The agency that manages Logan Airport recently agreed to invest in reducing emissions from cars and planes as part of its plan to create 5,000 new parking spaces at the East Boston air hub. If the parking plan is permitted, Logan would install ample electric vehicle charging stations throughout its facilities, significantly increase its fleet of Silver Line buses and electrify its gas-powered equipment under a deal between the Massachusetts Port Authority and the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF).
In exchange for Logan’s environmentally friendly upgrades, CLF agreed to drop its opposition to the parking plan, which is pending regulatory action by the Department of Environmental Protection.
The largest airport in New England, Logan logged 36 million passengers in 2016 – its sixth straight year of passenger growth. Massport in March reported the airport has 18,640 commercial parking spaces and 2,488 employee parking spaces.
Massport officials said in a statement that Logan is the only airport in the country subject to a limit on the number of parking spaces, known as a parking freeze – an environmental measure that dates back to 1975. In an environmental filing, Massport contended that constraints on parking increase the amount of vehicle miles traveled as many passengers choose to be dropped off and picked up, requiring two roundtrips to the airport.
Massport officials said in a statement the agency’s plans to add parking will reduce vehicle emissions by 23 percent, and parking demand exceeded supply during 44 weeks in 2016. Implementing the new plans combined with the addition of parking spaces will reduce non-aircraft emissions by nearly 42 percent at the airport, according to Massport.
Under the deal, Logan agreed to replace all gas-powered service equipment with electric versions, when available, over the next decade, according to CLF, which stated Logan is the “first airport in the United States to make such a commitment.”
Massport already provides the MBTA with eight Silver Line buses, which people are able to board for free at Logan, according to the MBTA, whose spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in a statement that T officials are working to identify an alternative type of vehicle to use in its Silver Line tunnel.
In total, the agreement tasks Massport with increasing the share of passengers taking high-occupancy vehicles – such as buses or taxis containing multiple passengers – to the airport from the current rate of 30.5 percent to 40 percent in 10 years, according to CLF.