Greening Boston's taxi fleet & Browning A/B and some land use obersvations

How ironic that George Bachrach, president of the Environmental League of Massachusetts, has a column in today's Globe about the environmental damage caused by gas-guzzling vehicles. On Tuesday he will be in front of Boston's Zoning Board of Appeals seeking a variance to allow people to rent gas-guzzling vehicles from the Public Storage warehouse on Lincoln Street in Brighton.

The greening of Boston's taxi fleet - The Boston Globe

As the commenter mentions, in the abstract the idea of renting trucks when people need the extra capacity is much better than people always driving that are much bigger than what they need to drive most of the time. In the same vein, storage facilities are better than people buying houses big enough to store things that they only rarely need to access.

But just as Allston and Brighton already have more storage facilities than we need, we also have more truck rental businesses than we need. We also get more air pollution than the average neighborhood from the cars and trucks on the Mass Pike, Soldiers Field Rd, etc. And Lincoln Street is a particularly dangerous street which doesn't need any more truck traffic.

And finally, from an environmental viewpoint, makes no sense to put storage warehouses (which people visit rarely) in our urban centers. Using this land for housing and commercial space, to let people live closer to their jobs and reduce commuting distances, would be preferable. Housing for something like 75 people could have been built on the 1.2 acres used for the storage warehouse on Lincoln St. If those people worked in nearby job centers in Boston or Cambridge (and especially if they were able to walk, bike, or take public transportation to work) we would following best practices recommended by many sustainability experts. The Urban Land Institute's paper Growing Cooler: Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change is a great overview of how compact cities with housing and jobs in close proximity are key to significant improvements in our environment.


  1. Anonymous4:44 AM

    I'd say rental trucks are a good idea. Renting a truck is the most logical argument against individuals thinking they need to buy an SUV for the handful of trips that might require the capacity a truck offers.

    It seems only natural that a storage facility would offer truck rental. Presumably people are hauling things to store there. What's more efficient for fuel and traffic purposes, 2-3 trips with a smaller capacity car, or 1 single trip with a truck?

  2. There are plenty already:

    Budget: 95 Brighton Ave, Allston
    Penske: 25 Denby Rd., Allston
    U-Save: 25 Harvard Ave, Allston
    U-Haul: 240 N. Beacon St, Brighton

    The LAST thing we need are people with little to no experience flying down the Lincoln St. straightaway in trucks trying to get them back on time. I'm also pretty sure that allowing for more rental trucks is NOT going to cut down on SUV ownership, either.

    The tone of your post and "anonymous" ID give the appearance of someone posting on behalf of the Public Storage Company.

  3. Anonymous8:14 PM

    What is the difference between posting anon and using the initials t.s.?
    Not the same anon

  4. Anonymous9:54 AM

    From the tone of your response and your clear love of SUVs, it sounds to me like you're a representative from Big Oil. Just wait til Obama is elected and gouges all your profits and redistributes them to the working class through unemployment and welfare.

    Now, back to the subject...

    They're going to be flying down the street even faster to return them if they're renting trucks from another facility versus the one where they're taking their storage items to.

    I'm impressed that you're able to ascertain that more convenient truck rental options won't cut down on SUV purchases. I suppose Zip cars hasn't cut down on car purchases in general, huh? The fact is, transportation is about convenience. That's why Zip works, they're pervasive in Boston, so they're convenient. So, it doesn't matter that there are 4 other rental options. People prefer them to be where they need them, in this case at the storage facility.