The Town of West Hartford announced that short-term parking will be available in the Center and Blue Back Square beginning immediately.
By Ronni Newton
Parking will be free for 30 minutes for all on-street parking in West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square, and the free short-term parking will remain in place until further notice, Town Manager Matt Hart said Wednesday.
The intent of making parking free is to facilitate quick trips to retailers and for picking up take-out without needing to worry about paying for parking amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the economy.
The free parking will apply to all on-street spaces, and Hart said there are about 500 in the town’s inventory.
“We are making these changes to assist our business community and to enable members of the community to run errands in the Center and Blue Back Square and to order take-out at our local favorite restaurants,” Mayor Shari Cantor said.
Hart said that the town considered suspending all parking fees, but was concerned about the longterm implications because revenue to the Parking Fund does not come from tax dollars. It is separate from the General Fund and there are operations – including maintenance and trash removal – that depend on the revenue.
“We want to support our business community,” Hart said. “We understand the extreme pressure businesses are under right now, and we also want the general to patronize our our retailers and be able to pick up take-out from our restaurants in a timely way.”
Municipal Parking will be posting new signage, which is currently being fabricated and should be in place by the end of the week, indicating that all on-street, curbside spaces will have 30-minute parking, free of charge.
Signage will be mounted on A-frames, staged at the curb on major roads including:
- Farmington Avenue
- LaSalle Road
- South Main Street
- Isham Road
- Memorial Road
To further accommodate easy take-out and/or curbside delivery at restaurants in the Center and Blue Back Square, the Municipal Parking Division is also designating 15-minute parking spaces in front of participating restaurants. “The intent is to support local restaurants as we adhere to the state’s mandate restricting services to take-out and delivery,” the town stated in a news release.
The 15-minute parking spots will currently be found near participating eateries at the following locations:
- Farmington Avenue near Hartford Baking Company
- Farmington Avenue near Luna Pizza
- LaSalle Road near J.Rene
- South Main Street near Blue Elephant Trail
- South Main Street near Fleming’s
- Isham Road near Cheesecake Factory and World of Beer
- Memorial Road near Playa Bowls and SPoT Coffee
“The Parking Division will enforce 15-minute and 30-minute parking spaces to ensure they are used for the intended purposes,” the town’s news release states. “For those requiring longer parking sessions, please park in the municipal parking lots and garages where fees apply.”
In addition, to accommodate college students who have returned to their homes, which could lead to more vehicles than will fit in a driveway, the town’s overnight on-street parking ban has been temporarily lifted.
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