smart meterIn a decision that surprised few given the continuing rough economic climate, Brookline Selectmen voted unanimously at last night’s meeting  to increase meter rates. One rate structure focuses on the area around St. Mary’s MBTA stop frequented by people heading to Fenway for Red Sox games. The other increase impacts parking in the larger commercial areas of Brookline.

Parking on game nights has been a consistent issue for local businesses. Because the section of Beacon St from St Mary’s to Hawes Sts is within walking distance of Fenway, local business inevitably lose potential customer parking to Red Sox fans. As of April 1, use of St Mary’s parking spots on game nights will cost $1 per hour for the first two hours. From that point, parking increases to $10 per hour, adding up to a total of $22 for 4 hours of parking on nights when the Sox play. Additionally, meters will run until 10 pm on game nights. It is hoped these changes in addition to ticketing will help combat the parking shortage for businesses located in St Mary’s

Brookline selectmen also voted for rate and time changes for meters in busy commercial areas. These meters will now run until 8 pm at a cost of $1 per hour. This fee increase is also slated for April 1.

Changes are expected to generate $1 million in revenue for the town. Ironically, despite accusations otherwise, the bulk of this revenue is expected to come from the extended meter hours rather than the St Mary’s area rate increase.

Despite the fact no one wants to see more expensive parking, attendance at last night’s meeting was light. The economic realities Brookline faces are no different from any other town right now, and the decision seems to be viewed as a financially-responsible move, no matter how unwelcome.

The business community, for one, supports the Selectmen’s decision. According to Harvey Bravman, president of the Coolidge Corner Merchant’s Association, “Brookline merchants feel traffic flow and lack of parking are the greatest impediments to business right now. Given the present financial climate that state and local government’s face, merchants felt they had a fiduciary responsibility to the town to support the measure”.


Catie Hayes, Editor