|Parking in Boston, Massachusetts|
|Parking in Boston is definitely a problem, especially if you want to do it on the cheap.|
You can pay for parking at any metered spot in the city of Boston using your smartphone, laptop or tablet computer, or even a flipphone. Here's how:
Go to the ParkBoston website, or download the ParkBoston app from the Apple or Android app store, set up an account with a credit or debit card, pre-fund your ParkBoston "wallet," and then—the most difficult part—find a vacant legal parking space in Boston. Remember, you must still observe all parking rules, including resident-permit only, street-cleaning restrictions, snow removal, etc. Look for all restriction signs on the street before parking, just as you should if paying with coins.
When you find a legal space, enter the zone number of the space, your vehicle's license plate number, and your length of stay. You can extend the length later if you wish, but not beyond the legal limit, usually 2 hours. When your time is up, you must move your car to a different parking space in a different zone.
You'll be chargred a 15¢ "convenience fee" (!) for using the ParkBoston app, and you'll receive an electronic receipt for your parking-time purchase.
Note that the coin or credit card parking meter at your spot may read Expired, but this shouldn't matter—you've registered and paid for your use of the parking spot, so the meter doesn't apply. There's also no need to pay at a sidewalk parking receipt machine or to put a receipt beneath your windshield.
Also note that the ParkBoston app applies only to the City of Boston, not to neighboring cities such as Brookline, Cambridge or Somerville. So you can use it to park near Boston Common, but not near Harvard Square (Cambridge) or Larz Anderson Park (Brookline).
If you don't want to pay by smartphone, you can always still use a coin or credit card parking meter.
Parking meters in downtown Boston charge 25¢ per 12 minutes, and parking lots charge much more, about $12 for the first hour or portion thereof. You pay by depositing quarters in the meter—no other coins accepted—or, for some meters, you can use a credit or debit card. Maximum parking time is usually 2 hours (the limit is shown on the meter), and it's enforced. After 2 hours, you must move your car or risk a violation and fine (see below).
Parking Receipt Machines
Some Boston streets have parking receipt machines instead of parking meters. You insert money in the sidewalk machine and receive a paper receipt displaying the parking time purchased, which you place visibly beneath the windshield inside your car.
Residential side streets are often dedicated to Resident Parking, for which your car must have a special sticker. Do not park on Resident Parking streets if your car lacks the proper sticker, or you are liable to having your car ticketed (fined) and towed away.
Parking Violation Fines
—Expired meter: $25, also charged for staying longer than the meter time limit, even if you've added money to the meter
—Loading Zone: $55
—No Stopping zone: $75
—Towing: up to $90 (plus the applicable fine)
—Hydrant: $100 if you're parked too near a fire hydrant or fire lane
—Handicapped: $125—the highest fine—if your vehicle does not show a handicapped parking permit.
Boston parking enforcement officers issue roughly 1.5 million parking tickets per year, earning over $65 million for the city.
If you stay for some time in Boston, do not accumulate a backlog of unpaid parking tickets: your car may be towed and impounded, held hostage until the tickets, interest and late penalties are paid.
Central Boston Parking Lots