Public Safety Committee OKs Montana Parking Ban
The overnight parking ban would cover Montana from Hoosac to Bond, all within the campus area,
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Public Safety Committee will recommend the City Council amend its parking regulations to ban overnight parking on Montana Street between Hoosac and Bond streets.
Instituting a year-round winter parking ban on the residential street comes at the request of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts because of the instances of students living on-campus parking in the street rather than in college parking lots. The overnight parking reduces the spaces for commuter students and residents of the neighborhood, according to college officials.
A couple councilors expressed concern at the last City Council meeting that instituting the ban was forcing the city to deal with student parking rather than the college. They also noted that the city's winter parking ban covered most of the college's academic year anyway.
"If I had another option I would propose it but this seems the least harmful to everyone," said James Stakenas, MCLA vice president of administration and finance, at the Public Safety Committee meeting on Monday. He said the college's public safety department would aid in any ticketing and enforcement.
Committee Chairman Alan Marden asked if the college was looking at long-range solutions for future growth, considering the construction of the new science center.
MaryAnn King, chairman of the Traffic Commission that had previously approved the request, expressed concern that students in the Townhouse dormitories were perforce having to park on the street because only one parking permit was being allowed with each three or four-person dorm.
Stakenas said 25 spots were being added across the street and that that college expected to stay at about 2,000 students over the next five years. However, he couldn't guarantee the ratio between on-campus and commuter students; this year, the number of commuter students has risen.
The committee also approved, pending approval from the state, the painting of the MCLA letters on two crosswalks on Ashland Street near the Townhouses and two on Church Street near the Berkshire Towers and its parking lot.
King said she had spoken to state officials who indicated to her that the state would not approve the lettering because of safety and liability concerns. The state must approve any street changes in the college area.
Stakenas said the college would still submit a letter seeking endorsement. "I'd like the opportunity to try."