Select Board logo, 2019Many issues remain.

UPDATED Jan. 14: Arlington could begin piloting an overnight parking program as early as May, said Chair Lenard Diggins at the Select Board meeting held Jan. 9. 

The long-discussed pilot would run for six months, allowing the board to collect data that would inform a decision about the future of an overnight street-parking ban that has been in place for decades.

Town officials have yet to decide whether the pilot would be townwide or limited to East Arlington, which has many two-family homes, many built before the proliferation of automobiles.

Would lift 1-7 a.m. ban temporarily

Currently, residents are prohibited from parking on any public street between 1 and 7 a.m. for more than one hour, according to Arlington traffic rules. Residents can request a waiver for up to 14 nights in a calendar year or — in the event of permanent disability or economic hardship — an exemption. If denied, they would instead have to pay to park in a municipal lot.

The pilot program would lift this ban temporarily, with certain caveats, many of which are still to be determined. 

The police chief, the fire chief and the town's Department of Public Works agree that overnight parking should be limited to a single side of a street on a given night, according to Town Manager Sandy Pooler. 

Questions remain

But a number of questions remain: Will residents need to obtain a permit for overnight parking? How will the town alert people about street sweeping, which in some parts of Arlington occurs overnight? Should the city charge a fee for overnight parking?

“There was some concern about the ability of lower-income residents to afford a fee,” said Pooler. “There was also a consensus that if there were a fee-waiver program, it would have to have clear rules to be easily applied.”

If the city charges for overnight parking, the fee could be nominal — to cover the costs associated with managing overnight parking — or higher. 

“I would like for us to keep the conversation going and to start answering some questions,” said Diggins, “[and] start working on [our] thoughts about the policy behind the fee. What are we trying to get at with a fee or not having a fee?”

2013 nonbinding ballot question

Residents had an opportunity to share their ideas and opinions on the overnight parking pilot during a public forum last June. Diggins indicated that residents will have a second opportunity to share their thoughts in early February. 

The 2013 town election included a nonbinding ballot question about continuing the parking ban. Voters supported it

Discussion about changing the ban has reemerged over the years since. That includes proposals by Kevin Greeley, the Select Board member who died in 2018, as well as a citizens article proposed before the 2022 annual Town Meeting. The article effort ended after the Select Boared recommended no action.

Read the memo provided for this agenda item >>

Watch the Jan. 9 meeting on ACMi:

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This news summary by YourArlington freelance writer Emily Piper-Vallillo was published Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023. It was updated Jan. 14, to add ACMi video window.

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