NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

February 20, 2013

Traffic, parking and quality of life

As we consider all the plans for development in Newburyport, let’s review certain quality of life issues that are raised by new enterprise in an exceptionally significant center of our city. We have some decisions to make about that now. Change is inevitable, development is going to happen, so what are the most important aspects of life in Newburyport that we cherish and what do we want to change.

I believe the city government and trusts, an ever-growing number of developers and local citizens must unite their visions for the best possible future to unfold for Newburyport. All of us have a stake in this.

The most pertinent issues that radiate from our newest developers’ plans are No. 1, traffic and No. 2, parking. First, parking: Where will customers park for a new 591-seat capacity restaurant and the new hotel, plus existing Black Cow restaurant? Employees for these businesses alone will overflow the Waterfront Trust parking lot outside Davis Auto and the present Black Cow parking. Customers would easily fill over two-thirds of the Green Street parking lot.

Parking spaces are to be seriously considered because Mr. Karp is not willing to provide parking for his proposed businesses and future proposed businesses in town, and Mr. Leone wants to take up existing parking for his proposed landscaping plus rezone whatever parking is left available close by. He is asking the city to rezone the parking so it will be given to him. He will not have to pay for parking for the new ale house, but we will.

The second issue, traffic: All the currently proposed major development sits between the Route 1 exit and entrance ramps on Merrimac Street on one side, and Market Square on the other side. A traffic bottleneck already exists in this area during rush hour and on festival and summer weekends. Unless there is an overall plan for traffic remediation, proposed businesses and condos and the parking needed for them, it would change completely and forever smooth traffic flow from Route 1 through Market Square. We need to hear about the bigger plan, the overall picture of traffic flow and parking spaces, and how this is all going to improve the quality of life of Newburyport citizens.

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