BostInno reported Friday that Mayor Walsh included in his City of Boston State Legislative Agenda for 2015-2016 the bill, SD40, An Act Modernizing the Business Licensing Process. The bill outlines a number of measures to spur further economic development but perhaps the most important part is the provision that would allow restaurants and bars to remain open past 2 a.m.
The legislation could have a big impact on the city of Boston and not just with extending bar closing hours. There remain a lot of idiotic city licenses that cost new businesses time and money and do little to help the public good. Some of those include eliminating the need for pool halls and bowling alleys to get special licenses. I am happy to read that Mayor Walsh remains committed to this idea of extending business hours and streamlining the licensing process.
Earlier this year the city of Boston announced limited regulations for car sharing services like Uber and Lyft that operate in and around the city. According to an article in the Boston Herald the city is now setting its sights on Airbnb, scheduling a public hearing on January 26th to help determine what, if any, regulations are needed for the booming short-term rental service.
With news of the US Olympic Committee’s selection of Boston as the US host city for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, short-term rental services / room sharing services like Airbnb will play a crucial role. However, the loss of revenue hotel chains bemoan may play a bigger role since everyone knows money talks and national hotel chains have been highly critical of companies like Airbnb.
Hopefully the discourse on January 26th won’t lead to discord. It would be good to have some basic regulations in the form of consumer protections like the city announced for car sharing services but the focus would be on the words “basic regulations”. You can read the full article in the Herald here.
In case you happened to miss Mayor Walsh announcement earlier this week, the City of Boston is implementing new technology that will allow you to pay for parking without having to run out to feed parking meters if you have the new ParkBoston app.
Parts of the Back Bay will be the first to accept payments by phone with the rest of the city phased in over the coming months following this week’s launch. You can create an account if interested by downloading the app for free from the iPhone App Store and the Google Play Store or by visiting park.boston.gov.
The recent decision of the US Olympic Committee to select Boston as America’s host city for the 2024 Summer Olympics bid has a lot of Bostonians in a tizzy.
Unlike a lot of people who are critical of the city’s bid, I’ve actually lived in a city that prepared for Summer Olympics and experienced that city’s Olympic games. I understand that the process up until now has bypassed many of the citizens who call Boston home and there is concern our money could be put to better use. However, I see this as an amazing opportunity and therein lies my beef with Bostonians who have already decided this is somehow a terrible fate.
First, there is no guarantee that Boston will host the 2024 Summer Olympics, but by being the US Olympic Committee’s host city, we get quite a bit of attention and we can start to think and imagine what those games might look like and the infrastructure that we would need to have in place. By infrastructure, I mean the investments that will need to be made in our roads, public transportation, airport, additional hotel space, etc…, which benefit us all long after the summer games.
Additionally the Olympic Games will spur the city and region into action and that can potentially benefit all of us far beyond 2024. I recognize pitfalls have bedeviled many host cities but those failures offer us lessons in what not do just as past successes in cities like Barcelona, Atlanta and London offer insights into what does work.
Let’s focus on how we can make this an opportunity that helps bring more tourists, conventions, businesses and people to Boston. The Olympic Games remains an amazing opportunity and spotlight for Boston. How we leverage that opportunity will ultimately decide if Boston 2024 is good or bad for the city.
My two cents.
According to 2013 population figures from the Federal government, Boston is the 24th largest city in the United States. However, according to a recent article published in The Boston Globe, our city is the nation’s 7th most valuable real estate market.
The Zillow Home Value Index, a blend of property assessments by local officials and market prices, pegs the median home value for the Boston area at $364,900. If you are looking to buy a home or struggling to afford your rent take heart because the same article in The Boston Globe pointed out that the pace of rising prices appears to be slowing down after a banner year in 2013 and inventory is rising.
I know there are a lot of people who are not happy about the US Olympic Committee’s decision to submit Boston to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. I lived through the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and am not unaware of the problems / costs often associated with host city bids, but for the moment I could not be more proud and happy for my hometown.
In partnership with GoBoston 2030, the Design Studio for Social Intervention is offering five $1000 art commissions to Boston-based artists. The commissions include $500 for a transportation-inspired work of art (any medium…paint, poetry, performance art, song, sculpture, food, etc.) and $500 to spend two days out with your piece with the GoBoston 2030 public engagement truck.
Brief application and work samples are due by January 21st
If selected, artwork must be completed and available by January 28th. Artwork previously completed and used in other contexts is acceptable. GoBoston 2030’s Question Campaign public engagement truck will run January 28th-February 7th, and chosen artists must be available at least two days during that time.
GoBoston 2030 Transportation Art Commission Application