Though no one in the Boston area actually “pahks the cah in Hahvahd yahd,” plenty of people park in Harvard Square, and that high demand is causing the price of parking meters there to rise.
Beginning the week of July 24, parking meter rates across the entire city of Cambridge will increase. The baseline rate is currently $1 an hour and will begin to go up to $1.25 per hour on that date.
Meters in more congested areas will have a higher price. In Harvard Square, rates will rise to $1.50 an hour at the same time.
Rates in “certain outlying areas with lower demand” will remain at $1 an hour, according to the city.
This is the first increase in baseline parking meter rates in Cambridge since 2008. The rates will be phased in over the next month, starting with Harvard Square’s changes.
Joseph Barr, director of Cambridge's Traffic, Parking and Transportation, said in a statement that the “modest” rate increase will help the city to better manage the high demand for public parking.
“Parking revenues generated from meters also help support various transportation and Vision Zero initiatives in the city,” he added. “Investments in new bicycle infrastructure, traffic calming and safety improvements in key intersection in Cambridge are funded through Parking Fund revenue.”
Rates in Boston recently saw an increase as well when officials enacted a pilot program that fluctuates the price throughout the day according to demand. Meters in the Seaport District vary from $1 to $2.50 an hour, meters in Back Bay are $3.75 an hour and all other meters in the city are $1.25 an hour.
Raising meter prices can reduce congestion and free up more parking spaces, experts say. The Boston area has historically had “cheaper” parking than other cities like Chicago, where meter prices are $2 an hour outside the business area, $4 an hour in the Central Business District and $6.50 an hour in the downtown Loop.