City, residents eye more parking restrictions in Savin Hill

The scene inside Savin Hill Yacht Club during last Thursday’s BTD-sponsored meeting. Katie Trojano photo

About fifty people attended a meeting at the Savin Hill Yacht Club last week to discuss a city proposal to extend resident parking restrictions on new streets in Savin Hill.

The Boston Transportation Department (BTD) proposal follows a citizen petition that seeks to extend existing restrictions into the “over the bridge” neighborhood, including a narrow stretch of Savin Hill Avenue.

At the meeting, Bill Conroy, a senior transportation planner at the Boston Transportation Department (BTD), went through the proposal – which would create 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon.-Fri. resident parking, with the addition of scattered two-hour visitor parking spaces in some locations that have not yet been determined – and then took questions from residents. 

“Anywhere that there are currently resident parking regulations, those will remain the same,” he said. “We start off with the new regulations where the bridge is along Savin Hill Ave., which is right next to the T Station. Since Sydney and Tuttle Streets both have resident parking, everyone starts to wander over the bridge.”

“On Grampian Way,” he said, “we were thinking of two-hour parking, residential exemption 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with possible two-hour exemptions for the park and tennis courts. We would pick it up after the tennis court all the way back around Savin Hill Ave.”

The 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. time frame is the “easiest way from an enforcement point of view” to effectively enforce violations and keep commuter parking to a minimum, he said.

Some residents disputed the time frame and argued that UMass should take some responsibility by providing more parking for students. Almost all were in favor of a “no parking” sign on the right side of the portion of Savin Hill Ave. that is directly after the bridge, where a two-way portion of the Avenue is extremely tight — an issue that parking further exacerbates. 

“There’s no room for large vehicles – construction, fire trucks or school buses – and we see sometimes that commuters are parking there for several days,” said resident Donna Blythe-McColgan. 

Many residents spoke about commuter parking and the lack of spaces for residents on their streets. 

“Hubbardston Road is an absolute nightmare. We’re the street next to the train station. We’ve got out-of-state license plates all morning, people take the train to the airport and leave their car,” said Cheryl Milisi. “There is no room anymore on Hubbardston for anybody that lives there.” 
Other residents who live on streets that have recently adopted resident parking said that the restrictions have made a positive difference and opened up the streets to residents.

Ryan Murphy, who lives near Patten’s Cove, said that the main issue on his street is an overflow of parking by UMass students. He argued that resident parking should be prioritized over visitor parking. 

“We have a similar problem to Hubbardston with what’s going on with UMass parkers,” he said. “I see people on a daily basis park and walk through Patten’s Cove to the university.”

“I know every part of the neighborhood has different experiences with parking, but when you actually can’t find parking within ten houses of your own house, it becomes a different problem for us than it does for people who do have parking near their houses,” Murphy said. While they might be slightly inconvenienced by a visitor parker, “it’s really inconvenient all of the time for us.”

As the meeting came to a close, Patrick Fandel, from the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, reminded residents that the proposal is still in its beginning phases, and that there’s currently no installation date. 

“There is clearly still a lot of concern in this room … with favorability and opposition to this,” he said. “We’re going to take all of this into consideration and go back to revise.”