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Monday, April 26, 2010

SPARC Continues Effort On Parking Frontier!

From Somerville Parking Advocacy and Reform Coalition (SPARC) founder, Courtney Koslow...

"Hi all,

Last week the acting Director of Traffic and Parking released a progress report on the list of recommendation that the Parking Solutions Task Force submitted to the Mayor in December. I’m attaching it here. The City also posted a press release about the progress report:

I am pleased to report that the City has taken some good steps to lessen the impact of the parking regulationg changes. However, there are still a few items that I believe need to be addressed.

1.) Two-hour parking on main thoroughfares from 8am-2:30am- The two-hour restrictions on main thoroughfares in the evening has negative impacts on bars and restaurants, as people feel pressured to leave establishements earlier than they otherwise would to avoid getting tickets. In many areas such as Union Square, Magoun Square and Teele Square parking is available on main thoroughfares and the 2 hour restriction does not reflect current conditions. It also impacts guests of Somerville residents who may use main thoroughfares to park when visiting family and friends more than the two days a week that a guest pass can be used.

2.) Case workers- People who work in Somerville as case workers, visiting clients in their home need a permit to be able to park legally while at their visits. This is a new item that has just been brought to my attention.

3.) Somerville Residents with Commercial Vehicles as Primary Vehicle- If a Somerville Resident owns a business and their primary vehicle is a commercial vehicle with “markings” (i.e. a businesses name and/or logo) on it, they are not eligible for a resident permit sticker. Many business owners rely on such markeings to drum up local business and should be able to park their primary vehicle overnight on the street they live on. The PSTF has said that changing this regulation would fall on the Board of Alderman, and I believe we should push to have it taken up.

4.) Guest Pass Restrictions- Now that every street is resident permit parking over night, the 2 day per week limit on guest passes is more problematic than it has been. For those Somerville resident without access to a driveway, people visiting family can only now visit three times a week at most (two days with the permit plus Sundays). Prior to the parking regulation changes people had options to park on non-residential streets. This impacts the elderly who count on visits from family and friends. It also has a negative impact on the quality of life for individuals whose significant others stay over on multiple nights.

5.) Small gathering passes downloadable online- One significant quality of life impact of having streets resident permit parking or 2 hour parking only, is that small gatherings are now essentially impossible, particularly impromptu gatherings. The City has a system for applying for temporary guest passes for large parties but that requires Traffic & Parking staff to look at assessors maps to determine where people can park, a process that takes time. The Parking Solution Task Force requested that Traffic and Parking Department investigate the ability to purchase and download “Small Gathering” passes online. Traffic & Parking is investigating this technology, and SPARC should continue to push for this to happen.

I have been hearing from different Somerville business owners and residents on theses issues and feel that there is work needing to be done."

Please follow the link above for more information on the group and the forever-changing parking regulations here in Somerville!

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