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Meeting Monday for Input on Downtown Parking in Hartford

  • Traffic passes along South Main Street in White River Junction, Vt., Thursday, May 4, 2017. As parking becomes increasingly scarce downtown due to increased demand from downtown businesses and attractions, Hartford Police are enforcing a two hour limit for on-street parking, four hours for spaces facing the train tracks and allow all-day parking in municipal lots near the town hall and behind the former American Legion building. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Friday, May 19, 2017

White River Junction — Members of the public on Monday will have a chance to weigh in on a document that will likely guide Hartford officials’ decisions on how to regulate parking in the downtown area for the next several years.

Feedback from the meeting, which is scheduled to take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Hartford Town Hall, will be incorporated into a parking study report that will be formally presented to the Selectboard later this year.

The $20,000 study was commisssioned by the town last year, with the intent that it would address questions about whether to implement a parking meter system on Main Street, or pursue the construction of a municipal parking garage, among other possible measures to ease the demand on existing parking resources.

The meeting is the second of three public input sessions, but the report will have been published before the third meeting takes place, according to Matt Osborn, Hartford town planner.

“After the meeting, the plan will be revised and presented to the Selectboard,” said Osborn.

Town planners have been conducting regular parking counts to track usage for more than a decade, but a recent wave of development has brought the issue to the forefront.

“Occupancy has gone up, and it’s gone up considerably in the last two years,” Osborn said.

A survey last year of the town’s 332 municipal-owned parking spaces showed they were at between 85 and 100 percent occupancy both in the morning and midday.

This summer’s construction season further strained the system, and the town has responded by stepping up enforcement of short-term parking limits and working with contractors to minimize the amount of space they take up while working.

After the report on the study’s results is completed, the Selectboard is expected to formally receive and discuss it within the next month or two.

The grant-funded study is being conducted by White River Junction-based Vital Communities and Resource Systems Group.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling can be reached at mhonghet@vnews.com or 603-727-3211.

Clarification

Hartford officials plan to finish a draft report on parking in downtown White River Junction based in part on public input they receive at a community meeting Monday evening in Town Hall. But the public will also have other opportunities to comment for plans on parking after that date. An earlier version of this story was unclear on that point.