Haverhill Council Supports Exploring Off-Street Parking Ideas at Schools, Train Station

Downtown Haverhill commuter rail stop. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Finding off-street parking in Haverhill, particularly during a snowy winter, can be a daunting task.

In an attempt to alleviate that problem, Haverhill City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua presented two ideas at Tuesday night’s council meeting. The first was to allow parking in neighborhood school parking lots.

“During the times of snow emergencies, I would like to suggest that we encourage the neighbors and the residents to utilize the city school parking lot, which is not used during the evening hours and weekends especially,” he said.

The second part of his plan calls for contacting the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority and asking for help to allow residents to park overnight in the MBTA lot on Washington Avenue when needed.

Councilors agreed both ideas offer some relief, but there are some problems. For example, Councilor William J. Macek said, the MBTA has historically been reluctant to allow free parking in its lots. As for parking is school lots, he said it is not the Council’s decision to make.

“We don’t control the schools. The school parking lots are under the jurisdiction of the School Committee and I think a recommendation to the School Committee is about as far as I could go,” he said.

Ultimately, the Council agreed to send a letter to Mayor James J. Fiorentini, in his role as chairman of the School Committee, asking him to present the idea to that committee. They also voted unanimously to ask the mayor to contact the Transit Authority to ask about parking in the MBTA lot.

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