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City Councilors Take On Parking Headaches

Council agrees to cut parking time allowed on Lafayette Street from four to two hours, will review comprehensive parking plan in coming weeks.

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.

windpower October 12, 2012 at 12:02 PM
When Counciler Sargent speaks people listen . When Furey speaks people ,well , they know from where his words come from . Time to cut his strings from the front office . As for parking ,yes there should be 1/2 hour limits And stop the $20 rip off on weekends .
Diana lugo October 12, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Ya this means the residents of harbor street can't park cause the patrons of the businesses is Lafayette dont want to pay meters. SO SCREW US COUNCILOR. Peabody street have a resident only Sign but harbor street does not, not fare
Anita Armell October 12, 2012 at 12:59 PM
In Europe they have a qtr fee..slot attached to ea wagon and people use it Or get no cart. Upon putting groceries in cart they return wagon to designated area ..push carts together and use the lever from a previous cart to retrieve the coin. WORKS! No carts in spaces or elsewhere....
gene October 12, 2012 at 01:05 PM
This Council is just AWFUL! Parking is bad so let's reduce the number of bus spaces. That way we can have more cars come into the city. Absurd! Who says buses are getting longer? Tour buses look the same to me. Too much governance by the seat of the pants and not enough based upon factual evidence. As for Mumbles Furey - who keeps voting him in? You get what you ask for! He's never owned property, yet he's the first one in line to pile taxes on.
Salem is my home October 12, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Diana, perhaps your Councilor could ask to change your street to Resident Only parking? That would be a fair solution for you!
john October 12, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Maybe we should pay for another parking study??? The whole thing is nonsense. It's a money grab by the city that has blown up in their face and now they have fallen on their face.A clear case of over thinking.
Dan Faust October 12, 2012 at 08:20 PM
I live downtown and the parking is worse than it's ever been. I have a parking pass for south harbor garage and its always full because of the $.25 an hour garage fee and I can't find a place on the street at all times of the day the parking plan is a complete disaster.
Diane H October 12, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Hard to believe what you read sometimes....Let's see, this comprehensive parking plan that we clearly paid too much for, has been tweaked how many times now??? Were downtown businesses consulted through a survey process???...how about a focus group??? Ok, how about looking at what type of businesses are clustered on certain blocks that may need some consideration before launching this so called "comprehensive" parking plan! Ace Hardware and Banville Optical are in the same position as Steve's Market...Most customers are probably in and out within 15-30 minutes but yet we put 4 hours on the meters???? On to the shopping carts...People steal them, use them to bring their groceries etc home, use them to search for and collect returnable bottles and then abandon them...Let's not go after the thieves and litter bugs...let's charge the stores $25 bucks to go collect them???? Why not also charge them a storage fee for each day we house them prior to them being picked up...This city gets more ridiculous with each passing day!
john October 12, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Dan,just wondering if you are a condo owner? Either way I see this as a problem created by the city.Condos were allowed to be built without parking,not your fault. However,when buying a condo one should consider parking.I have sympathy for those who bought into such a situation but don't think all taxpayers should pay to correct it.
DBL October 13, 2012 at 12:17 AM
The comprehensive parking plan is working for who? Working for the high priced "consultants" who crafted this plan? For the mayor, who is driving the people who live in Salem away from the downtown area to make room for the tourists? For the extra people hired to write tickets? Who is it not working for? The hard working people who live, work and pay taxes in this city and can't even enjoy it and the business owners who apparently had no say in the whole process.
Letty C October 13, 2012 at 06:01 AM
AMEN, Denise! I got a $25. parking ticket the other morning because I had to park across my street (where one has to purchase a monthly pass). Why? Because the out of state guests of The Derby Inn were parked all along the redidential side of the street with only 2 Resident Parking spaces! I pay to have a Resident Pass for the rare Occasion I get a resident space. Out of state guests of the inn park for free. To add salt to the wound--the city dufuses replaced the old Resident Parking signs with ones that say Resident Parking 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. I was told this was a mistake, but they have yet to be changed. When can we vote Driscoll out? Trick or Treat with the Mayor? Where's the Treat? Going to her minions with clipboards (Gavin, that means YOU). HOPEFULLY, this will be my last October in Shamelem. Bittersweet, but the Mayhem has become intolerable.
Ed Carroll October 16, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Make downtown a pedestrian only area with increased trolly transportation. Along with the 1000 car garage at the depot,build another parking garage to hold another 1000 cars at the coal plant site.
gene October 16, 2012 at 02:52 PM
The mall is supposed to be pedestrian only at certain times of the day yet the police look the other way. There has been no enforcement of the vehicle ban, from 11am - 1pm, for decades. What is that sign at the entrance to mall there for?

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