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Harding mechanical parking lift

It’s not online yet, but Newtonville resident Peter Bruce’s op-ed column in this week’s February 25 Tab (page B3), has some interesting statistics on seasonal parking at the Austin Street lot. In addition to receiving data back to 2012 from the Planning department through a documents request, Bruce has been doing his own counting of not just parked cars, but also of snow-covered (unusable) spaces and illegally parked cars. From the article [typing by hand here, so apologies for any typos]:

Unlike winter, however [referring to increases in summer and fall parking demand from 2012 to 2013], they will not face the problem of snow mounds shrinking parking capacity and forcing occupancy rates above 100 percent. How is that possible? Well, on recent Saturdays, snow mounds have covered eight or nine spaces in the ASL and more than 20 spaces on the right side of the Shaw’s lot. On Feb. 17, they covered 20 spaces in the ASL. Already such overcapacity has led to four to eight cars parking “illegally” in the six “tow zone” spots in regular parking rows, and outside formal spaces. As a result of high demand, reduced capacity and illegal parking, so far this winter, peak-time occupancy in the ASL has averaged 99 percent on Saturdays.

He also notes that part of ASP developer Scott Oran’s valet parking plan to expedite parking and create more spaces would be the use of mechanical lift double-stackers (illustration above).

What do you think? Would you use them? Would you even use the valets? I’m always reluctant to hand my car over to a stranger, making a mental list of what’s in the car, whether information or valuables. Then there’s not knowing how long it will take to get my car back if there’s a wait.

Perhaps there will be more information at tomorrow’s final (really, “final”?) community meeting on Austin Street, Sunday, March 1, 1-3pm at the Newton North High School cafeteria.

It seems almost unfair to bring up climate change when Josh is not able to respond, but I have to say, while this year’s snowfall may be extreme, I don’t think we should assume it’s an aberration. I think extremes of snow, rainfall, heat, cold will become more common and should be factored into decision making. “100 year storms” seem to be coming every five years or so.