, Newburyport, MA

October 24, 2013

Enough parking key to any waterfront plans

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

A very short history: In December 2001 a study of the Newburyport central waterfront was completed. It was done by BPG/Bluestone Planning Group, Daylor Consulting Group Inc., GLC Development Resources, LLC and Daedalus Projects, Inc. It was done for the NRA, the city and the planning office. Again I will emphasize that the study was done for — among others — the NRA. On the matter of waterfront parking it concluded that “relocating most of the public parking now on the central waterfront ... will be fundamental to redeveloping” the central waterfront into a public park. It further concluded that if the parking were to be moved off the waterfront, “approximately 450-500 public spaces would be needed to meet downtown and waterfront demand.”

The NRA proposal — broadcast in a recent flier — would allow for 172 spaces on the waterfront. That leaves 278-328 parking spaces to be found elsewhere. Two hundred seventy-eight spaces is noticeably more than the capacity of our current central lot (and 278 was the minimum required). Where are those spaces to be found? The NRA says that the city is “already working on its own plans to relocate some waterfront parking.” But mayors have been working on those parking plans for at least the past 25 years. They have also made at least two concrete proposals. Both proposals were shot down.

Shouldn’t we wait until a parking facility is actually built! (and we’ve had a chance to see how things work out) before even considering tossing away one of Newburyport’s downtown businesses’ crown jewels — plentiful, convenient, well-located summertime parking for customers?

Fred Hufnagel