Mayor Martin Walsh told the Patriot-Bridge last week that if all the required signatures are gathered and the neighborhood supports the proposed resident parking change, he would also back any such change.
“If the neighborhood wants it, I would absolutely support it,” said the mayor. “We want to make sure the traffic patterns aren’t disrupted or anything, but I would support it.”
That measure of support comes just as the resident parking change effort finished up its first public meeting earlier this month – an idea put forward by Attorney Erin Woods and Boston Police Officer Shannon Fabiano-McLaughlin. Though they started the idea with nothing but a Facebook page, the effort has gathered many interested folks who are curious about any such change.
Last Wednesday, the duo met with the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) to refine their petition.
“City Hall wants to be sure that the whole community has an opportunity to voice their concerns and opinions,” said Woods. “Therefore, we thought it would be best to have another community meeting where Boston Transportation and the Charlestown liaison will be in attendance.”
A second community meeting would likely happen in June, but a time, date and location have yet to be determined.
Mayor Walsh compared the effort to the recent change in street direction in South Boston.
He said during the winter, the City temporarily changed several Southie streets to one-ways. Many people seemed to like the configuration and were rather vocal about keeping it permanently.
“There were a lot of people who were calling for us to keep that pilot program going,” he said. “We had a neighborhood meeting in South Boston and a larger number of people who showed up didn’t want the pilot to continue. It’s the same sort of thing with residential parking. I think they need to get 51 percent of the neighborhood in support.”
Back in Charlestown, supporters of the change would like to change many of the ‘Resident Only’ 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday parking areas – changing them over instead to ‘Resident Only’ between the hours of 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. seven days a week. They would seek to exclude from the change main arteries like Bunker Hill Street, Main Street and Medford Street.
Organizer Erin Woods told the Patriot-Bridge that the effort is garnering a lot of attention and a lot of suggestions from residents of the neighborhood.
“This issue has definitely hit a nerve in the neighborhood,” said Woods. “Shannon and I both receive daily emails from people in the community looking to sign and/or add their thoughts and ideas to the petition.”
Signature gathering is expected to begin this summer after the formal petition for the change has been finalized.