The Newton City Council is scheduled to vote on a proposed shared parking pilot program on Monday that won’t solve all of Newton’s parking problems but could be a game changer for some local businesses, employees and customers,

Under this proposal, a business or nonprofit that has excess parking would be allowed to rent those extra spaces through a parking app or private arrangement (something our current zoning code doesn’t allow).

So, for example, a church could rent spaces on weekdays to local employees or a bank to could rent spaces to a restaurant for use in the evening when the bank is closed.

As proposed, the council would have the authority to cancel this three year pilot program at any point.  But it could make a big difference to businesses who struggle to find places for their employees to park and for customers who can’t find a metered space because they’re being used by employees. 

And this all would happen without building any more parking lots.

Even though this plan passed Zoning & Planning 7-0 (Councilor Baker was absent) I understand there’s a chance the council will postpone taking a vote on Monday.  That would be unfortunate because the sooner it’s approved, the sooner we can help businesses, employees and customers in time for the busy fall and holiday seasons.