Next month the City will take another step towards the ultimate goal of creating new public park space on the Central Waterfront. By Monday, September 16, 2019, portions of the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority (NRA) East and West Lots adjacent to Waterfront Park will be closed off to vehicles and no longer be available for parking.
The opening of the Titcomb Street Parking Garage in May was critical in the development of the future park. By creating additional downtown parking, we can now move forward with removing parking spaces on the waterfront without reducing the overall number of spaces downtown.
This is a significant change to parking downtown, and the Downtown Parking Program will be adjusted to ensure a smooth transition. This includes expanding the Employee Parking Permit areas to include the Titcomb Street Parking Garage. Going forward, it is anticipated that the City will have one Employee Parking Permit, and those with the permit will be allowed to park in all of the All-Day facilities, including the Titcomb Street Parking Garage (Titcomb Street entrance), Prince Place and Hales Street lots, and the remaining spaces in the NRA East and West Lots. The City Council will be considering these changes to the Employee Parking Permit, beginning at its August 19th meeting.
The City is also making arrangements to seed these areas and create new lawn. We are also exploring other near-term programming ideas.
Reducing parking on the waterfront should also help reduce unnecessary traffic through Market Square and State Street, alleviating congestion and improving pedestrian safety.
The plan was approved by the NRA at its August 12th meeting. The dissolution of the NRA is pending in the state legislature, and when it passes the City will officially take ownership of these lots and begin planning and implementing the development of permanent public park space.
Below the plan. Note that only a portion of spaces are to be removed; residents will still have the ability to park near the Waterfront Park and Promenade. There will not be a reduction in the number of handicap spaces.