Conceding that the city's comprehensive parking plan is working, City Councilors voted Thursday to cut the hours in half for a block on Lafayette Street in front of the Ace Hardware store and several other businesses.
Ward 2 Councilor Michael Sosnowski, no fan of the comprehensive parking plan the council approved last year, said it appears that in general the plan is working. He noted that the garages and city-owned lots, which are cheaper than parking on the street, are full and most blocks have at least one open parking space, which was a goal of the plan.
But Sosnowski credited the price of parking on the streets for the change in parking behavior. He argued that the number of hours allowed was less of a contributing factor.
Most street parking spaces in downtown are four hours, which create problems for some businesses, like those on Lafayette Street at Dodge Street.
Councilor-at-Large Arthur Sargent said the four-hour or even a two-hour limit hurts many businesses. Parking on some streets should be limited to 15 or 30 minutes, he said.
The police department and the Driscoll administration oppose changing the comprehensive plan until it has more time to prove whether it is working or not.
The council is expected to review the comprehensive parking plan this fall and enact some changes.
Only Councilor-at-Large Tom Furey voted against the change from four to two hours parking limits on Lafayette Street.
Several councilors noted that six of the employees of the hardware store had bought zone parking passes recently and now parked all day on Dodge Street. Previously they had parked on Lafayette Street and fed the meters all day.
"They were contributing to the problem. Now they are not," said Ward 1 Councilor Robert McCarthy.
Tour Buses Are Too Long
October is not a good month to make changes in parking for tour buses, councilors agreed. But they voted Thursday to eliminate one of the three bus parking spots on Derby Street at New Liberty Street.
"It is becoming a hazard," said Ward 1 Councilor Robert McCarthy.
Tour buses are getting longer, he said, and they are creating a danger to pedestrians crossing Derby at New Liberty.
The city will study the issue for 60 days and then decide if all three bus parking spots should be eliminated and another place identified for the buses, as recommended by the Police Department.
Meters would be installed in place of the bus parking spots.
Shopping Carts A Nuisance
Shopping carts, stolen from grocery stores and abandoned in neighborhoods, are becoming a "nuisance," said Ward 4 Councilor Jerry Ryan.
"It is getting out of control," Ryan said.
Working through the Committee on Licenses, Ordinances and Legal Affairs, Ryan and Sosnowski have developed a new law, modeled after a similar city of Revere measure, that would give the Department of Public Works the authority to pick up the wayward carriages and store them until the store that owns them can collect them.
The stores would be charged $25 to collect their carriages.