In order to reduce emissions from vehicles, the Air Pollution Control Commission (APCC) administers parking freezes on off-street parking for three areas of Boston:
All three freezes are part of the Massachusetts State Implementation Plan (SIP) to improve air quality required under the federal Clean Air Act. Although the history and specific requirements of the parking freeze programs differ by area, their goals are the same: to reduce vehicle miles traveled in the Boston area, to promote the use of public transit, and to encourage transit-related development by restricting the number of off-street parking spaces.
In general, the formal process by which the parking freezes went into effect was as follows:
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued general regulations concerning the parking freeze and imposed a cap on the number of parking spaces.
The APCC conducted an inventory of existing spaces.
The APCC wrote regulations that established procedures and criteria for the issuance of permits.
The APCC issued permits to owners of existing parking spaces.
Since the issuance of initial permits, the APCC considers modifications of existing permits and applications for new permits. The APCC cannot issue any new permits, unless there are allocable spaces in the parking freeze bank, which represents the difference between the cap and the number of spaces currently allocated through permits.
Note: The Resident Permit Parking Program (that is, neighborhood parking stickers) is a separate program run by the Boston Transportation Department.