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Brattleboro considers parking changes

Proposed amendment to parking ordinance would add accessible parking space on Main Street

BRATTLEBORO—The Selectboard will consider two amendments to its parking ordinance at a public hearing on Tuesday, May 21.

The first would add a disability parking space on the east side of Main Street.

The committee has also recommended extending the no-parking zone on the east side of Locust Street, from Vine Street to Chestnut Street.

The town’s Traffic Safety Committee has reviewed and recommended the two changes.

Town Manager Peter Elwell explained that, if approved, the new disability parking space will be located by the alley between Renaissance Jewelers (151 Main St.) and Gallery in the Woods (145 Main St.).

Elwell said the existing metered parking spot is “clearly the right place,” as it already has surrounding space hatched out around it due to the adjacent Hooker-Dunham Alley and fire hydrant.

He also noted that despite the logic, the space won’t be “fully compliant” with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because it’s not wide enough to accommodate wheelchair vans.

The town would post signs that warn drivers accordingly, Elwell said.

A member of the audience thanked the board for considering the amendment and for the work of Assistant Town Manager Patrick Moreland, who helped with the process. She noted that more than 1,500 people in Brattleboro have cars with disabled license plates and placards, issued by the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

Elwell also noted that, once the amendment is approved, the town will remove the meter, since people with such approval don’t need to pay for parking in town wherever they park, including at metered parking spaces.

“I think it’s a really good start,” said Board Vice Chair Tim Wessel.

According to the Traffic Safety Committee’s minutes from April 18, committee members unanimously approved a motion to create the space. The motion came after a resident request.

Elwell is recorded in the minutes as telling the committee that the ADA Committee had discussed disability parking downtown on several occasions. Moreland had conducted a site visit as well.

When Police Chief Michael Fitzgerald asked about safety issues related to having a space — and wheelchair access — so close to an active street, Elwell said that many older towns like Brattleboro have needed to create spaces that aren’t fully ADA compliant.

Locust Street no-parking zone

At the public hearing, residents will also have a chance to comment on extending the no-parking zone on the east side of Locust Street.

According to Elwell, parking is already prohibited between Maple and Vine streets. This no-parking area would pick up at Vine and extend to Chestnut Street.

The public hearing will happen during the regular Selectboard meeting on May 21. The meeting begins at 6:15 p.m. in the Selectboard Meeting Room (212) in the Municipal Center, 210 Main St.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #510 (Wednesday, May 15, 2019). This story appeared on page A4.

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