While the Green Line Extension (GLX) will bring greater accessibility to downtown Boston, we also need to think strategically as a community on the impact that it will have on our streets and on our residents’ ability to park. South Medford and the Hillside neighborhoods in particular are anticipated to have the greatest impact on both traffic and parking. One solution that residents, as well as the city council have been discussing and advocating for over the past several years, is implementing an area-wide resident permit parking policy with strict and consistent enforcement and the ability for streets to opt out.
In 2017, the city’s “Linkage Committee” spent $20,000 to be used to perform a study of area-wide residential permit parking. After that vote, three public meetings were held in February, April and June of 2017. Unfortunately, the momentum created at those meetings fell flat as no new policies have been implemented to date and parking enforcement in South Medford and the Hillside neighborhoods - where 80-90% is currently restricted to permit parking only - is not working. Specifically, residents have complained about cars parked longer than 48 hours with a visitor pass in the window or an abundant use of expired parking passes. Simple changes such as incorporating the address of the person who the visitor pass is issued to and annual color changes must be implemented to make enforcement more efficient.
Despite the residents and city council’s numerous requests to implement area-wide permit parking, it has never moved forward because it has been stalled countless times for inexplicable reasons by the Mayor’s office. These recommendations have been presented numerous times to the city’s “traffic commission” and as recently as on April 16, 2019 through paper 19-342, and again during budget hearings in June 2019 we were told that the Mayor does not have an update yet. These changes - which were pushed forward by the city council as a direct response to our residents’ requests – are long overdue. With proper implementation, we can help correct the current parking problems and prevent the potential parking problems when the GLX starts operations in 2021.
Like our neighbors in Somerville, Malden and Cambridge who offer Seniors Free Parking permits/visitor Passes, I propose we follow their example and offer the same to our Medford Seniors.
In order to fund these important changes, I propose that the additional local car registration fees and the additional enforcement fees generated, be used for more consistent street sweeping in those areas, such as bimonthly with proper signage rather than twice per year on an unreliable schedule.
I call on our administration to implement sector wide permit parking within the next six months because our neighborhoods desperately need these changes for their quality of life as it relates to parking.