At last week’s Massport Board meeting the board voted unanimously in favor of allowing East Boston residents to park for free at Logan Airport’s economy garage when a snow emergency is declared in Boston.
“Due to the current parking availability that we have (at Logan) and the fluctuating passenger volumes we are proposing to institute an East Boston residents snow emergency parking program,” said Massport’s Director, Community Relations & Government Affairs Alaina Coppola at last week’s board meeting. “So how this would work is that upon declaration of a snow emergency within the City of Boston, which constitutes a parking ban, East Boston residents could park in the economy garage for free. Residents will have 24 hours upon the end of the snow emergency to remove their vehicle from the economy garage and they will need to show their license upon exiting the garage for proof of residency.”
Coppola said the program not only provides a gesture of goodwill from Massport to the residents of Eastie it will make life a little bit easier for residents during snowstorms.”
Coppola said the process will be once the Mayor announces a snow emergency Massport will look at the availability that they have within the economy garage.
“We will make an announcement not only on our website, but on social media and work with our elected officials to help us get the word out,” said Coppola. “We will identify how many spots we have available and make sure that people know how many we have.”
The parking will be on a first-come first-serve basis.
“At this moment (the number of spaces) will fluctuate based upon passenger volumes, but I would say I think we feel comfortable that we will always have at least 75 spots available,” said Coppola.
Massport Board Member John Nucci said the measure was “long overdue”.
“Not only is it the right thing to do for East Boston residents, but it will also help clear the streets more quickly because there will be fewer cars on the street,” said Nucci. “As you know East Boston is a very, very difficult place to park and when there is a parking ban due to a snow emergency there is literally no place to go to these cars. So to have this opportunity Massport will be providing I think will be very well received and very much appreciated.”
Nucci thanked Rep. Adrian Madaro and Sen. Lydia Edwards for advocating for the program on behalf of Eastie residents to the Massport Board.
“I have had many conversations with Massport about resident parking during snow emergencies,” said Madaro. “Last week, those conversations culminated in a board vote that allows East Boston residents to park in Massport’s Economy Garage during snow emergencies. This will help keep our major streets clear for snow removal and ease the stress of preparing for snow emergencies for many of our neighbors. Thank you, Sen. Lydia Edwards for lending your support in our advocacy to make better use of Massport land during snow emergencies, and thank you to Lisa Weiland and members of the Massachusetts Port Authority staff for working with us to make this happen.”
Edwards added, “It’s one of the first things I worked on when I became a Senator. I had called up Massport to discuss several items including why we aren’t getting this as a form of mitigation. Parking during a snowstorm is close to impossible. We don’t have the space. Massport ironically ends up with more space with canceled flights. I am happy they took swift action and look forward to more community benefits.”
However, Massport CEO Lisa Wieland said while the program is a good gesture it may not be forever once Logan passenger numbers get back to pre-pandemic levels.
“I think it’s the right thing to do now while we have space,” said Wieland. “The number (of spaces) that are available will fluctuate and it will be dependent upon what passenger demand is for some of those spaces. We think we’ll be able to provide up to 75 (spaces) but that number might be different down the road. I think what this vote is doing is demonstrating that Massport is a good community partner. We’re trying to utilize our assets that we have available to help the community when we can do it. So if it turns out to be something we could do only for one season I think that’s positive and better than not doing it at all. We will of course do our best to continue to offer this to the community but I think we have to recognize the possible restraints and limitations on that.”