City of Pittsfield to Install New Parking Meters in Downtown
Following last month’s approval by the City Council, the City of Pittsfield will embark on Phase 1 of the new parking management plan with the installation of multi-space meters in November throughout designated areas in downtown.
The parking plan, which underwent extensive community input over a three-year period, is designed to enhance parking availability in the city’s high traffic downtown areas, while also maintaining nearly 400 spaces for free parking on side streets in downtown.
Phase 1 includes the distribution of the city’s 45 solar-powered multi-space parking meters to be placed in the following areas: North and South streets, Park Square, the First Street parking lot (by The Common), the Depot and Mckay street area, the streets around City Hall, and Berkshire Medical Center. Additionally, the McKay Street Garage will become permit parking only; the move will transition permit parkers who currently use the adjacent McKay Street lot into the garage, and transforms the lot into metered parking only.
Monday through Friday metered parking rates are $1 per hour for on-street parking during the hours of 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; and 50 cents per hour for the Columbus Ave garage (meters will be placed in the garage as equipment becomes available) and lots from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The first 30-minutes in all metered areas are free. There is no metered parking on the weekend.
Prior to the meters’ installation, the city will be adding 70 new wayfinding or, directional, parking signage to identify parking lots and garages. In addition, there will be new signage for on-street parking indicating the locations of the meters.
Commissioner David Turocy of the Department of Public Services said the plan addresses crucial issues for the city.
“The meters will help to ensure availability of parking in our most critical areas, so that parking spaces are available when people visit downtown. The meters are designed to meet the needs of today’s consumers. They will accept coins, credit cards and smartphone applications; and the use of license plate technology eliminates the need to memorize parking space locations or return to the car to place a slip on the dashboard,” Turocy said.
“Furthermore, the multi-space parking meters are a critical component of the city’s plan to achieve a financially sustainable parking management plan. Parking meter fees, combined with parking permit revenue, will help pay for the operation, maintenance and improvements to our parking facilities.”
As to whether the city is ready for this change, Mayor Linda Tyer said she was confident that Pittsfield is ready to embark on this new initiative.
“Downtown Pittsfield is a thriving downtown. It is the financial, legal, and medical center of our city and the county. We have a strong theater, museum, and restaurant district and a gorgeous boutique hotel. New investments are being made such as Regions Wine Bar, Funk Box Studios, and Brooklyn’s Best while others continue to succeed such as Steven Valenti Clothing, Mad Macs, and Museum Facsimiles,” Tyer said. “In addition, we have seen significant investments in downtown market rate housing at the Howard Building, the Onota Building, and soon the former Holy Family Church will become Powerhouse Lofts. We’ve got a lot going for us, and metered parking is a natural evolution to what is now in high demand.”
The installation also reflects the culmination of the city’s commitment to the state when it accepted a MassWorks grant in 2013 for repairs to the McKay Street garage. Per the agreement, the city would establish a parking management plan that would facilitate the maintenance of the city’s garages and lots. Toward this effort, the City Council allocated $500,000 in funding toward the parking meter implementation.
Since 2013, the city has been working on this plan, in conjunction, with input and feedback from community and business leaders. The meter’s cutting-edge technology provides ease of use for parking patrons and includes programmable features for marketing purposes.
Laurie Mick, Community Development Specialist, is confident the new plan will improve the overall availability for parking – something which was a key factor in community conversations. “There will be a savings for some people, and for others, it will be a greater convenience,” she said.
It also creates efficiency for the city’s parking control staff as the new program will be supported by the city’s current License Plate Recognition (LPR) system. The LPR system allows parking control officers to scan license plates to check for violations.
“The city of Pittsfield implemented our first LPR system several months ago and it has been a success. What used to take our parking control officers and hour to patrol and enforce now only takes ten minutes. The time savings now allows us to patrol more areas of the city and enforce in areas we could never get to before as well as focused enforcement on other violations like handicapped, fire lane and sidewalk parking,” said Denis Guyer, Director of Facilities and Maintenance.
Following the November installation, the city will identify a timeline for the implementation of Phase 2 of the parking plan.
Please visit here to view the Interactive Parking Map
Please visit here to view a parking meter video.