The city’s senior residents should soon find it less of a hassle to park near the Senior Center on Winthrop Avenue. The City Council has approved a plan devised by Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna and the Parking Department to issue 100 parking placards to the Director of Elder Affairs for use in the Central Avenue Municipal Parking Lot. The idea is to issue the placards to seniors coming to the center for luncheons, classes and other special events.
There has been some push and pull over the installation of meters at the Central Avenue lot last year. In February, the Traffic and Parking Commission decided not to remove the meters from the lot.
McKenna said the parking placards will at least make it easier for seniors to easily find parking spaces in the lot without having to feed the meters. “With the conversation with the Director of Parking and the Director of Elder Affairs, we came up with the solution that we would give the seniors 100 placards,” said McKenna.
McKenna said there are a number of seniors who go to the center daily for lunches or classes. “I don’t want them to be stressed out and worried,” said McKenna. With the placards, she said, the seniors won’t have to worry about paying for a meter or getting a ticket if they park in the wrong space.
Parking Director Zach Babo said that in the past someone from the Department of Elder Affairs would reach out when there was a major event at the center and the parking department would print out passes for that event. “For a daily pass, they had nine spaces in the Central Ave. lot and another 24 around their building; we thought that was enough,” said Babo.
But he said the parking department wants to help take care of the city’s senior citizens and was open to the idea of issuing the placards. “I wanted to create individual passes for people who frequent the senior center so they didn’t have to worry about returning them and chasing them around,” said Babo. “After talking to [Elder Affairs Director Deb] Peczka, it seemed the best solution was to create these passes, number them one through 100, and Deb will maintain them.”