How to Park in Boston and Keep Your Sanity

So you made it through the highway traffic and battled through the streets of Boston. Now there is the final battle – the fight for the parking spot.  Here are some tips:

Have faith and patience.  Somehow those cars that parked before you found a spot.  They are no better than you.  Sometimes you have to drive around the block four times before that coveted spot opens up. If you are looking for parking around BU your best luck is Bay State Road and Cummington Mall.  

parked car gif

Pay attention to the signs.  There may be three menacing signs on that light pole but when you read the fine print you realize that none of them apply to this beautiful day.  

Watch out for the “traps.”  It may look like a nice open spot, but there it may be a fire hydrant, a handicap ramp, or a loading area.  

Look for the spots with missing parking meters.  These are rare, but they do exist.  And they are highly coveted because you can park in them nearly indefinitely (until there is a street cleaning etc).

Do not try to outsmart the parking law enforcement.  They are like silent assassins.  You do not know where they come from and where they go, but you know they struck you.  With a bright-orange ticket.

parking tickets

…With few exceptions.  First, read the fine print on the parking meter – during certain hours and days you do not have to pay.  Second, if the parking meter is out of order you can park for one hour for free.  Third, if you are really sure you are not at fault, you may appeal it (I’ve done so successfully a number of times)

unpaid parking tickets

Good luck during the Red Sox games.  If you are anywhere near the Fenway on the game night – it will take some extra faith and extra patience.  If you are hoping to find street parking your best chances are before 5pm.

Get a parking pass.  If you are commuting for BU, this may be the best foolproof option.  Go to the Student Link->Personal ->Commuter Parking Permits.  For example a White Evening Commuter Permit allows you to park right under the Questrom School of Business. This year it would cost you:

  • $122.40 – Fall
  • $144.00 – Spring
  • $108.00 – Summer

May not look cheap, but then again, a parking lot spot on the game night will set you back $40+. 

If you choose to drive into the city my hat is off to you.  And remember, MBTA is not for the faint of heart either.  


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