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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 .

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 on what was reported at the meeting as land currently overseen by the Massachusetts Highway Department that has been approved by . 

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 and 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 , 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 , 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 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."

Beth Perkins October 04, 2011 at 12:27 AM
Thanks to the Westford League of Women Voters for a very informative session. Although it was a beautiful Friday afternoon, I was wishing we had more time to explore these important town issues. It isn't very often that I want a meeting to last longer!
Emily Teller October 08, 2011 at 01:59 AM
I think, rather than as your reporter wrote [trail users now parking along Griffin Road and to a lesser extent at Agway in South Chelmsford]it's more accurate to report that trail users are now parking at the Byam School on weekends (across the street from Agway) AND also on side roads in Westford neighborhoods. They should know that the most southerly parking area IS in Chelmsford. It's the Hart Pond dirt parking area - at POND STREET in South Chelmsford (which is currently an unmarked road accessed 1) on the LEFTT just before Landry's service station riding/driving north on Acton Rd/Rt 27 OR 2) on the RIGHT 1/4 mile BEFORE the Agway, off of South Chelmsford Road/Parkerville Road). Although VERY supportive of the rail trail since the very beginning and increasingly as it's been operational for 2 years, Agway's managers will not appreciate their parking lot being considered a parking area for the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail! Also, septic systems have leeching fields (article had incorrect spelling).
Andrew Sylvia October 08, 2011 at 09:35 AM
Hi Emily, There are currently four official parking areas for the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail in Chelmsford, although during the meeting it was mentioned that those who parked illegally along Acton Road now mainly park along Griffin Road and to a lesser extent at the Agway in Chelmsford. Hart Pond was mentioned, but apparently it was nominal compared to the side streets. We'll keep an eye on the situation and if things change, we'll do a follow up on the story from the the perspective of the side streets of southeast Westford and Agway.

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