By Dan Murphy
Following the recent announcement of the facility’s first rate increases since 2008, the owner of the Boston Common Garage has agreed to work with the Beacon Hill Business Association (BHBA) to offer discounted rates to patrons of neighborhood businesses.
The board of directors of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA), which owns and operates the 1,300-space underground garage, voted on March 24 to raise some rates, effective July 1.
Short-term parking between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays will increase from $8 to $10 for up to an hour, from $12 to $14 for up to two hours and from $16 to $18 for up to three hours. During the same timeframe, parking for up to 10 hours will rise from $22 to $23, and the rate for up to 24 hours will climb from $27 to $28.
Evening, weekend and monthly parking rates will remain the same, however.
“Despite the increase, we believe we’re offering affordable rates, especially in the City of Boston,” MCCA spokesman Mac Daniel said. “As a publicly owned garage, we feel it’s really important to maintain an affordable rate structure. The approved increases will garner at most $100,000 a year.”
MCCA Director of Facilities and Operations Fred Peterson said the company would consider a proposed collaboration with the Business Association to offer discounted parking vouchers for customers of Hill businesses.
“We think it’s a great idea,” Peterson said. “Both parking and quality-of-life concerns on Charles Street make it worth pursuing.”
Peterson added, “It’s an opportunity to see what they can do for their customers…and to get the word out about the Boston Common Garage.”
Susan Symonds, BHBA president and owner of Infinity Portrait Design on Beacon Street, said, “The Business Association wants to send business to the Common Garage and give customers peace of mind, since they don’t have to feed the meters. I think this is the beginning of a great new partnership.”
Meanwhile, MCCA officials weren’t so optimistic that they could accommodate a request from the Beacon Hill Civic Association (BHCA) Traffic and Parking Committee to extend the checkout time for overnight parking from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. anytime soon.
“We serve two sets of customers with different needs – our valued monthly customers and the transient population, who work, go to school and attend the theatre in the area,” Daniel said. “To serve the transient population best requires that the overnighters start to empty out at 8 a.m., and extending the time to 10 a.m. would create a backlog.”
Peterson added, “We try to accommodate all our customers needs, but that’s not always possible.”