Ira Bryck: Suggestions for downtown parking in Amherst 

Published: 09-14-2023 11:07 AM

As Amherst tries to figure out the problem of parking downtown, may I suggest the following:

■Instead of paying millions of dollars to either expand the Boltwood parking structure, or build a new garage on North Prospect Street, might we first implement the suggestions made by the last parking study, which concluded the downtown has ample parking, nearing capacity only at peak dinner times? Informal studies by neighbors on North Prospect showed that that parking lot wasn’t full even on a busy night at the Drake, when students were in town.

■If the problem has worsened since that study, because five-story dorms are built with little or no parking, how about Archipelago builds its own parking for those residents, away from town, and provide a shuttle for their residents to get to and from the parking? It seems the plan for a North Prospect Street garage (in a local historic district!) is planned mainly to accommodate those five-story dorm’s residents.

■How about the town have a dedicated bus that continuously stops downtown and at the village centers, so that people can park at the village centers and take a bus to town? That would alleviate parking pressures downtown, as well as pump some more life into the village centers.

Let’s explore these ideas and consider that an additional parking lot downtown will mainly help the developers of parking-free private dorms. This is why it’s good to include in the thinking process those without any ulterior motive, except to maintain a downtown that is usable by all our community and visitors.

Ira Bryck



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