Dates of Watertown Winter Parking Ban Announced, See When it Begins

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Charlie Breitrose A street empty of parked cars due to Watertown’s winter parking ban.

The following announcement was provided by the Watertown Police Department:


Watertown Chief of Police Michael P. Lawn has announced the 2021-2022 Winter Parking Ban dates.

Effective Monday November 29, 2021 and continuing to April 1, 2022 the Winter Parking Ban will be in effect and strictly enforced. The regulation reads in part; “No vehicle may remain on any public way for more than one hour between the hours of 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. all days of the week.”

For residents who lack sufficient off-street parking, the Town allows for temporary parking at any municipal parking lot and other locations noted:

• The police station at 552 Main Street (visitor’s parking lot only)

• Any public school parking lot

• Marion Road parking lot at Victory Field

• O’Connell Park, (lot at the corner of Boylston Street and Mt Auburn Street)

• Grove Street parking lot at Filippello Park (No parking in the spaces along the driveway)

• 101 Morse Street – 14 spaces at the rear of the parking lot (currently being constructed, available once completed)

Please note that these locations may be used free of charge, however vehicles may only use available spaces after 7 p.m. and must be removed by 7 a.m. the following day. Vehicles must be removed from school property no later than 6 a.m. Violators may be towed.

Please remember that parking your vehicle upon any sidewalk is prohibited. Your cooperation in keeping the streets clear of overnight parking and your sidewalks clear of snow and ice will make for safer driving and walking conditions and at the same time, allow the opportunity for the Public Works Department to perform necessary street cleaning and maintenance.

Thank you,
Michael P. Lawn
Chief of Police

18 thoughts on “Dates of Watertown Winter Parking Ban Announced, See When it Begins

  1. The parking ban is bad for the environment and if Watertown is serious about its commitment to the environment it would lift the ban entirely. It doesn’t snow every day and my street hasn’t had maintenance in the entire time I’ve been here. If my street needed maintenance, it’d be simple to notify residents to not park for a couple days so the street can be fixed. Many other towns in the state have snow emergencies, similar to what Watertown can declare (but chooses not to in favor of an all out ban), for storms that have sufficient snow fall. Most snow storms do not require a snow emergency and therefore do not require a 4 month parking ban. Not only is it bad for the environment but disproportionally affects poorer people as they don’t have the easy access to off street parking. The ban has repeatedly been brought to the council for removal and repeatedly dismissed. If Watertown is serious about the environment and helping those in need, it will look at the data available and see a parking ban makes no sense.

    • Completely disagree. Watertown should have a year round parking ban like our neighbors in Belmont. The benefits would be less overcrowding, less illegal apartments, and a big improvement in the quality of life for those that live in areas where the streets are packed with cars.

      Here’s the thing I don’t understand. If you are going to rent an apartment and it only has 1 space for parking but you need two, then the obvious solution is to find another apartment that fits your needs. Same goes for home buying. Why would anyone buy a property that doesn’t have enough parking spots for their needs. Would you buy a 1 bedroom when you actually need a two bedroom? Of course not.

      Over the years the amount of building and overbuilding in this town has increased tremendously. It really shows in areas that are zoned for multi- families. What that does it is increase the amount of cars that get left on the streets. Some streets are barely passible with cars parked on both sides. I also make it a point to never park my car in front of someone else’s property but yet I see cars parked in my area that actually live 3+ houses away. I also see some properties in my area where there are multiple cars that park beyond their property and that indicates to me an overcrowded housing situation.

      I would like to appeal to Chief Lawn to please enforce that parking ban. Every year we get a notice about this and every year I see plenty of cars in our neighborhood that completely disregard this regardless of snow or no snow. Most of these cars belong to rental properties with absentee landlords that have no regard for the neighbors.

      Watertown offers a variety of options for those without parking that include school lots, Victory Field, etc.

