Westford's Parking Problems Discussed On Friday
In an event at the J.V Fletcher Library hosted by the Westford League of Women Voters, the town's two major parking problem areas were discussed in an open forum format.
Generally, parking is plentiful in most parts of Westford, but for the two key areas where it has become an issue, discussion is continuing over ideas on how to approach the problem with events such as Friday afternoon's symposium at the J.V Fletcher Library.
The event, hosted by the Westford League of Women Voters, focused in on the two main problem areas when it comes to Westford's parking: the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail and the town center.
On the trail, much looms on the success of a pending parking lot plan in Acton on what was reported at the meeting as land currently overseen by the Massachusetts Highway Department that has been approved by the Boards of Selectmen in Acton and Westford, as well as Carlisle due to the expedited continuation of the trail through that town to get from Westford to the parking lot.
Since the decision was made to pursue the Acton lot and local police have cracked down on illegal parking on Acton Road near the trail, incidents of illegal parking have reduced significantly in the area, with trail users now parking along Griffin Road and to a lesser extent at Agway in South Chelmsford.
In the issue of parking at the town center, the situation is still developing if discussion from the event on Friday is any indication.
A new crosswalk cutting across the tip of the Town Common and new 15 minute only parking spots in front of the library for returning books have cut approximately half a dozen spots from an area that frequently suffers from parking shortfalls due to events at the library, the Common, the First Parish Church United, the Parish Center for the Arts and various other nearby government buildings and small businesses and residences within walking distance.
One solution included pushing back parking behind the fire/police complex if the definition of what constitutes a pond is changed at Special Town Meeting, relaxing wetland restrictions the town would currently face related to such an effort.
Other ideas included also pushing back onto a now unused leetch field behind the library, as well as authorizing the town to purchase 57 Main Street next to Town Hall at Special Town Meeting, although supporters of the authorization at the meeting and earlier have indicated they feel turning the entire 57 Main Street lot into parking would damage the identity of the neighborhood.
J.V Fletcher Trustee Bob Price hopes that continued dialog on the problem can help speed a solution to what is becoming an issue for organizations and residents in the area.
"I think the town needs a parking master plan to solve what's a very great issue with the center of town," said Price. "Citizens want the center of the town to be the center of the town: their culture center (and) their civic center, and in order to do that, we need to provide them with parking, otherwise they can't come here and go to cultural events or the police station or the library or the Farmers' Market. We need to solve this problem."