NEWBURYPORT — Starting next week, there will be a big change to parking on the city's waterfront.
Next Tuesday, visitors looking to park in the lot owned by the Waterfront Trust will have to pay — 24 hours a day, seven days a week and all holidays. The effort is expected to bring in thousands of dollars in revenue, not to mention the revenue from parking tickets issued to non-payers.
The Waterfront Trust's parking lot is the paved waterfront lot off Merrimac Street, in the vicinity of the Black Cow restaurant and the Chamber of Commerce office.
A number of city leaders have said some form of paid parking is in the city's future, as it looks to re-configure its current parking system, including the long-discussed option of a parking garage.
Under the new system at the Waterfront Trust's lot, rates will be 50 cents an hour on weekdays and $1 an hour on weekends. The funds will be used to maintain the area and the Waterfront Trust property.
There are 65 total spaces, some of which are used by businesses through arrangements with the Waterfront Trust. The Black Cow has its own parking.
Currently, a parking system on the waterfront lots, shared by the Waterfront Trust and the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority, charges $5 to park on weekends and $8 on holidays or Yankee Homecoming weekends. The rest of the time, parking there is free. That arrangement will end next week, and the white parking booth will be removed.
Yesterday, a technician from Cale Parking Systems installed the solar-powered Multi-Space Meter — a black ticket kiosk with a blue "P" for parking decal on the side — in the middle of the lot. Signs will be put up to direct drivers to the machine.
The system is the same as those used in Manchester, Portsmouth and Hampton Beach in New Hampshire.