Parking changes coming July 1

Jun 11, 2019 by

Published in the June 11, 2019 edition.

By MARK SARDELLA

WAKEFIELD — With changes to parking time limits as well as the addition of civilian parking enforcement personnel coming July 1, Police Chief Steven Skory appeared before the Town Council last night to talk about some additional tweaks to the downtown parking plan.

Most parking time limits in the downtown area will be changing from one hour to two hours, but Skory said that merchants have expressed concern that some longer-term parking is needed to accommodate both business owners and customers.

Skory noted that there are currently five spaces on one side of Common Street dedicated to merchant long-term parking. The chief proposed using both sides of Common Street from the Rockery to Church Street for that purpose. He said that would create 23 long-term (four hour) parking spaces for customers as well as all-day parking for merchants.

Skory also pointed to eight town-owned spaces on Union Street just off Princess Street that could be designated as long-term parking.

The town-owned lot next to Omelette Headquarters on Water Street (which the town will be paving at some point) will continue to be used for long-term merchant parking, Skory said, as will three spaces in the Smith Street municipal lot and three spaces on Main Street just south of CVS.

In total, Skory said, the plan will create more than 70 long-term parking spaces for both customers and merchants. The rest of the downtown spaces will have two-hour limits, with seven 15-minute spaces scattered through the downtown.

Councilor Ann Santos said that she assumed that some publicity would be done in advance of the changes to remind the public. Skory said that there is always a period of adjustment to these kinds of changes, but anticipated that by mid-August the town would have a good idea of what is working well and what might need to be adjusted.

Chairman Edward Dombroski added that any needed changes can easily be made by changing signage.

The Town Council voted to approve the parking plan as presented by Skory.

Also last night, Dombroski addressed parking and other concerns related to the planned downtown infrastructure project called “Envision Wakefield.” In May, Town Meeting approved $390,000 to continue with Phase II of the design that is expected to lead to a $15 million state/federally-funded downtown revitalization project.

Dombroski said that he wanted to dispel some misconceptions about the planned change to parallel parking in some parts of the downtown. He said that the spaces would be striped and would be of ample size to accommodate any vehicle.

He also addressed the issue of bike lanes, which he noted have been a source of some concern. He acknowledged that bike lanes are a requirement for virtually any MassDOT-funded project but offered assurances that the local project is still in the planning stages and options are still being explored for exactly how bike lanes will be incorporated.

Dombroski introduced a short video created by the town’s Communications Director Jennifer McDonald showing the planned changes to the middle section of the downtown area, from Water Street to the Rockery. He said this and several other videos showing plans for the various areas covered under the Envision Wakefield project would be available on the towns web site today.

There was some disagreement among board members as to when the videos would be posted, but Dombroski confirmed after the meeting that the videos would be available today on the town’s web site.

The chairman also noted that the next public information session related to the Envision Wakefield project will be on June 18 at 7 p.m. at the Americal Civic Center.

Councilor Jonathan Chines suggested announcing a schedule of public sessions for the next several months to allow residents to plan ahead. Dombroski pointed out that there likely wouldn’t be public forums held during the summer months of July and August and that even after things ramp up again in the fall, some of the scheduling would be dictated by MassDOT.

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