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Planning Board considers commercial district parking plan

Submitted by on 1, February 9, 2009 – 7:45 amNo Comment

The Planning Board is set to review portions of a parking plan for its two main commercial districts tonight, including how they want businesses that don’t offer enough parking to pay their share.

The new plan could lower the amount of parking businesses are required to provide and change how they pay fees for not providing that parking, all in an effort to make sure you can get a spot where you need to when you’re shopping on Park or Webster.

Tonight, the board will consider whether to set up parking assessment districts or continue to charge fees to businesses that don’t provide the required number of spots.

The city started working on this one in 2006. The consultant they hired, Wilbur Smith Associates, surveyed residents and businesses in those two areas about parking and found that private lots owned by businesses were pretty sorely underused, that employees of the two districts’ businesses were parking in prime street spots instead. They also found that shoppers and commuters are parking in nearby residential neighborhoods.

The city has already implemented two of the consultant’s suggestions, increasing parking meter fees in prime locations in the Park Street area and offering employee parking permit spaces in the Civic Center Garage.

They’re also talking about doing a host of other things, including implementing a residential parking permit program, installing signs to help people find the city’s parking lots (the garage is 25 percent full on weekdays, 62 percent on weekends) and reducing parking space requirements for businesses.

For lots (sorry, unintended pun) more, click on the Planning Board’s agenda (it’s item 9A).

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