A program designed to provide more parking for businesses, employers and customers in Newton’s villages and commercial districts will be rolled out city-wide this fall.
Under Newton’s shared parking pilot program, a business or nonprofit that has excess parking would be allowed to rent parking through an app or private arrangement. This would allow, for example, a church to rent spaces on weekdays to area employees or a bank to rent spaces to a restaurant for use in the evening when the bank is closed.
“This program will bring much needed parking relief to our villages without building any new parking spaces,” said Chamber President Greg Reibman. “We applaud Mayor Fuller and the City Council for creating and approving this initiative. “
Difficulty finding parking -- particularly in some of Newton’s busiest village centers -- has been a persistent complaint from business owners, employees and customers. For example, a study conducted by the city found that in Newton Centre during peak periods 43 percent of all spaces, mostly in private lots, were empty.
But Newton’s zoning laws previously restricted members of the public from parking in private lots. This resulted in a lot of customers and employees circling for parking or even being forced to move from parking space to parking space throughout the workday.
The Shared Parking Pilot Program corrects this imbalance by allowing property owners to make their private spaces available for the public to park. Owners must still ensure that they provide parking for their customers and employees, but when they have extra space, the program will allow them to rent spaces to the public.
Features of Newton’s Shared Parking Pilot:
- This is a maximum three-year pilot with re-evaluation by the City Council at the end of each year.
- Property owners must apply and ISD approval must be granted, to participate in the pilot.
- Resident parking spaces cannot be shared.
- Participating properties must agree to the following conditions:
- To not displace customers or employees of the property in favor of shared parking.
- To manage customer service interactions with parkers.
- To collaborate with the city to address complaints.
- To provide quarterly feedback to the city regarding participation in the program, including sharing anonymous utilization data received from 3rd Party providers.
- The city will conduct ongoing evaluation and reserve the right to implement changes and/or cancel the pilot throughout the three years.