‘Public parking should be for public benefit’


Letter to the Editor logoTo the Editor,

I am as interested as anyone in having a vibrant downtown Marlboro. However, developers try to use that desire to extract subsidized parking from the city.

The developer of 57 Main Street proposes providing 28 parking spots for 99 units. Through a series of dubious assumptions the developer concluded that many tenants will not own cars. Instead they will walk to their jobs at Boston Scientific and everywhere else. To say that is disingenuous; to believe it is self-delusional. Building 99 units likely means adding 99 or more cars.

The overflow of 60 to 70 cars will park in public lots for which the developer will pay $600,000 for 60 spots. Decide for yourselves whether that is a good deal.

If this development is used for residencies for the next 50 years, the proposed payment amounts to $12,000 per year or $200 per space. That is $0.55 per day for each parking spot used by a 57 Main tenant. Most cities with parking meters charge at least $1 per hour. Thus, 55 cents per day seems like a sweet deal for the developer.

Public parking should be for public benefit. Marlborough is too large for every resident to be able to walk to downtown for events such as concerts. Public parking most have adequate turnover to support such events, and not have some cars taking up spots around the clock. If Main Street could ever develop the allure of Waltham’s Moody Street, we would be hard-pressed to provide adequate parking even without the 3 new developments proposed for downtown.

Don’t believe the developer-provided parking projections, which are only as good as the assumptions that buttress them. In 2007, the bond rating agencies made predictions about the safety of mortgage backed securities. Using rosy assumptions they were wrong not by a factor or 2, but rather by a factor of 200. Given the biased assumptions for the parking projections, their accuracy is similarly in question.

 Developers reap the financial rewards and should bear the costs of their developments, even if that means building expensive, underground parking for their proposed buildings.

John Esposito

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