The town , and according to the results, the Board of Selectmen and Planning Board were told that the lack of parking is hurting retail and restaurant sales and makes it difficult for clients to reach professional services.
To combat those issues, the town is moving towards a parking management plan that would include pay stations around the town center and in the parking lots.
“We recommend having pay stations,” said Lance Grenzeback, Chairman of the Planning Board. “They would replace the signs around town and improve the design of the center.”
Even though the plan is expected to bring in $40,000, the board and Grenzeback said that the goal of the plan is not to generate extra revenue.
“The point of the study is to solve the parking problem in town,” said Selectmen chair, Forrest Fontana. “If there’s a surplus they would be reinvested into the assets of the town.”
The next step is to hold public hearings regarding the parking plan.
Why a parking plan?
According to the draft report, the town needs a parking plan to “ensure the economic vitality of the town’s commercial center.” The town is also losing state and federal aid because of the lack of new development, better parking management, the report said, could “generate new growth, helping to keep property taxes down.”
What’s the problem?
Center employees are using the close spaces “needed to support high-turnover retail customer sales.” Also, the parking regulations are complex and confusing, the commuter lot is underpriced, the sidewalks are dirty and enforcement is limited, according to the report.
What does the plan do?
- Provide free 1-hour parking in the center.
- Provides free 90-minute parking in the municipal center.
- Provides pay-and-display parking areas for those who will park longer.
- Provides free all-day parking permits to Town Center employees. Those spots will away from the Center (Shore Rd, Mt. Vernon).
- Provides commuter parking at Wedgemere and Winchester Center at the same rate as other commuter lots (potentially $4/day).
- Simplifies and standardizes parking regulations.
- Increases enforcement against scofflaws.
The plan is expected to cover its cost and could generate revenue for a potential business-improvement district plan.