The parking meters will stay in the Central Avenue Municipal Parking Lot for now. During last week’s Traffic Commission meeting, the commission decided not to move forward with a public hearing on the request to remove the meters submitted by City Councillors Joanne McKenna and Al Fiore.
McKenna said she was not upset that the meters will remain in the lot after hearing the reasoning from city officials, but said she was upset that, as ward councillor, she was never contacted during the decision process to install the meters.
Although the meters were not installed in the downtown lot until 2021, City of Revere Finance Director Richard Viscay stated that the vote to allow 144 meters in the lot was actually taken nearly four decades ago in March of 1983. In 2021, Viscay said, the city decided to install the meters in an effort to clean up the parking lot and provide more parking opportunities for Broadway business owners and patrons. Viscay also noted that the long-term meters operate at half the rate of the meters on Broadway.
“We have also established a business parking permit program for business owners and employees so that they can park all day, every day with a permit administered by the parking department,” stated Viscay. “We feel this is a fair price allowing for capacity on Broadway meters. We have over 50 people taking advantage of this program.”
Viscay also said that the meters are free of charge from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. on weekdays, on weekends and on holidays. He said the parking department has also worked with the director of elder affairs to make sure there is plentiful free parking for the seniors who use the nearby senior center.
Additionally, Viscay noted that the administration is seeking the creation of a parking benefits district where money collected from the city meters would be used for projects in the downtown and Broadway area. “I feel that any vote to remove these meters is premature and that we should reinvest all the money generated into funding a parking benefits district,” stated Viscay.
Police Chief David Callahan said that there were a number of issues with unregistered and uninsured cars littering the lot before the meters were installed. “The lot has never looked better, and I think you can attribute a lot of that to the meters,” said Callahan, who also sits on the Traffic Commission. “I’ve personally had to remove cars that clearly didn’t belong there that were unregistered, uninsured, or inoperable.”
McKenna said she had no issue with the statements made by Viscay, but said she was upset about the lack of transparency and being left out of the conversation as events were taking place. “I’m here not as a councillor, I’m here to better Revere,” said McKenna. “Transparency has been one of my biggest issues since I have been a councillor, and to leave the Ward 1 Councillor out of the dialogue is wrong. Do I agree with this and what’s happening? Yes, I do, but you know what – give me the respect as a ward councillor to bring me into the conversation.”
McKenna said she also still wants to see four spots in the lot set aside for residents of Aucella Court who have issues with parking in the tight-knit neighborhood. “All I want is the four free parking spaces for the people who need the free parking spaces,” said McKenna.
The commission agreed to take the request up at its next meeting if McKenna submitted a formal request.