Metro, Newton

Newton Residents Debate Parking Regulations on Grove Street at Traffic Council Meeting

Newton residents were vocal during discussions of parking regulations on Grove Street and a stop sign request on Exeter Street at the Sept. 15 Traffic Council meeting. 

The Newton Traffic Council meets monthly to discuss parking regulations, safety zones, and stop sign requests in the city. Most requests were approved without much public comment at the Thursday meeting, but motions TC43-22 and TC46-22 sparked vibrant conversation. 

Jill Charney, a Grove Street resident, requested that the city restrict parking along the west side of Grove Street and between Moulton Street and Colgate Road, while allowing parking on the east side of Grove Street. 

Charney said that only three cars would regularly park on the west side of the street until National Development, a real estate development firm, moved into the area about 20 years ago, and the firm’s employee parking began to overflow onto the street. 

The existing policy is that the parking on the east side is restricted between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.—when the firm’s employees show up to work—discouraging them from overflowing onto Grove Street, according to Mark Golden, another resident. 

Charney proposed that parking be restricted to the first three street signs on the street’s east side, and that open parking be allowed on both sides after that. 

Golden said the existing policy has worked for 20 years and that creating open parking on the east side while restricting the west would only bring more overflow parking onto the street. Since Grove Street is a one-way street, opening the east side—the right-hand side of the road—would inevitably invite overflow parking there, according to Golden. 

Restricting parking on the west side would also cause other inconveniences for the neighbors, Golden said. 

“This makes it difficult when we have an electrician or a plumber or guest come visit our house, or when a neighbor forgets to move their car in the morning and we get ticketed,” Golden said. 

David Koses, the city’s transportation coordinator and traffic council chair, suggested that the city completely restrict parking on the west side while opening up the east. 

“I think we should do something simple,” Koses said. “Again, I don’t understand what the problem is to have cars parked on a public street.” 

The council also discussed the possibility of issuing resident parking permits, but the idea received mixed responses from the councilors. 

The council passed a motion to hold the item for further discussion. 

TC44-22 requested the addition of a stop sign on the intersection of Exeter Street and Berkeley Street, where there is an existing T-stop sign. Koses said that while the Traffic Council usually approves this type of request, it might reject it if there is strong public opinion against it. 

Isaac Prizant, a transportation engineer of the Department of Public Works, said there were zero reported crashes at the location in the past five years. 

Resident Thomas Riley opposed the stop sign installation, saying it would clutter the area and that he has not experienced any safety issues at the location. 

“I’ve had three children that have always crossed that street down to Peirce Elementary School, and I walk my dog down that street, and there has never ever been a problem,” Riley said. 

After much discussion, the council approved the request with a vote of four ayes and one abstaining. Koses also explained the appeals process to the attendees, saying that they could file one if they feel strongly against the sign. 

September 27, 2022