Somerville’s McGrath Highway Parking Restriction Controversy

   
 
By William Tauro

This past Tuesday night a community room full of concerned residents and business owners attended a meeting held by the city and state officials and including in attendance was Ward 2 Alderman Maryann Heuston, board of Alderman President William White, Aldermen Rossetti, Sullivan and McWatters including a representative from state representative Tim Toomey’s office at the Somerville Police Station located at 220 Washington Street.   
The meeting attendees were there in protest with the concerns that the construction phase of the overpass demolition project would eliminate 44 needed parking spaces that would effect 25 families and at least 4 to 5 local businesses on that street. 
The demolition plans on taking McGrath Highway down is part of the The Mass DOT $14 million bridge improvement project and the Construction work phase on the aging overpass is scheduled to start this month. 

Ultimately construction demolition preparation plans to take down the overpass caused the city or the state (neither party is owning up to it yet) to restrict parking for the businesses and residents on both sides of the street this past June. 

The last minute unannounced plans to restrict the parking on that street without alerting businesses and residents that it was happening was a total alarming surprise.

There was even much speculation that the city wanted to install permanent bike path on that road by eliminating the 44 parking spaces. 

Residents and business owners fought back and complained at a June 25th Somerville Board of Aldermen meeting at city hall to address the issues.  

Indirectly, the city of Somerville was pointing its fingers at the state DOT and state was blaming the city, but no one at the meeting would take credit for putting up the no parking restriction signs from day one. 

Johns Auto sales business owner John Eleftherakis suggested at the meeting “when you take down the bridge and it is lying there doing nothing ultimately useless, why don’t you utilize it and let the tenants and businesses affected park there.”

Ward 2 Alderman Maryann Heuston suggested that the city and the state go back to the drawing board and try to come up with a plan to utilize the unused parking areas during the construction phase for the residents and business to utilize and park there until the project is completed. 

Even suggestions were thrown out to the crowd that the residents and business owners should consider parking down the road a little further in the Target parking lot but that idea was quickly argued and shot down by the business owners stating the fact that Target is a private business as well with their own parking problems and probably will not allow that to even happen.  

 

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