Letter: Why Banning Parking On Lincoln, Sunset Is A Good Idea

Map of proposed parking changes for Lincoln Avenue. Photo: amherstma.gov

The following letter also appeared in the Amherst Bulletin.

James Barna couldn’t be more wrong when he declares that banning parking on Lincoln and Sunset avenues in Amherst will deprive town workers, who are Amherst taxpayers, of their rightful parking spaces.

How do we know he’s wrong? The evidence is there for all to see. During the Christmas, springtime, and long summer UMass breaks not a single car parks there. And during term time, when people do park there, they all walk north on Lincoln to the campus. They are not working in shops and businesses in the town center.

The only people who would be denied parking if those bans were adopted are UMass students and employees parking there to avoid paying a fee for the parking spaces available to them on campus.

Nor, as he says, are they all Amherst taxpayers. Many of them do not live or register their cars in Amherst, so do not pay a real estate or automobile excise tax to Amherst.

When UMass is in session, these two-way streets become single-lane hazards. We who live on Lincoln and Sunset are not simply inconvenienced. We are at risk when fire and other emergency vehicles cannot have fast and direct access to our homes. The speed bumps Mr. Barna mentions may slow traffic down, but they don’t make our streets any wider.

Ken Rosenthal

Ken Rosenthal lives on Sunset Avenue in Amherst.  He was Chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals and of the former Development and Industrial Commission, and was a member of the Select Committee on Goals for Amherst.

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