Select Board logo, 2019Residents' opportunity to speak.

UPDATED Feb. 16: Arlington, which prohibits on-street parking from 1 to 7 a.m., is preparing for a pilot program to determine whether some flexibility can ease this restriction -- and officials want to know what residents think about it.

A special Select Board Zoom meeting was held Thursday, Feb. 16, from 7 to 9 p.m., to discuss the pilot, as unanimously approved at the board’s Feb. 6 meeting.  To attend, click here >> 

A town announcement conveyed via email Feb. 14 emphasized: "The Select Board has not voted to conduct the pilot, nor will that vote take place at this meeting."

Board Chair Len Diggins and board member Eric Helmuth plan to attend the meeting and address any questions. 

“I see the pilot as allowing us to have more permit parking for those who need it,” said Diggins. 

The proposal would allow for parking permits to be available to residents so that cars can be parked overnight on town streets.

“It’s about being less restrictive with overnight parking, versus just opening up to overnight parking. The permitting process has to be done in a way that treats everyone equally,” said Diggins.

Helmuth added, “We’re not changing the overnight parking ban, but changing the goal of allowing people to park overnight.”

The pilot, if adopted, will likely start in May and continue into the fall. 

How much will permits cost?

Diggins says the board is trying to determine how much to charge for permits. “We’ll try to get feedback on pricing by the Feb. 16 forum, so we can toss a number out then.”

John Hurd has recommended $365 because the town lot parking costs $1 per day.

Town Manager Sandy Pooler and Town Counsel Doug Heim are evaluating whether to charge this as a fee for a specific service or as a license to use public goods.

Helmuth said this concept resonates with input the board has received from the public that the streets are a public asset, so a fee is reasonable. He also said that the board needs to think clearly through the lens of equity, and later asked whether this pilot will help decide whether to make these changes permanent. "We need to be clear with ourselves and the public about what we intend to do," he said.

Residents offer their views

During the meeting’s open forum Feb. 6, several residents expressed their opinions about overnight parking:

  • Lori Leahy, a Precinct 21 Town Meeting member, asked what is prompting this pilot, where the majority of complaints are occurring and what the town is trying to learn. “How much will the pilot cost, and will the funding be made public?” she asked. Leahy also questioned the pilot’s timing. She urged that it be conducted during the winter after a snow event, which she called a more realistic time to gather information than during the summer when many people are away, which would skew the data. 
  • Rebecca Peterson wants the overnight parking ban to continue because it keeps the streets cleaner, maintains the town’s suburban feel and makes it easier for visitors to find parking. “I’m not sure all the possibilities have been thought through,” she said. “Nothing in the pilot addresses the enforcement of rules. Studies show that fewer regulations mean more cars. Getting rid of the ban would make Arlington more congested and less desirable.”
  • East Arlington resident Konstantin Klite, however, favors the pilot program. As of now, he says, when his in-laws come to watch his kids, they must park in the street because his driveway is full, and that draws a ticket, which he then must contest. “I can’t think of any reason not to have a pilot. I don’t think the town will turn into madness with cars parked bumper to bumper. I’m very much in favor of this pilot and hope it goes through,” he said. 

Read Shane Curcuru's summary, opinion | See Paul Schlichtman's spreadsheet on city-town density data

Watch the Feb. 6 meeting on ACMi:

Jan. 25, 2023: Overnight parking pilot to be townwide; fee undetermined 


This news summary by YourArlington freelance writer Susan Gilbert was published Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, It was updated Feb. 14, 2023, to add a town announcement describing the parameters of the Feb. 16 special online meeting. It was updated Feb. 16 to clarify Select Board participation and quotations.

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