The North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council is getting more involved in the parking and traffic situation in the North End. The new Parking and Traffic Committee is being chaired by Ryan Kenny, a second year member of the council. To kick off their efforts, the committee heard from James Mansfield, Community Affairs Director from the Boston Transportation Department at this week’s council meeting.
Parking tickets are the second largest revenue source for the City of Boston after property taxes. About 90% of tickets are paid and the revenue goes into the City’s general fund. BTD said they cannot bring North End ticket revenue back just to the neighborhood. There are about 170 enforcement officers in the city. The council asked why it seems there are only 2 or so in the North End given the number of persistent violations.
BTD’s Mansfield said they will start tracking tickets in the North End. Enforcement generally stops at 6:00 p.m. on most nights except for Saturdays when meter officers are on the job until 8:00 p.m.
Traffic and Parking For Special Events
BTD said they would set up a notification program so that the committee was aware of traffic changes in the neighborhood, including those for special events. Much of the discussion surrounded how BTD works with the Special Events office on events such as the recent filming of the “Kitchen Nightmares” show at Davide Restaurant on Commercial Street. (See “Kitchen Nightmares – Not a Dream”).
BTD said they were not aware of the “Kitchen Nightmares” filming before complaints started coming into City Hall. The council expressed concern regarding the lack of communication. President Stephen Passacantilli said he spoke with Acting Commissioner of Special Events, Chris Cook, who said there was no advance notice because no streets were expected to be closed. Although 15+ resident parking spots were used, no parking vouchers were offered to residents either.
On the issue of resident parking, BTD considers this “public parking.” Therefore, anyone that lives in the North End with a registered vehicle can get a free resident parking sticker that needs to be renewed annually.
According to a recent Globe article, there are 4,163 active resident stickers in the North End as of September 2010. It is generally believed the North End has a little over 1,000 resident parking spaces.
BTD said they are looking at adding more resident spaces along the Greenway corridor. The agency is cautious about neighborhood boundaries because many West End residents also want to park on North End streets.
David Marx asked about the two-year duration of resident stickers that was recently reduced from five years. The concern is that parkers no longer living in the neighborhood still park here. BTD’s Mansfield said that once a registration is changed at Motor Vehicles, the sticker is automatically revoked.
Resident Anne Pistorio asked why commercial vehicles are allowed to park in resident spaces. BTD said the law allows contractors to use resident spaces for up to 2 hours. This is intended to allow for work to be done inside residential buildings such as plumbers, electricians and cable workers. Mario Alfano noted that many commercial vehicles are parking at night, well after working hours.
BTD’s Mansfield said that a one-way concept for Hanover Street is under serious consideration inside City Hall.
Stephen Passacantilli said truck drivers are particularly troublesome because they don’t care how many tickets they receive. He asked BTD to tow these vehicles to send a message. He also noted that there are too many commercial vehicles doing deliveries past noon on Hanover Street.
Mansfield said that BTD is particularly interested in targeting enforcement where there are public safety concerns.
Parking enforcement issues can be reported to the Boston Transportation Department at 617-635-3125 or through the Mayor’s hotline at cityofboston.gov.
NEWNC’s Parking & Traffic Committee intends to follow-up on these issues in future meetings.