Wakefield Addresses Downtown Parking
Oct 16, 2018 07:12AM
● By Katie Lovett
WAKEFIELD – Following a recent forum to discuss parking concerns in the downtown, the Town Council will implement several changes in hopes of making more spaces available to shoppers and visitors.
Anthony Longo, the vice-chairman of the Town Council said town officials will likely move to implement a uniform two-hour limit of spaces across town between 8 a.m, and 6 p.m., whereas now time limits vary. Spaces on side streets to the downtown will also be restriped to create more uniformity and show motorists available spots more easily, Longo said.
Officials are also urging businesses to have employees park their cars in an off-site lot on town-owned land on Water Street during their shifts. By doing so, spaces downtown will be open for customers.
For years, residents and visitors have complained about a lack of parking in downtown. In 2014, Town Meeting approved a proposal to build a 200-space garage on Main Street; however, the project later failed when voters at the polls rejected a referendum that would have financed the construction.
Longo said it’s time for residents to accept that a garage will not be built in downtown.
“That ship has sailed,” he said. “We’re not getting a garage.”
Instead the councilor said there needs to be a change in mentality. If customers are willing to park and walk to their destination, they will find available spaces. For example, if one parks at the middle school, they can get to the downtown businesses in a 4-5 minute walk.
“Part of the problem is nobody wants to walk,” Longo said. “People want instant gratification.”
Yet, Longo continued, if a person was heading to Fanueil Hall in Boston and found a free parking space a half-mile away, “you would park there in a second.”
The parking forum drew business owners from downtown and Greenwood, as well as some residents.
Lisa O’Neill, an owner of Harrington’s Pub, didn’t attend the forum but said she understands the concerns as a driver.
“We’re a little bit outside of the downtown,” she said, and the restaurant has the town lot across the street as well as street parking, so they don’t hear the same complaints and frustrations from their customers as other businesses.
“I don’t find parking a problem for us, but truthfully if I try to go out in Wakefield, then I find it hard,” she added. “If I’m a customer driving around town I can see where the issue is.”