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Somerville parking permits may be offered online

Posted by Alix Roy  April 22, 2010 10:04 AM

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A majority of the parking recommendations submitted by the Parking Solutions Task Force in January have been adopted by the city, according to acting director of Traffic and Parking Bob Bradley.

In a letter to Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone released on Tuesday, Bradley outlined steps taken by the Traffic and Parking Department to address the 12 recommendations, which include approval of an additional landlord permit, the introduction of a parking permit for artists, and the increase of extended visitor permits to 30 days. The department also updated the city's business parking program, introducing a third shift permit valid for any 10-hour period, he said.

The only recommendation to be denied by the department would allow for temporary residential permits to be issued to short-term renters in violation of state law, Bradley wrote.
 
Several recommendations still under consideration by the department include a suggestion that certain types of permits be made available online. In its written recommendation, the task force requests the department “consider offering as much web-based processing as possible, using bar code or other optical coding technology to allow constituents to receive and print permits online.” The process would be conducive to temporary and event permits, which do not require hands-on review, the recommendation states.

In his response, Bradley said the issue “remains a priority” for the department but requires “significant planning and research” to ensure the system is not abused.

The city is also collaborating with a national transportation consulting firm to study “demand-based pricing” for parking meters in business districts, Curtatone announced on Tuesday. San Francisco-based Nelson Nygaard will conduct the study, funded by the Institute for Transportation and Policy, in an effort to determine optimal placement for parking maters, their hourly rates, and times of operation.
 
The study was prompted in part by the Green Line expansion and other transit projects in the area that promise to change parking supply and demand in the city, Curtatone said.
 
“We want to be prepared to address them in the most appropriate manner,” he said.

The study will begin this spring in many of the city's business districts.

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