See the Recommendations of the Watertown Parking Plan

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Nenyedi at Creative Commons

A parking consultant recommends replacing Watertown's current parking meters with "smart" meters that offer a range of payment options.

A parking consultant recommends replacing Watertown’s current parking meters with “smart” meters that offer a range of payment options. This is one of many recommendations in the Watertown Parking Management Plan.

Town officials recently released the final version of the Watertown Parking Management Plan, which included 10 recommendations, including adding high tech meters, adding meters in some places, removing them in others, and having different priced depending on the demand.

The recommendations were developed by Stantec, the consultant hired by the town to look at parking in Watertown’s major commercial districts: Watertown Square and Coolidge Square. They also held public meetings to hear from residents and workers.

Upgrade Parking Payment Technology

The top recommendation is to replace the old meters, that only take coins, with high tech meters that take multiple types of payments, including a cell phone app. They would also have license plate recognition technology to help with enforcement.

Price & Regulate to Manage Parking Demand

Creating tiered pricing zones in Watertown and Coolidge squares is another recommendation. The highest prices would be for the spots that are most in demand, and the prices would be reduced in low-demand areas. Currently meters are 50 cents per hour, and the proposal calls for $1 per hour in the most desirable spots, and 50 cents an hour in lower demand metered spots.

In the proposal, consultants said the town should consider adding parking on some streets, such as Summer Street, Cross Street near the Fire Station and North Beacon Street just east of Watertown Square. They recommend removing parking on Cross Street between Main and Pleasant streets.

The recommendation also calls for removing the time limit for metered and other paid parking spots, and to re-examine the prices periodically to adjust with demand.

Consider Re-introducing Parking in Key Areas

Adding more parking spaces in certain areas is another recommendation. The study suggests adding spaces during off-peak hours on Mt. Auburn Street and Main Street on the block just off of the Watertown Square intersection.

Shared Parking in Privately Owned Lots

The study found that while public parking lots and street parking right near stores were heavily used, many privately-owned lots in Watertown Square and Coolidge Square were mostly empty. The study recommends that the town explore ways of encouraging the owners of the private lots to open them to some public use.

This could be done by giving them incentives, such as snow clearance, shared meter revenue, and sign installation. The agreements could include restrictions, such as public parking only during certain hours.

Other recommendations include:

  • Strongly Identify Municipal Parking Lots by Branding and Wayfinding
  • Invest in Infrastructure Upgrades to Municipal Parking Lots
  • Improve Wayfinding and Signage
  • Re-Direct Employee Parking Demand
  • Reduce Parking Demand by Enhancing Access for Non-Vehicle Modes
  • Adjust Parking & Zoning Standards to Encourage Investment

See the entire Watertown Parking Management plan by clicking here.

5 thoughts on “See the Recommendations of the Watertown Parking Plan

  1. We’ve lost two more businesses on Main St. – the florist closest to the square and the phone store too. If the meters cost more in that area, more will probably follow.

    Waltham allows 2 hours of parking at certain meters and so does Brookline. Then you have to move to another block. That allows most people to do their business conveniently and not tie up the spots all day.

    Newton has 2 small convenient free parking lots in the Nonantum area for the local businesses on Watertown St. Their businesses are thriving.

    I agree with the removal of parking on Cross St. going towards Pleasant St. That should allow cars to make a right on to Pleasant St. and free up some of the back up at that intersection and Main St. too.

  2. If we do not have time constraints on the parking near square then this will become defacto parking for the bus(maybe a garage over at the station should be explored to help with parking for commuters?). 2hrs is reasonable.

    • I agree with not removing any time limits on the meters because as you point out, those spots will be taken over by commuters from outside the community in order
      to take the bus lines into work. At most, the time limits should be capped at 6… maybe 8 hours.

      As far as opening up private lots for public parking. That could be a hit or a miss.
      How will enforcement work? I doubt parking enforcement, the cops can legally ticket/cite offenders on private property. Will it be up to the business owners to monitor their lots, and have offenders towed if necessary?

      Guaranteed there will be troublesome parkers that won’t abide by the rules,create problems for the business owners, and ruin things for everyone else.

  3. “They also held public meetings to hear from residents and workers.”?
    I live in Watertown Sq. and I never heard or saw any notice of any public meeting around parking ideas. If there was we could have saved a lot of money wasted on the “consultant”.
    Just curious, how much did it cost for these few simple ideas?
    How much more is it going to cost for these high tech meters?
    What is the goals for these meters? What about the fact that many streets behind the library don’t have sidewalks or are too narrow for 2 lane traffic.
    It seems there needs to be someone or a committee who is responsible for a comprehensive roadway plan covering parking, making some or our streets which are too narrow one-way, parking or no parking, right turn on red etc. and that can make recommendations WITH WRITTEN PUBLIC INPUT to the town council for final decisions.

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