      • It sounds like you are just anti-renters—but not everyone can afford a single family home with a driveway. If you are against city living, it’s time to move to the suburbs. Watertown is indeed a city. We need to come up with a viable solution that works for all residents—renters included. The street is PUBLIC property. Home owners to NOT OWN the street, parking spots in front of their home, or the sidewalk or planting strips (that many illegally pave over!). How about people who take public transportation and don’t park on the street are compensated? Why do you have to own a driveway to be treated like a Watertown citizen here? I’m not walking blocks in the dark and cold to avoid a parking ticket when half of the homeowners illegally pave public property and destroy the public planting strips. That’s why our town is no longer tree-lined and our property declines as it looks more and more like a barren treeless parking lot, just concrete and asphalt…no more trees..

      • Completely lackluster logic. At most we should employ an odd/even side parking, and or permit parking like Somerville which has a much higher population density than Watertown, . Your sentiments are anti-renter, ego-centric, and callous.

        Many properties were built decades ago with less drivers/cars on the road in general. My current rental has a 3-4 spot driveway thats single file for a 2 family home. All 4 of us in our unit have a car, where in the area is there housing that can accommodate that? Why should people have to choose between a home and a car when ample street parking exists?

  2. I agree, the parking ban should be enforced year round along with all other parking laws. There are too many illegally parked vehicles in Watertown, such as parking too close to driveways and intersections. Its a safety issue.

  3. The existing overnight parking ban works well and has done so for many years. Trying to implement an hoc parking bans when there is a snow emergency will create a logistical nightmare. We can thank the overnight parking ban for impeccably plowed streets.

    • The overnight parking ban year-round is something that deserves serious consideration, just like we should stop messing with the clocks twice a year. Adopt one standard and keep it.

  4. Every single day about the time when the high school lets out there is a row of at least 10-15 cars parked on the NORTH side of Columbia Rd (west bound direction) between Robbins Rd and Barnard Av, and then some 7-8 cars continuing on to Russell Av, along that entire road there are multiple “NO PARKING THIS SIDE” signs but that doesn’t seem to deter anyone of the drivers from still parking there, not stopping and dropping or picking someone up, but PARKING there.

    Simultaneously the SOUTH side of Columbia road from Common St to Robbins Rd and on to Barnard Av, and all the way up to Russel Av. is filled with double parked vehicles, some of which block the handicap accessible and designated spaces, including the Watertown PD vehicle that is frequently parked in front of the school in the parking space designated for the PD vehicle.

    The school transportation vehicles which are there to transport the students with special needs thus are being forced to park whereever they can as to pick up those students who need the bit of extra care or assistance, which leads them to park right in the middle of the intersection and often times in that process they end up blocking the cross walk for all students who try to cross this road with double and triple parked cars.

    So now between these three rows of vehicles,
    1. the vehicles parked in the designated parking spaces,
    2.the illegally double parked vehicles,
    3.the illegally parked vehicles across the street,
    there is one narrow lane of road open for passage of all traffic, it’s barely passable by a smaller car but absolutely not by any larger vehicles, never mind an emergency vehicle.

    That same scenario is played out on Robbins road, with legally parked vehicles (north bound)and those who stop on the southbound part of the road(illegally) often times right by the “NO PARKING” signs there, as well as on Barnard Av.
    In addition to the inconvenience and increased risks which this creates for all the students as well as the other drivers the inconsiderate behavior by these drivers also seriously impacts the quality of life for the residents who live in that neighborhood, from people playing their radios loud to blocking residents access in and out of their own driveways.

    This could of course all be controlled, but then the officer who is occasionally out there would need to interact with all the operators of those illegally parked vehicles, but with some effort by the PD and a few “reminders” maybe even a few tickets to those who “chose not to understand” the rules of the road, this would be corrected. Why our police department doesn’t at least make an effort to regulate this is a mystery. But I seriously doubt that it is because they don’t know about this going on. After all they already have an officer there who sees the situation play out daily. Not only that but also a few of the students parents are Watertown PD employees, some of whom also contribute to the whole double park as well as park where “not permitted”.

