The Falmouth Traffic Advisory Committee should consider some major modifications on the use of the 127-foot loading zone on Water Street, Woods Hole.
The present restriction on non-commercial parking of any sort (even for 15 minutes) during the 6 AM to 6 PM period is detrimental to the social and economic welfare of Woods Hole.
I can understand the need for a loading, or in reality an unloading, zone for the three restaurants and one food market.
But why should shoppers not be able to park for a few minutes while running into the Woods Hole Market if no commercial vehicles need the unloading space?
One hundred and twenty-seven feet of very short-term parking space not being able to be used for 12 hours a day seems wasteful, when generally all commercial deliveries are completed by noon.
How about a fast technology-based solution: An electronic sign that gets turned on in 40-foot increments when the unloading zone is needed?
The merchants and/or the bridge tender could have operational control of the sign and it would be controlled by a cellphone application.
How important is parking to merchants on Water Street?
Imagine if the WHOI parking lot were closed to non-WHOI users after 6 PM. Would any restaurant in Woods Hole be economically viable?
How important are the merchants on Water Street to the social and economic life of Woods Hole and possibly of Falmouth?
If all the establishments on Water Street were to close because of the lack of parking, what would be the impact on the tax base of the town? (Let’s put aside the quality of life issue.)
Compare the impact of the change in the tax base with the few dollars collected in parking fines by an overzealous police parking inspector.
An incident was told to me that hopefully can only be in the province of “urban legends.”
The police chief and the selectmen should verify that it is only a legend.
Once upon a time this past winter when all the restaurants on the 127-foot loading zone side of Water Street were closed and only the Woods Hole Food Market was open, a patron parked his car in the totally empty 127-foot unloading zone and raced inside to make a few purchases. Ten minutes later he emerged to find a $25 parking ticket on his car.
Does the town benefit more from the continued operation of a food market that employs five people year-round and expands to employing 17 people during the May to October period or from a few parking tickets handed out because of the strict enforcement of a parking regulation of dubious logic and/or necessity?
We can have both short-term (under 15 minutes) parking and a functional unloading zone with little bit of technological creativity and a lot of common sense and good will.