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Planners Make Changes to Beacon Street Reconstruction Design

New plans for Beacon Street could recapture parking spaces lost in a previous design.

Designers have made changes to plans for the reconstruction of Beacon Street that could recover several parking spaces lost in a previous design proposal.

By moving parking to the south side of Beacon Street, the new design would include nearly 10 more parking spots than a previous design, which called for parking on the north side of the street, according to Hayes Morrison, Somerville's director of transportation and infrastructure.

In addition, the city "is trying to identify parcels that would be willing to rent," Morrison said, explaining those parcels would be used for off-street parking. Planners are trying to identify another 30 to 40 parking spaces through renting, she said.

All told, the updated design and attempt to secure off-street parking spots could bring around 40 to 50 parking spaces to Beacon Street that weren't included in the previous design. The previous reconstruction design would have eliminated about 111 parking spaces along Beacon Street. It, like the current plan, would also have created cycle tracks along the roadway.

A number of residents and business owners along Beacon Street objected to the lost parking, while cyclists supported the cycle tracks.

Morrison spoke after a meeting about the Beacon Street reconstruction held Monday night at the Argenziano School. At the meeting, representatives for cyclists, business owners, pedestrians and residents spoke about the plans. About 100 people attended the meeting.

In regard to the city renting off-street parking spots—some have suggested the Star Market on Beacon Street might be willing to rent spots to the city—Morrison said those spots would likely have parking meters. The city rents parking spaces from private owners in Davis Square, and the parking meters pay for the costs, she said, adding, "It's a self-funding thing, if not a revenue generator." On Beacon Street, the city would look at ways to let residents park at off-street meters, at least over night, without paying, Morrison said.

In addition, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation is holding a public hearing on Feb. 4 about the Beacon Street reconstruction plans, Morrison said. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Kennedy School.

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Creating a Better Beacon Street

David Olmsted January 29, 2013 at 04:44 PM
Last night was collaborative and progressive, and should have happened way before the design was 25%. Although it felt like we were given an opportunity to influence the design, alternatives aren't being considered - but feel free to discuss what kind of shrubs you'd really like to see.
kevin thomas crowley January 29, 2013 at 05:11 PM
honeysuckle would be my preference.
AHM January 29, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Before I start they are going to do this. I know that. First of all thsi is millions of dollars spent for just a tiny few people. Less than 10% of the people. All money for this will be borrowed either by us the state or wherever it comes from. This is not going to benefit most everyone in Somerville and for that kind of money it should. If we had plenty of loose money laying around that is one thing. We owe big time. Projects like this really should be put to a vote, in which case we know that won't happen. A lot of things would be nice but we have to be realistic. This is not bike against car.
Ron Newman January 29, 2013 at 10:02 PM
This road needs to be rebuilt, no matter what. Letting it fall apart further isn't a good idea. I doubt that the bike-specific parts of the plan add significantly to the cost.
BrianM January 30, 2013 at 12:56 AM
Hear, hear. Incidentally, if this is the mayor's pet project, where was the mayor at last night's meeting?

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