Council Tips Off Drivers to Fee-Free Downtown Parking Spots

An existing downtown parking meter. (WHAV News file photograph.)

A downtown Haverhill parking meter

If you want to park free in downtown Haverhill, find a meter that’s in the shade.

That was the message delivered, albeit unintentionally, as city councilors discussed malfunctioning parking meters at their Tuesday night meeting.

Councilor Mary Ellen Daly-O’Brien updated her colleagues on the efforts of parking management firm LAZ Parking to replace dead batteries in a number of malfunctioning parking kiosks.

The city uses 41 kiosks scattered throughout the downtown to collect parking fees. The meters, which are more than four years old, are equipped with two batteries that have a lifespan of about five years, the councilor explained.

One of the two batteries in each meter is powered by solar energy. As a result, meters that sit in the shade have failed to work properly. Daly-O’Brien said LAZ has identified eight such meters, located on Essex, Washington and Wingate streets.

The company is replacing meter batteries in increments, Daly-O’Brien said.

“So far, we’ve replaced six batteries. And the reason they’ve only replaced six batteries is because they want to make sure the battery they are using to replace is actually going to function. They don’t want to buy 41 batteries, times two, and not have the batteries function,” she said.

Daly-O’Brien estimated the full battery replacement project will take a month or two to complete.

But City Councilor William J. Macek asked what drivers should do when they encounter a meter that isn’t working. Daly-O’Brien gave an answer that could as well have come from any driver.

“Actually, I’ve been the victim of that myself. And, I just kind of hold my breath and say a prayer and, I figure, well, if I do get a ticket, I’m going to appeal it.”

Daly-O’Brien said the locations of the inoperable meters is well known, “especially the one in front of Wang’s. I don’t think they even give a ticket anymore.”

She said the meter in front of Wang’s Table restaurant is among those located in the shade.

Macek pointed out the unintended consequence of the discussion was to tell people where they could park free for an extended period.

“It’s not even fair to the people who do go to the working equipment because the other half doesn’t have to pay,” he said.

Councilors agreed unanimously with a request by Macek asking Mayor James J. Fiorentini to coordinate a meeting with Public Works Director Michael Stankovich and LAZ Parking to speed the process.




3 thoughts on “Council Tips Off Drivers to Fee-Free Downtown Parking Spots

  1. The politicians associated with The City of Haverhill are THE GANG THAT CAN’T SHOOT STRAIGHT! Who’d have thought that a parking system would be plagued by such incompetence! Not only from the company that installed and services the meters, but also the behavior and thought process demonstrated by our own politicians. If the revenue from these meters is so important to The City, didn’t anyone ask any questions when the contract was signed and at the time these meters were installed? Seems quite basic to me!

    I either don’t park downtown, or I make my arrangements by phone. To fool around with a meter that doesn’t work and no one can figure out why, doesn’t work for me — is not something I want to waste my time with.

  2. It does not make any sense at all what Daly-O’Brien said about the batteries. I am sure she is just regurgitating what she was told by the company but it makes no sense. Any freshman science class student knows you can test batteries to see if they are still good. So why would they only replace a few “to see if they function”? Do these people not know how to test their own machines to see if they work and / or are charging the batteries ? They are bullshitting you councilor. They don’t want to spend the money now. Take a battery and bring it up to Batteries Plus on Rt 28 in Salem NH. They will be happy to test it for you. They could test that meter too to see if it is working. Maybe you can tell the company to use their services and then get back to business. Also, who was the Einstein who put the meter where there is no sun ?? Brilliant ! The lunacy is amazing.

    • Jack, it’s called INCOMPETENCE!
      Anyone with just basic, minimal business experience would have had written commitments in the contract with LAZ Parking to have enough on-hand inventory to replace all of the batteries, all of the time. And there should have been written financial penalties in the contract for every day that a meter is not functioning. But the City of Haverhill has mayor failurentini signing the contracts, so you can just add this to the long list of his failures managing the city.

      Jack, you are so right about Daly O’Brien being lied to. The insane part of her comments is she doesn’t even know it.
      I wonder if this latest public display of her incompetence will win her another Democrat Of The Year Award ?