Published in the February 23, 2016 edition.


WAKEFIELD — A recommendation from the Traffic Advisory Committee (TAC) to increase the number of parking spaces available to those either working or doing business at the Public Safety Building was tabled by the Board of Selectmen last night after Chairman Ann Santos said that the Board wanted more time to look at the recommendation and hear from more people.

A Facebook post on Feb. 20 claimed that the TAC recommendation was to remove 10 parking spaces from public use and designate them for Public Safety Building use only.

“This is to notify all business owners and citizens in the downtown Wakefield area that at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Monday, Feb. 22 a proposal will be submitted to remove 10 parking spaces from general public use and replacing them as Public Safety Building use only,” the Facebook post read.

But the actual recommendation submitted by the TAC would only add four spaces earmarked for Public Safety Building use and those would be available to anyone doing business at the Police or Fire departments as well as staff of those departments.

The TAC recommendation relates only to the bank of 10 parking spaces directly in front of the Public Safety Building on the left side of the entrance at you face the building. Six of those spaces are already designated for Public Safety Building use.

“The requested changes are for the 10 parking spaces to the left of the center entrance of the building,” the recommendation from TAC Chairman Lt. Steven Skory reads.

“Currently, two of the spaces are posted with a 30-minute time restriction and eight of the spaces have two-hour time restriction. There is a sign that indicates five of the spaces are for the Public Safety Building. This has created a lack of parking for police personnel reporting for duty as well as a shortage of parking for those attending training classes in the Public Safety Community Room.

“The TAC is recommending that the two spaces currently posted with the 30-minute restriction remain the same for those making short visits to the facility. We are recommending that the two-hour time restriction for the other eight spaces be removed and that all 10 parking spaces be posted for Public Safety Building Only.”

Rada Frohlichstein, who owns Rada Boutique and Upscale Consignment at 394 Main St. spoke during public participation and told the selectmen that she understood that Public Safety Building staff needed parking. But she claimed that there were already 18 spaces for that building located in front and on the sides.

Now, she insisted, some 10 years after the facility was built, “We are taking more spaces away from the public.” She maintained that any time a parking space is taken away from the general population another one should be added to replace it.

Dawn Beebe, owner of ZuZu’s, said that the changes were “part of a larger problem,” which she described as “the continuing trend of taking downtown businesses for granted.” She stated that changing the status of the spaces in question would affect businesses and impact the vibrancy of the downtown.

“The removal of any public-use parking spaces sends a very negative message to those of us who have invested in the area of downtown Wakefield,” Beebe said, “as well as the residents of Wakefield who want to frequent our shops.”

Both Beebe and Frohlichstein asked for stepped up enforcement of existing parking time limits.

Skory stressed that in addition to the six parking spaces already designated for the Public Safety Building, only four spaces were being added for Public Safety Building use, and those would also be available to the public doing business in the building. Citizens come to the Police and Fire departments daily for records requests, various types of licenses and permits and to use the meeting room, Skory told the board. He maintained that adding the four spaces for the Public Safety Building use could actually prevent people using that building from parking elsewhere in the downtown and taking spaces away from other businesses.

Skory also noted that all Traffic Advisory Committee meetings are posted and anyone with a concern is welcome to attend.

Chairman Ann Santos said that she was asking the Board to table the matter for a number of reasons, most importantly to make sure that businesses and their concerns are heard.

The board voted unanimously to table the matter.