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Belmont Center parking management plan approved

Posted by Evan Allen  March 20, 2012 08:28 AM

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The Belmont Board of Selectmen voted on Monday night to approve the Belmont Center Parking Management Plan, which is projected to net the town about $135,000 annually by increasing parking revenues.

The plan, developed over the course of a year by transportation consulting firm Nelson Nygaard, outlines a series of action steps for the town to follow to increase parking availability in Belmont Center and to increase revenue for the town from paid parking.

Jason Schrieber, principal at Nelson Nygaard, presented the details of the plan to the Board on Monday. He said that the plan gives the town ideas for how to proceed, but the nuts and bolts of exactly how much to charge for parking and where to allow it were still up in the air.

The selectmen’s vote to approve the plan does not bind the town to any specific details. It simply gives Jay Szklut, Belmont’s planning and economic development manager, the chance to start working on how to implement the action steps.

"This is a starting point," said Szklut. "The recommendations are more generic at this point."

Parking in Belmont Center is currently scarce. Parking on residential streets has been a problem for homeowners who see their cars boxed into their driveways, and fees for parking vary widely.

The plan re-prices the town's parking so that spots closest to Belmont Center cost more than spots further away.

In addition to re-pricing existing parking, the plan suggests that the town reform on-street parking, allowing residents to decide if they want parking allowed on their streets and offering more options for commuters who often leave their cars on side streets for lack of a better option.

The plan also calls for new signage to replace the often-confusing or missing directives that currently show drivers where they can and cannot park.

While there are costs associated with the plan – including about $6,500 to be spent on signage and $2,500 to be spent to educate town employees on how to enforce parking – the revenue from the parking payments far outweigh it, according to Schrieber.

The money raised by the plan will be put back into Belmont Center's development, he said.

Szklut said he would report back to the selectmen as he began studying how to best implement the plan.

Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com

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