House adopts Stanley amendment to help major job centers meet downtown parking needs

The House of Representatives adopted Rep. Stanley’s amendment to the Economic Development Bill which will help qualified municipalities address their downtown parking demands. Under the criteria, the City of Waltham would be eligible to receive up to $100,000 in grants for the study and implementation of a parking management plan.

Traditionally, cities and towns seek to resolve parking issues by constructing new garages which often seem like a quick fix at the time. However, to build a garage, communities need to make a major capital outlay for construction and then come up with continued funding for operations and maintenance. Sometimes parking cover these expenses, but more often than not, they don’t. In addition to the high costs of construction and maintenance, parking garages also use up valuable land in downtown areas that could otherwise put into productive, revenue-generating uses for the community.

Rep. Stanley’s amendment will provide major job centers of the Commonwealth, municipalities seeing more than 30,000 daily visitors, with assistance to address downtown parking challenges. According to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s latest published data set (2012), there are 15 communities across the Commonwealth, including Waltham, that host at least 30,000 jobs, which meet the criteria for this benefit as a major jobs center.

“Major jobs centers of the Commonwealth serve as the drivers of our regional economies and accept the burdens of increased traffic on a daily basis,” said Rep. Stanley. “Unfortunately, many of these municipalities face an age old infrastructure problem in their downtown areas: parking shortages. Alternative parking strategies are rapidly becoming a municipal management best practice that is able to solve parking shortages while also saving money for our communities. I believe this initiative offers Waltham a strategy to provide relief to our city’s downtown traffic and parking issues.”