Haverhill Councilors Seek to Limit Use of Parking Spaces by Construction Workers

Haverhill City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua. (WHAV News file photograph by Jay Saulnier)

Workers at downtown construction projects are tying up hard-to-find on-street and garage parking, and Haverhill city councilors are hoping to find a solution.

Led by Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua, members voted Tuesday night to have its Planning and Development Committee review the problem and come up with solutions. Over the long-term, they said, new parking garages may be required. Bevilacqua summed up the problem.

“When you think about the fact there are very few on-street spaces and very few spaces in the parking lots, when construction vehicles take a number of them, it makes it very, very difficult,” Bevilacqua said.

City Councilor Melinda E. Barrett.

He noted contractors at the Chen Building, 98 Essex St., take up the entire frontage of the building during construction hours. Worse, he said, they also place cones on the street to reserve those spaces at night and on weekends. He proposed allowing workers to use street spaces only between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday-Friday; charge a parking fee when building permits are issued; and use resulting money for downtown improvements.

Councilor Melinda E. Barrett pointed out a dumpster in front of the former Chit Chat, 103 Washington St., adds to the problem. She said she is reluctant to adopt Bevilacqua’s suggestion, however, because she doesn’t want to “condone” use of spaces by construction crews and equipment.

Haverhill City Councilor William J. Macek. (WHAV News photograph by Jay Saulnier.)

Before matters become worse, Councilor William J. Macek said it is time to build another parking garage—possible within the Washington-Wingate Parking Lot—and ask the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority to add two stories to its garage near Railroad Square.

“If we have some vision rather than always dealing with a crisis, we’re approaching the need—especially with residential permits being sold, business permits being sold, and new businesses and restaurants coming into the downtown,” he said.

Councilors voted unanimously to incorporate all of the suggestions and bring them before their Planning and Development Committee.

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