North Adams proposes end to free parking in Center Street lot


NORTH ADAMS — The city is proposing an end to free two-hour parking in the Center Street public lot.

Under a proposal that will be heard by City Council this week, 65 meters would be installed in the Center Street lot parking spots that were previously designated for free two-hour public parking.

The proposal would not impact the several dozen spots designated for parking permit holders only.

A kiosk that was intended to charge customers — $1 for the first four hours and $0.50 for each additional hour after — for parking past the two-hour limit has long been out of commission. The new meters would charge $0.25 per hour with a four-hour limit, and parking would remain free between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m.

"The decision to charge was based on the decision to put meters in there, because we really have no good way of enforcing that lot," said Mayor Richard Alcombright. "It wasn't so much about the revenue as it was just a way to enforce [parking regulations]."

The meters will be installed while the city makes other improvements to the Center Street lot that were already previously planned for this summer. The estimated cost of the meters was not immediately available.

The meters are expected to make the task for police officers, who often have little time in their shifts for parking enforcement, quicker and simpler.

Alcombright noted that the city received complaints from parking pass owners that people without the passes were using their spots.

The city had considered adding a new kiosk, but didn't want to force the city's residents to walk to a kiosk, enter money, get a ticket, and place it back on their dashboard prior to a quick trip to the bank, according to Alcombright.

It's unclear how much additional revenue the city will bring in when the new meters are installed, according to Alcombright. The funds will be deposited in the city's parking meter reserve account, which has traditionally been used for public safety and capital expenses.

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376


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