LETTER: COUNCIL SHOULD ALLOW FREE DAYTIME PARKING ON LINCOLN AVENUE

Photo: flckr.com

The Amherst Town Council should allow as much unpaid daytime parking on Lincoln Avenue as possible.

I am a home owner in Amherst Center, and an employee of UMASS Amherst.  I walk Lincoln Avenue twice each day, to and from work, and I sometimes park on Lincoln Avenue.  When I choose to park on Lincoln Avenue – generally during bad weather — I still walk a half mile to get to my office.

I know that the homeowners on Lincoln Avenue have recited horror stories of parking on Lincoln Avenue, but that is not what I see on a daily basis.  I see a manageable traffic pattern kept in check with the frequent speed bumps. I also see hard working community members: workers, students, and visitors, utilizing a public resource – free public parking – in a prudent and efficient manner.

These people parking on Lincoln Avenue are doing nothing wrong.  They are contributing to the community, paying taxes, working, and educating themselves.  They are doing their best to navigate a maddening Amherst parking landscape, without the town picking their pocket in fees.  After they park, they must walk or bike a half mile or more to get to their jobs or classes at UMASS or the town center. Seemingly, the town manager wants to criminalize their parking choices, and make their daily lives just a little more inconvenient.

The town manager proposes to effectively ban daytime parking on Lincoln Avenue.  Did he speak to these community members before making this proposal? No. Did he consider all the consequences of this change?  No.  

Free parking is a scarce public resource in Amherst, a resource that belongs to the community as a whole, not to the property owners that border the street.  Amherst has done a poor job of shepherding this resource for its best use in the past. The town manager proposes to remove an additional 200 parking spots from the community’s use.

This move will burden the neighboring streets of Sunset Avenue, Dana Street, and Blue Hill.  Community members need a place to park, and they will move to the nearest streets where parking is allowed.

Instead, the Town of Amherst should allow free daytime parking on Lincoln Avenue to remain on one side only, which will ease congestion. But free daytime parking should be expanded along the length of Lincoln Avenue (except near intersections) from Fearing Street to Northampton Road, to provide community parking where it is needed.  Further, the Town should commit to opening additional free street parking opportunities where ever possible outside the downtown.

If Amherst wants to be “The Place to Visit, Live, and Work”, it should commit to making parking convenient and free.  After all, we’re in the Pioneer Valley, not a suburb of Boston.

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1 thought on “LETTER: COUNCIL SHOULD ALLOW FREE DAYTIME PARKING ON LINCOLN AVENUE

  1. I totally agree about the need for more parking not less. If you live in town you should expect that people will park in front of your house. The street is a public space and therefore open to public parking. While we are on the subject of parking, the town should stop allowing high rise apartment buildings to be built without sufficient on site parking. If they are going to allow these monstrosities to be built, they should hold developers to the statement that “people that live in the apartments won’t have cars” by not giving parking permits to anyone that lives there.

    Sarah Morton

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