City looking to regulate residential parking permit renewal dates

On September 27, 2017, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

The Director of Traffic and Parking will be reporting to the Board of Aldermen this week to clarify parking permit policy.

By Jim Clark

At the latest Board of Aldermen meeting, an order was put forward and approved requesting that the Director of Traffic and Parking explain to the Board in writing by September 26, 2017 why residential parking permits are not issued with a renewal date of one year from the last day of the month it was purchased, and appear before the Board on September 28, 2017 to discuss the matter.

Alderman At-Large Mary Jo Rossetti expressed some frustration as a written report from the Director was expected sooner.

“I guess I needed to be more succinct in my request that [the explanation] be received in writing, because I have not heard from the Director of Traffic and Parking,” Rossetti said. “I was anticipating a memorandum or report.”

Board members are eager to get parking permit protocols established.

Rossetti then requested that the order be amended to change the due date for the report to September 26, 2017, while having the Traffic and Parking Director appear at the next Board meeting on September 28.

The original order had referenced the state’s inspection sticker policy. Speaking on the matter, Ward 6 Alderman Lance Davis said, “I know that the last time we discussed this there was some quick discussion about state inspection stickers and how that system might be slightly different.”

“I fully agree, support, and co-sign on this order,” Davis continued. “As I understand it, the point is why can’t we – when someone gets a parking permit – have it last for a year? Period. That’s the point and that’s the question we’re trying to ask.”

The language of the order was amended to omit the reference to the state’s inspection sticker policy and unanimously passed by the Board.

Board members are eager to get parking permit protocols established.


11 Responses to “City looking to regulate residential parking permit renewal dates”

  1. Max says:

    I think the reason they currently do not last for a year is for convenience (probably mostly for ticketing purposes). They are given by location, so an entire neighborhoods’ permits expire at the same time. If they cannot or will not have them last for a year from date of purchase, they need to at least pro-rate the cost of the permit, and it should be free if it is for a particularly short time.
    Yay, JAR for making this an issue!

  2. LindaS says:

    Not surprising that the city finds more ways to get money out of its residents by using tactics like this to give tickets for expired permits.

    I’m glad they’re looking into this. There’s no reason why people who have to pay $30 or more for a year’s worth of parking in front of their own homes have to worry about missing an expiration date.

    I used to get a permit each year even though I have a driveway just in case I needed to park on the street, but it became too costly. To go from $10/year to $15, then jump to $30 was ridiculous.

    I don’t believe their reasons that they made permit parking city-wide to prevent outsiders from parking near the T and taking up a residential spot. I’m sure residents who use the T can now easily park near the T themselves and take up a space if they have a permit, so it really isn’t going to prevent that one bit. It was just an excuse to make money, as far as I am concerned.

    If residents have to pay for the privilege of parking in front of their own homes, the least the city can do is make it easy to know when they need to renew so that they aren’t hit with a ticket.

  3. JAR says:

    Thank you Max. Quite frankly, I’m astonished that no one else has pursued this. Consider the plethora of new condos and so on being built in the City, and then consider that some percentage of the people who buy those condos are going to own cars for which they are going to want parking permits for Somerville. THEN, further consider that some percentage of those people are going to get these new permits less than one year from the month in which their “zone” renews (someone living in Zone 1–a January renewal–moves to Somerville in September and thus extracts only 4 months of value for a sticker they paid 12 months worth of fee for). It’s the current policy of the City to still charge the full fare. It is the current policy of John Alan Roderick to expect a pro-rate for said fare based on its actual value. I don’t see what the big hang-up is with that.

  4. Comman Sense says:


  5. JAR says:

    Regarding backlogs at Traffic and Parking; I am reminded of a quote from General Curtis E. LeMay… “I have neither the time nor the inclination to differentiate between the incompetent and the merely unfortunate”

    All kidding aside though; The September renewal surge–and I’ll agree that that is the high season for such things–is being handled currently anyhow. Since there are, as I am told, only 8 zones in the City, then the simplest solution is to pro-rate the permits based on the zone that person is getting their sticker for. A simple published fee schedule in both the on-line and printed renewal forms would accomplish that.

  6. philb says:

    If they want to change it to last a year, fine, but no one should be complaining about any parking tickets when the parking stickers are so ridiculously CHEAP. 3.33 a month to be able to park anywhere in the city is absurdly low, and it is the reason for the parking shortage and why you have to circle your block to look for a spot. We should raise the sticker price to the point where there is no parking shortage. We can lower property taxes at the same time by an amount equal to the increased revenue so people don’t whine that it is an attempt to squeeze money out of residents.

  7. Villenous says:

    I’m with philb. They can pro-rate it if they like, but it should cost $20/month minimum. That’s still just a spit in the ocean for the overall cost of maintaining and policing the roads for all these cars, but it at least give car owners (like myself) an actual share of the responsibility.

  8. LindaS says:

    A parking permit should cost “$20/month minimum”?? Are you serious? Or do you work for the city?

    It costs $40 a YEAR for a parking permit. Last time I got one was only maybe 3 years ago and it was $30 then. It seems to go up by $10 every other year. Luckily I have a driveway and don’t need to get one, but many aren’t so fortunate.

    That’s bad enough, but the thought of the city charging residents $240 a year to park in front of their own homes is absurd.

    Many condos being built here also have parking garages, which makes a parking permit unnecessary for some, so what it comes down to is the older homes built here that don’t have a driveway, or multi-family homes that have more cars than can fit.

    Pro-rating permits for the first year would certainly be fairer. Don’t give the city ideas about charging people even more to park. At the rate they are increasing permit fees, it won’t be long before people will probably be paying that much for a permit anyway.

    When it gets to cost more for a permit than a parking ticket, we’ll see what people decide to do.

  9. Josie says:

    “…it should cost $20/month minimum. That’s still just a spit in the ocean for the overall cost of maintaining and policing the roads for all these cars…”
    Is this really serious? One of the main reasons for taxes is to maintain and police the roads! Why should I pay anything beyond my taxes to park my car anywhere in the city? However, seeing that pretty much the entire city infrastructure is dug up for maintenance that hasn’t been addressed for decades, where exactly are our taxes going?

  10. JAR says:

    Regarding fees and so on…

    After listening to certain members of the BOA speak on the issue of the Traffic and Parking Commission’s recent appointment of a principal in the Somerville Bike Committee as its “Citizen Representative”, I am getting the distinct impression that registration and regulation of bicycles in the City is in the works. There’s a whole universe of possible revenue streams that the City has not availed themselves of from the current legions of bicyclists, whose numbers are growing every day. I can envision the registrations starting out nominally at, say. $5/yr. Then they could enact an annual safety inspection program for, say $10, and a required safety orientation for cyclists in the City. This would be buttressed by enhanced enforcement and adherence to signage, etc. by bike riders with a schedule of fines commensurate with the infractions. Perhaps even require insurance. To paraphrase “Villenous” from above, it would give cyclists an actual share of the responsibility. Whereas currently the City is trying to provide incentives for people to leave their cars at home or not have any at all, they are bound to end up promulgating statutes to displace the lost revenues from all those vehicles that once plied the roadways. Give it time.

  11. Matt says:

    Linda why would it be more fair for your household (and tax bill) to pay the same per car as the multi family with 9 cars and no off street parking. That multi family is maybe much less for the use it gives to the city roads than you are.

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