The Town Council approved a resolution Tuesday night directing the Town Manager to study a system of preferential resident parking.
By Asaad Hicks
The West Hartford Town Council approved a plan to change parking rates Tuesday night, and following that decision also unanimously approved a resolution requesting that the town manager and staff engage in study of a system for reserved parking for residents.
While the town has had a paid parking system for residents since the late 1960s, even before the discussion of raising rates to incorporate the mandated state task and increased burden of bank fees, there has recently been more conversation in the community about a pass or discount for residents, Mayor Shari Cantor told the Council.
She said it was considered when the kiosks were first brought online, about five years ago, but at that time the mechanism to institute a resident discount didn’t seem possible.
“There wasn’t really a good answer,” Cantor said. But it’s time to reeducate us.”
Minority Leader Lee Gold said he has also heard from residents regarding the concept of preferential parking, and believes it would make sense and could encourage more residents to shop in the Center and Blue Back Square.
“It would create more traffic in town with people traveling to and shopping in our Center,” Gold said.
This problem isn’t unique just to the town of West Hartford but also other “vibrant centers,” Deputy Mayor Leon Davidoff said. “What I’m looking for when this study comes back is what’s worked in other communities, what can work in West Hartford, and what can continue to make our community the destination that it is.”
Davidoff said if a solution can be found, “This would be a win for our community and win for the residents.”
Other Council members agreed.
Mary Fay said it is one of the top three suggestions she hears from residents, and feels the concept is at least owed a study.
“We owe it to them to at least study the factor … If we could do something for residents it would be nice,” Fay said.
“We owe it to the residents to have an answer,” Liam Sweeney added.
“I support this,” Beth Kerrigan said. “It’s really nice when you can say to a resident that the reason we do this is … It’s a great suggestion so we know what we’re talking about.”
Town Manager Matt Hart and staff will begin the study, and committed to sharing results with the Council by the end of June. It will be discussed further by the Public Works and Facilities Committee, chaired by Ben Wenograd.
“We are eager to give it a shot,” Wenograd said “Will have a good discussion in committee.”