDOT

Snagging a parking spot in Boston is no easy task. But officials from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation are hoping that a new partnership with a property management company, which will open up two new lots in the city, will help ease some drivers’ frustrations.

In a joint announcement, MassDOT officials said they have reached an agreement with GTI Properties, a locally owned and operated property management and development company, to provide parking in two lots underneath the elevated bit of Interstate 93’s Southeast Expressway.

For Boston drivers, the licensing agreement between the state agency and the privately-owned firm means that 235 parking spaces will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for public use. However, 60 of those spaces will be used by the nearby homeless shelter, The Pine Street Inn, and 15 more will be reserved for Zipcars. On top of that, 12 will be go directly to the more eco-friendly drivers that putt around Boston in electric vehicles, knocking the overall total down a notch.

Still, that’s a lot of extra parking—and it will also serve another purpose.

MassDOT and GTI, as part of their five-year licensing partnership, have agreed that the storage-space-turned-parking-center will be used to host at least 12 unspecified events each year. In February, MassDOT turned on special lights that illuminate the underbelly of the overpassing highway, creating an art-like space where it was relatively dark and desolate before. The theme of the artistic lighting will be interchangeable, as shown in the above photo, which features Shamrocks for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Primarily, the parking will be for residents of the South End, South Boston, and Chinatown neighborhoods with a resident permit-parking sticker. There will also be a limited amount of free parking for those neighborhoods during snow emergencies declared by Mayor Marty Walsh, according to MassDOT. The general public can make use of the spots during certain events like the annual SoWa Market held in the South End on Sundays, too.

Driver won’t be the only ones to benefit from the new area, either. According to officials, there will be new bike cages on hand underneath the highway that will be capable of housing up to 23 bicycles.

The new spots are the first phase in a multi-phase project. The next step in the process, which should be completed by December of this year, will include the addition of another 200 spots, a new multi-modal path connecting the South Bay Harbor Trail to Kneeland Street, and a new, transportation-themed public space that will be installed between the Boston Harborwalk along the Fort Point Channel.