Now that summer has drawn to a close, the Select Board is already looking toward the next busy season in 2022.
Police Chief John Dunn provided an update this week at the board’s request on how the continuing town-wide parking restrictions, and the reduced parking scenario for the Hull Redevelopment Authority property, worked during peak times this summer.
His recommendation at the meeting was that the board continue with the parking restrictions and continue to limit how many vehicles can park on the HRA lot. He also suggested that the police detail requirement remain in place.
Last spring, the board, acting as the town’s parking authority, decided to continue the town-wide restricted parking policy that was instituted in Spring 2020 in response to the coronavirus outbreak and the many parking issues the Hull community faces during the summer months.
In addition, the board set restrictions on the number of vehicles allowed in the HRA parking areas and set requirements for police details during peak times and hot weather to assist with traffic flow issues. Dunn said those measures worked well.
He also reported that 752 parking tickets were issued this year, compared to 2,110 in 2020. Parking ticket revenues from tickets issued to violators for 2020 amounted to $86,300 and are expected to total $52,145 this year.
During COVID-19, the town increased the restricted parking fine to $100. Parking meter fines were increased to $50 and by an additional $50 for violating the time stipulation at a particular meter for a second time.
“Not as many tickets were issued this year due to a lot of stormy and inclement weather, including during the Memorial Day weekend and also for the Fourth of July, which is historically our busiest weekend,” Dunn said. ”I also think people who were issued $100 tickets before didn’t want to risk getting one again. At the same time, some people took a gamble, hoping that they wouldn’t get a $100 ticket” when they parked in a restricted area.
Following some discussion, the board supported Dunn’s recommendation, reaffirming the existing parking rules and regulations until otherwise changed by the board, along with the stipulation that the number of HRA spaces continue at a reduced number (with police details in place) and that a post-season parking report will be presented annually.
“The quality of life has been much better [with the restrictions in place],” board member Domenico Sestito said.
At Town Manager Philip Lemnios’ suggestion, the board members will inform the HRA in November about how many parking spaces they think would be appropriate for next summer and about related requirements.
The full parking capacity of the HRA lot is 1,100 vehicles, but that number was reduced to 500 in 2020 due to the pandemic and then raised by 100 for the 2021 summer season for a total of 600.