Several city councillors want to see the parking meters removed from the Central Avenue Municipal Parking Lot. During last Monday night’s City Council meeting, Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna and Ward 5 Councillor Al Fiore presented a motion for the removal of the meters. Broadway, Shirley Avenue and the Central Avenue lot are the only three metered areas in the city.
“I understand the need to meter Broadway and Shirley Avenue, and I’m not asking for that now, but as far as the Central lot, as far as I am concerned, it is hurting businesses – businesses that have already suffered during the pandemic,” said Fiore. “Again, why are we nickel and diming the little guy in a $250 million budget? I just don’t think it’s right that we continue to hit people with fees, fines, penalties and parking meters, so for the good of the public, I would ask the mayor to kindly recommend to the parking commission to remove the meters from the Central Avenue lot.”
McKenna noted that there are residents who live near the lot in an area without much room for parking and now have to pay to park in the lot.
City Finance Director Richard Viscay said the traffic and parking commission made the decision for metered parking in the lot. He added that the decision was made more to help clean up the lot rather than to bring revenue into the city coffers. “That lot, quite frankly, was a wreck for years,” said Viscay.
Viscay said there are business district parking passes available for the lot for $100 a year and that the meters are charged at half the rate of the street meters. He said there are also free spots available for use by patrons of the senior center, and that when there are larger events, seniors can get printed passes to park in the lot for free.
“This is a way to clean up a lot that was otherwise in terrible condition and bring some order into it, and we are proposing to reinvest that money into the community with the parking benefit district,” said Viscay. “I don’t like to hear the rhetoric that this is balancing the budget; we are trying to do good by the city by doing this.”
Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo said he doesn’t believe the administration is using the meters for great financial gain, but he said if it was up to him, he’d like to see the city do away with meters altogether. Rizzo said he would rather see signs for time-limited parking that are enforced rather than meters.
City Council President Gerry Visconti said he has an issue with people from outside the city using free spots in Revere and then taking the bus into Boston. “But I do see where Councillor Fiore is coming from, as well,” said Visconti. “Let’s not forget, the parking on Broadway is not done to nickel and dime the residents; I think it is done for turnover, as well, so cars do not park there for the entire day.”
Fiore and McKenna’s motion was referred to the Traffic Commission for its consideration of the issue.