  5. The Watertown parking ban is outdated and unnecessary and as someone stated above, it works against anyone who cannot afford a single family home and a 2 car driveway. What if people have guests for God’s sake? You cannot have someone stay overnight in your house and visit for the holidays unless you have a multi car-driveway? It’s like we are living in the early 1900s. Do we need a permission slip to have our significant other sleep over if they have a separate car???? The thing that is MOST upsetting, however —and this was also stated by the person above, is the detriment to our public green space. On nearly EVERY street in Watertown, in order to accommodate this ridiculous parking ban, people park on sidewalks, destroy curbs, pave over public planting strips that should instead accommodate trees (to absorb water and deter flooding, provide public shade for our overheating town), and park on tree roots and destroy the few remaining public shade trees we have. Why can’t the town consider this modification: Even all year round—-on the first and 3rd week of the month, only odd side parking is allowed. On the 2nd and 4th week—> even side of the street parking. Then the supposed street cleaners could do their thing, and everyone is happy. And if it snows, go for it, declare a no street parking snow emergency!! I think it’s unbelievable that people who rent and need to park somewhere get ticketed, but there are absolutely NO repercussions AT ALL for home owners who throw down toxic asphalt, killing trees, poisoning our rivers, causing flooding, and who extend their driveways illegally or create illegal parking on sidewalks or public planting strips, or who destroy curbs that should protect public plantings and prevent root crushing. Intact curbs provide pedestrian and handicap access along sidewalks without people having to enter the streets—- but we don’t have any curbs, we just let people pave their own illegal parking spots in public property and fine people who park outside their apartment because they don’t want to walk 30 minutes alone in the dark at 1am after they park at the nearest school.

  6. Now that we are “A City”, we should follow our Sister City, Waltham, and only have to not park on the street during a snow storm, which makes sense. The even/odd parking works well also and allows fir clean up and easier driving passage. Also, if you are only giving two parking spaces, then stop allowing NEW 3 bedroom + structures. If you have a family with a child, you now have three cars and forget overnight guests!!

  7. I’d really like to see a modification of the parking ban at least discussed in a public town meeting…but it doesn’t seem like our town representatives are really listening. It’s time to step info 2021, Watertown! Let’s make changes that support our citizens and our planet.

  8. I support the overnight parking ban though would be open to some permit only parking in certain locations. This is due to many reasons: the roads in Watertown are narrow and emergency vehicles have issues now getting through the streets, parking does impede overcrowded housing(this is a big problem in Brighton and there is no way to enforce , there have been many reports on this issue), parking on the street encourages more cars in Watertown not less. I have a 3 bedroom and 1 car btw so there the assumption that 3bedrooms = 3 cars not really true. If folks are promoting less car in Watertown then less parking may be one method to achieve this. I rented in Watertown for years and shuffled cars back and forth as I knew there was limited parking at my rental. It is a pain to do this thus the consideration for some permit only parking. Permits would allow for only a certain amount per household and would allow those who actually live in the home, parking there(or giving their permit to their guest).

  9. Watertown ranks 8th in population density in the entire state of Massachusetts, and it’s getting worse. There are 35,000 plus people that we know of living in less than 4 square miles. Its streets are clogged with cars and SUV’s day and night. I will fiercely oppose any further relaxation of on street parking restrictions and in fact, I intend to push for stricter enforcement of exiting regulations. The side streets have become 24/7 parking lots for cars that are far too many in number for the available off-street parking. It has become more than just a safety issue and is now a major quality-of-life concern. There are far too many illegal and over rented apartments that are contributing to this problem. AND IT IS A PROBLEM! For those residents that live in single family only neighborhoods, good for you! For those of us who own homes in mixed residential neighborhoods, it has become intolerable. Streets are impassible at times and getting service or deliveries at our homes will almost always block the streets due to parked cars on both sides. I have had enough with cars parked in front of my driveway partially blocking my access and vision to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. The streets are too narrow and the house lots are too small for what has now become the norm. I see 4 or more cars per rental unit commonly. This isn’t right. My taxes continue to go up (another 4.3% projected increase next year) and the quality of life here continues to decline.  Neighborhoods are being ruined by over development and too many people living in too little space. Older single-family homes continue to be demolished and replaced with oversized multi-unit condominiums that bring more cars onto the streets. These are residential side streets not around the clock parking lots. The parking regulation is for 2 hrs. maximum and should be enforced. I have seen cars and trucks left on the streets for days and even for over a week at a time routinely without ever being moved. People make a conscious decision to purchase a home or rent one with the available parking that it has to offer. If it’s not enough, then you made the wrong decision to live there.

