Paid parking returns to Haverhill as downtown drivers face fee changes and new rules
May 1 – HAVERHILL – Drivers will have to pay more than in the past to use the downtown parking spaces, unless they stop for a few minutes.
A new twist in Haverhill’s paid parking program will allow drivers making brief stops on a break, charging them less than they previously paid.
The downtown paid parking program, suspended since last April due to the pandemic, is back next week. This results in an increase in the fee from the previous 50 cents to $ 1 an hour for a space.
However, drivers do not have to pay the full $ 1 fee if they park their vehicle for less than an hour. They now have the option of paying only 25 cents (in coins) every 15 minutes, or $ 1 an hour if they use a credit card.
“We think it will be better for people who just want to park for a short time,” said Director of Public Works Michael Stankovich.
Paid parking resumes Monday after being put on hold a year ago due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has left few people visiting downtown.
“We stopped during the pandemic because there was no need for a parking plan without a single parking lot,” Mayor James Fiorentini said.
Haverhill town center has had paid parking for about a decade. Meanwhile, the number of restaurants in the city has doubled, with most of the growth in the city center, Fiorentini said. He said paid parking shows work by discouraging drivers from leaving their vehicles on the streets for long periods of time. Instead, to reduce their parking costs, they leave their cars on the sidewalk for an hour or two, the time it takes to eat a meal. Then, they move on, freeing up privileged spaces for the restaurant’s other customers.
The mayor said the new parking program is easier to understand than the one that existed a year ago. The new program has the same deadlines for street spaces and lots. The old plan had varying timelines, which sometimes confused drivers.
The money raised by the plan is paying for a full-time worker to clean up the city center and for new parking kiosks, which will be easier to use, Fiorentini said.
He said Haverhill charges drivers less for parking than any other community in the state.
In anticipation of the program restarting after it was on hiatus for a year, the mayor said all 45 existing downtown kiosks had been repaired and they were all working with the new license plate program. This program allows drivers to enter their license plate number at kiosks instead of using a designated parking space numbering system or having to place a receipt on their dashboard.
The city has ordered new kiosks and expects them to arrive in about two months, Fiorentini said.
He said the new paid parking program adopted by city council includes some changes from the old program, such as allowing drivers to pay in 15-minute increments.
The new paid parking hours are Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for on-street and off-street spaces, as well as for the Merrimack Street parking lot. The Granite Street parking garage is not part of the program. This garage is operated by the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority, not the city.
During the first weeks of the new program, warnings, not tickets, will be issued to drivers who violate the rules, the mayor said.
On-street parking will be limited to a maximum of two hours. There will be no maximum time in the parking lots, including the Merrimack Street terrace, with the exception of the Eliot Place lot adjacent to the Haverhill Heights building. This lot already has a two hour limit due to a city ordinance.
Free two-hour parking will continue to be in effect in front of the Merrimack Street parking lot and in designated spaces along Merrimack Street.
Several locations for 30-minute parking spaces will be added for short-term use by business customers, but those locations have yet to be determined, Fiorentini said. There are plenty of free parking lots within walking distance of downtown, including on Bailey Boulevard, Orchard Street, Locke Street and Washington Avenue, he said.
Drivers who wish to use the license plate payment program must enter their license plate number in the kiosk and purchase the desired parking time. Drivers will receive a receipt for payment if they wish.
Drivers can also pay by cell phone. The city uses Passport Parking as a provider of telephone payment. Drivers can download the Passport Parking app to their smartphone and avoid having to go to the kiosk. Stankovich said people using the app will receive warnings when their parking time is low and then be able to extend their time without going to a kiosk.
“About 20 percent of people had been using it for about two years before paid parking stopped,” Stankovich said.
Although new signs have been installed throughout the city center to display the new parking rules to the public, Stankovich said all more than 100 parking-related signs will be updated and replaced before the new kiosks are installed. .
The Passport Parking app can be downloaded from www.passportparking.com which also shows a YouTube video on how the app works.