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Beacon Hill businesses, residents consider Charles Street parking changes

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  January 30, 2013 11:25 AM

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Beacon Hill business owners and residents are working on ideas to improve parking on Charles Street, including shuffling commercial parking spots and installing multispace parking meters.

Business owners and neighborhood residents met Tuesday night at a Joint Charles Street Committee meeting to discuss possible changes that would make more parking spots available to customers.

“We obviously don’t want to make changes willy-nilly,” said John Corey, co-chair of the committee, who presented a parking study of the street.

Corey noted that the commercial loading zones on the street ban customer parking from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and are clustered in certain areas, such as the eight commercial spots at the top of the street near Charles Circle.

“That didn’t seem to make a lot of sense,” said Corey. “A lot of these loading zones could be left over from God knows when.”

Corey and co-chair Susan Symonds, who is also president of the Beacon Hill Business Association, suggested redistributing the commercial spots along the street without reducing their numbers.

The suggested moves would include changing the commercial spaces on Mt. Vernon Street into resident parking while moving the commercial spaces onto Charles Street in front of Charles Street Market, where commercial and delivery vehicles could more easily park.

The committee also suggested reducing the time the spots are reserved for commercial vehicles to 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and an earlier end time on Saturdays to allow metered parking in the spots.

That change, Corey said, would increase the number of metered spaces on Charles Street from about 112 to 133.

The changes were suggested in hopes of making it easier for customers to park and visit local businesses.

One change benefiting quarter-less customers can already be seen on Charles Street. All the meter heads along the street were recently replaced with meters that accept credit and debit cards.

The committee is also considered launching a multispace parking meter pilot in the eight commercial spaces at the top of the street to test the system on the street.

Such meters are currently used along Newbury and Boylston streets in the Back Bay. Brookline removed its multispace meters a year after they were installed due to complaints that they were confusing, slow, and burdensome for older drivers.

E-mail Kaiser at Johanna.yourtown@gmail.com. For more news about your city, town, neighborhood, or campus, visit boston.com’s Your Town homepage.

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