  10. I live on Waverley Ave. in the senior housing building across from the middle school, I am not fortunate enough yet to have a parking space on the property as there are 120 apartments here and maybe 30 parking spaces? Even though I only have to drive into the lot across the street, I now have to get up a full hour before I normally would have to remove my car from the school lot. Why they put the time at 6 AM is beyond me, I don’t think any of the school employees are arriving at that time to start their day…I think only enforcing the parking ban during snow emergencies is the best solution, I get a text and an email and a voice mail whenever there’s a major event coming already, so it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to just robo call people when there’s a big snow storm coming, otherwise, let me park on the street overnight. What difference does it make? We’re allowed to park on the street in the warm weather, why does the cold weather require a change?

  11. Even/Odd week parking will leave more room on the streets, and sure, I’d be up for parking permits for residents only too, sure, let’s consider that. These “illegal” apartments keep getting mentioned??!!—-sounds like you are blaming renters /Watertown citizens who don’t live in single family homes with driveways and not the developers. We need some sort of modification— whether it is permits for people with absolutely no parking, or one side of the street parking to alleviate unpassability—-but asking people (and their guests) to park blocks away and walk home in the dark is unreasonable. And lastly, I agree with the statement above about the public space in Watertown (planting strips etc.) that is sadly getting destroyed by people who make illegal parking spots on public property where there should be tree lined streets —-another issue that disproportionately affects people who live in the high density areas. Watertown definitely needs to hear about this from all sides and make a plan to modify—- a plan that updates, alleviates, and protects public green space.

  12. 4 cars in one unit, how many in the other unit, 3-4 single stack driveway. I’d rent on Arsenal with the garage plenty of room there

  13. ( Lengthy, but offering some solutions & to be ADA compliant!)

    From reading all these comments, I will try to be as rational and TRY objectivity as much as I can, because this personally affects me. So my building ( Hamilton Place ) in Main Street, only allows one parking spot, I live in a two bedroom apartment with 2 separate baths, so only having one spot makes ZERO sense. I already got sick from getting lost last night trying to find parking in the cold & walking back home, as I am relatively a new Massachusetts resident. And as a mental health professional it puts me in a tough spot showing to work coughing as there is a pandemic out there.

    With the winter upon us, is vital to think of our fellow neighbors, ( not easy, but we should) the “me mentality” will not get us anywhere— we are all struggling to a certain degree due to COVID, but some fellow neighbors in ADDITION, have different physical & mental needs, or age. What if you fall in the winter? And now you have to use clutches to get to your car at the crack of dawn in freezing weather? Or you’re a much older neighbor affected by this? I also hear all of you having property and having it blocked by other cars, that absolutely horrendous to feel crammed in your own property.

    SOLUTIONS!! : what about paying for a parking pass? IN ADDITION to alternate sides of the streets? Implementing this can also add for funding for construction of medium to small lots in Watertown for RESIDENTS. I mean, all it would take is our name, & proof of residence. —We have family coming for the holidays too, then what? It feels pretty “homeless” here to scavenge for parking in your own city in the cold weather. Something has to give, especially now that we are moving from manager to mayor as we are officially a city.

    It’s not an all or nothing kind of deal, where only one side gets its way. If some of us are pleased, a chunk won’t be, & it becomes a lose lose situation, bc we “live together” hehe 🙂

    Just throwing ideas out there. Any other fellow residents have suggestions for SOLUTIONS ? so we can come to an agreement & get rid of the kinks during the process. BUT SOMETHING has to be in place. Because it is also NOT, ADA friendly & that can add fines to the city, it is not just COVID or the winter or parking— is not being accessible to others that live a different life with needed physical & mental accommodations, that are also legitimate Watertown residents.

    All our frustrations are absolutely valid so I certainly see that and acknowledge this. But The fighting will get nowhere and we’ll be here 3 years from today. Solutions! Bc the winter is BITTER.

    Optimistic Neighbor,

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