HAVERHILL — Downtown merchants and residents wants changes to the city’s new paid parking plan.
At tonight’s City Council meeting, Mayor James Fiorentini will ask councilors to approve several changes to downtown lots requested by business owners and people who live in the center of the city. He will also ask for the authority to make such changes on his own in the future.
At the 60-space lot at the corner of Locust and Essex streets, the mayor wants to convert some of the hourly, metered spaces to multi-use spaces that can be used by people with permits or people paying by the hour.
Public Works Director Michael Stankovich said merchants and residents who live nearby have asked for the change so they can use their permits to park in the lot, which is across from Maria’s Restaurant and near several residential buildings and businesses that lack convenient parking for their employees.
At the Merrimack Street parking garage, the city is looking to do the opposite. At the request of merchants in that part of downtown, the city wants to convert 22 permit-only spaces to hourly, metered spots for customers of businesses in that area and other short-term parkers, Stankovich said.
“We have said all along that the plan is fluid and that we are going to keep changing it based on feedback until we get it right,” he said.
A major stumbling block in that approach, however, is that officials have to obtain approval from the council to change the use of even a single parking space. And before the council can consider any change, the proposal has to sit on the council agenda for at least 10 days before a vote.
The mayor is asking the council to allow his Parking Commission to make such changes on its own in the future.