Monday, September 19, 2022

Read about the proposed Downtown Parking District Bylaw - discussion scheduled for Weds EDC Mtg - Sep 21 at 6 PM

September 16, 2022

To: Town Council EDC subcommittee 
From: Jamie Hellen, Town Administrator
Alecia Alleyne, Assistant to the Town Administrator

Re: Downtown Parking District Bylaw

Before the EDC tonight is a proposal for the revised downtown parking district map. We have included the current map and a proposed new version. I will do the best to summarize the proposed changes:

1. No Parking: All “No Parking” outlined in red are exactly the same and no changes have been proposed. These were areas delineated by public safety and the town engineer when the original map was done after the Downtown project was completed in 2017 to reflect narrow roads, turn radius, emergency vehicle access and so forth.

2. Residential Street Parking: The current map has two categories of residential street parking (blue and purple) with different rules. Staff propose merging those two districts into one district for greater consistency. The blue section has residential parking from 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM Mon.-Fri. to prevent daytime commuters, students and others from parking cars all day in front of residential homeowners in efforts to avoid other parking regulations. Staff have not heard any substantial concerns with this bylaw over the past five years.

If no color exists, there are no parking regulations to follow and residents can freely park.

3. Main Downtown Business Corridor: The area in Orange is a revision of the proposal before the Council earlier this year. Staff are proposing map revisions as follows:
a. 1-hour parking limit on the Main Street and East Central Street corridors between the hours of 6:00AM to 6:00PM.
b. The parking is free and is intended to incubate a greater rotation of cars to do basic errands and stops. Examples: Post office, banks, shopping, lunch, coffee, breakfast, drop off, etc. MOST travel downtown during the daytime are for short errands.
c. Parking in these spaces are also free between 6:00 PM to midnight for evening commerce, no time restrictions.
d. From midnight to 6:00 AM there will be NO OVERNIGHT parking spaces Monday through Saturday.
e. Sunday is free parking without time limits.
4. Parking lots: The Town is proposing the most substantial changes to the downtown parking lot access.
a. Davis-Thayer and the Library.
i. D-T: The Town is finalizing ownership of the former school property and will prohibit overnight parking between midnight and 6:00AM. During the daytime parking is free to use the ball fields and playgrounds for families.
ii. The Library lot is owned by Dean College on a long term lease basis and will remain parking for Library patrons and those who use the Town Common. There will be no overnight parking allowed between Midnight and 6:00AM.
b. Ferrara’s Municipal Lot and the Depot Street Municipal Lot
i. The Town proposes to eliminate all dedicated parking uses (commuter and merchant) in favor of a first come, first serve parking lot for all uses.
ii. The Town intends to purchase “Flowbird” kiosks for self pay. See attached quote for 3 kiosks and information packet on the company. Flowbird allows for quarters, cash, credit card, debit card, Apple Pay/Google Pay/ Samsung Pay and an app. Only personal checks will not be accepted.
iii. The lot can be used by citizens, shoppers, commuters, merchants, employees, customers. First come, first serve every day.
iv. The lot spaces will be available from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM for $3 per day unlimited time.
1. The current bylaw only allows quarterly passes, which are $180/quarter, or $3 a day for a regular business week.
v. From 6:00 PM to Midnight the lot spaces are available free for downtown commerce.
vi. From Midnight to 6:00 AM there will be NO OVERNIGHT parking.
vii. Please note the first commuter train leaves Downtown at 5:15 AM (the last time we checked and is certainly subject to changes by the MBTA).

Other miscellaneous points:

The bylaw will take effect at approximately July 1, 2023. Staff expect a four month order wait for the kiosks (and this is pending any supply chain problems).
The Town will look to make investments into speed and traffic enforcement in the FY24 budget, as well as capital investments in the capital plan for additional signage (from electric sign boards to flashing speeding signs).
As a sidebar, the #1 complaint town staff have received this year is excessive speeding on most town roads, the lack of drivers following signage, requests for reduced speed limits on many roads in town and greater traffic enforcement.
The DPW Director estimates 4-8 weeks to replace the signs in downtown.
An update of traffic violation fines should also be adopted. Staff recommendation is to follow the superb research by Lt. Reilly and the FPD. See attached bylaw proposal.
A bylaw in Section 82-6 will also have to be adopted to eliminate the old commuter and merchant language from the Town fees and be replaced with the new proposed fee of $2.00 per day, per car.
Finally, a significant amount of patience and optimism will be required to allow the staff to install this new infrastructure.


As recommended by the Franklin Police Department, one alternative is to commission a third-party study of downtown parking.

Finally, staff understand this proposal is not perfect and will accommodate all parties at all times. That said, due to the altering dynamics of commuting, the town bylaw on the parking lot usage needs to change. The policy opens up almost 90 spaces with unfettered access. It also ensures that there is no overnight parking and ensures that each day, downtown customers can find parking regardless of their destination, purpose or use.

Please let us know if you have any questions. 

Download a copy of the 2-page PDF

Download a copy of the full Agenda PDF (38 pages)

March 2020 - shutdown due to COVID, plenty of parking downtown
March 2020 - shutdown due to COVID, plenty of parking downtown

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