Governor signs municipal modernization bill with parking reforms co-authored by Utile’s Jessica Robertson

In early August, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a comprehensive municipal modernization bill, with the intention of updating obsolete practices and giving cities and towns more flexibility and authority.

Utile’s Jessica Robertson, a senior planner, was instrumental in writing a section of the new law that modernizes parking management. She says, “Public parking is a major flashpoint in many downtowns and town centers throughout the Commonwealth, but in many cases a perceived parking crunch can actually be solved with better parking management, as opposed to building more parking, which can be detrimental to urban design and walkability. Now that this bill has become law, municipalities finally have all the tools at their disposal to actively manage their parking supply.”

Municipalities are now able to set parking prices based on demand, and allocate parking revenue to streetscape improvements and multimodal transportation projects. Most importantly, the law enables municipalities to form parking benefit districts, wherein an organization such as a business improvement district helps decide how to spend the parking revenue raised in their district. This arrangement is crucial to creating the political will for pricing parking appropriately; residents, businesses and customers are much more willing to pay for parking if they can see that they’re helping to fund new sidewalks or streetlights.

You can read more about the entire municipal modernization bill here.