Controversial Downtown Parking Plan Undergoes More Study

Proposed fee increases for paid parking in downtown Haverhill will undergo further study by the city council’s Administration and Finance committee.

Councilors voted 8 to 0 Tuesday night to send two proposed matching ordinances for east and west sections of the Central Business District to committee review. The city’s recently revised proposal divides the downtown district into two zones in order to allow three councilors with businesses on Merrimack Street to vote on the west zone ordinance. An earlier opinion from the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission determined the three could not vote on the original proposal covering the district as a whole.

A proposal, recently submitted on behalf of the Downtown Parking Commission and the city’s parking consultant, would increase paid parking rates by as much as 100 percent for on-street parking, has been replaced by virtually identical rate increases. They are separated between “central business district-east section” and “central business district-west section,” according to Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini.

The proposals define the east side of downtown as streets and municipal parking lots “within the Central Business District, filed in the office of the city engineer, that are east of, but not including, Essex Street and Washington Square.”

During the council’s March 30 meeting, Fiorentini expressed concern there would not be enough votes to pass fee increases. An ethics ruling determined councilors Melinda Barrett, Thomas Sullivan and Michael S. McGonagle are prohibited from voting on the original proposal for the entire downtown business district. They have businesses within the newly-defined east side and would now only be allowed to vote on the “west side” ordinance.

3 thoughts on “Controversial Downtown Parking Plan Undergoes More Study

  1. I just want an accounting of all the money….what came in and where did it go ? Residents were lied to after 8 years of ” discussion and planning ” by committee to the point of craziness. Now we have a parking plan that has been in the red from the start so why should we pay for their incompetence ? Oh wait……we are already paying for said incompetence now that we know they can’t pay their bills on time

  2. Tim Coco…..with all due respect … please start asking some questions instead of just printing what the mayor and city council want you to know. The Eagle Tribune is a lap dog for the mayor, even when they know he is lying…you’re doing a great job at…. please don’t let WHAV go down that path.

    Tim….ask the mayor what the statistics are concerning ticketing downtown since paid parking was instituted. He sold paid parking on the idea that ticketing would be reduced as a result of drivers being more attentive to how long they park. Then the mayor turned around and used taxpayer dollars to buy a vehicle for traffic enforcement and hired a traffic officer. He “invested” taxpayer dollars in an asset which from the beginning he said wouldn’t be necessary. The mayor sold the idea that ticketing will be reduced and at the same time invest in a process that encourages ticketing!!! And Tim…the results are in. To no surprise ticketing downtown since paid parking was instituted is up….WAY UP !!!! And of course is….because the mayor didn’t invest in a vehicle and a traffic employee and not expect some return on that investment. It goes without saying that mayor is demanding a quota from these new ticketing officers.

    And Tim….please ask the mayor and city council if they have measured how many people now do not go downtown since they instituted paid parking. The number is a big one. And it is something the consultants the mayor hired have NEVER mentioned. But it’s an important statistic and one the mayor and city council should know about when making decisions. What this means is that the city is putting the burden of the cost on the very people they said they didn’t want to inconvenience from the from the beginning….business owners and residents who live downtown.

    Paid parking from the beginning was never about the quality of life for those who work, live and visit downtown. It was about the mayor using a city resource to create yet another revenue stream to fund the failing government he’s running. Just look at all the empty storefronts downtown…what more proof do you need to know that it isn’t working?

  3. What a mess. Seems a monster has been created…west side…east side…central business etc.
    With the hundreds of new residents moving into the apartments recently OK’d by the city with no parking, It only takes one pass by customers to notice no parking spots and then they just drive away never coming back. They find easier places to park for free at other restaurants in Haverhill. JMO