Parking enforcement returns to downtown Westfield

WESTFIELD – After a three year hiatus, a parking enforcement officer has been hired and in January will begin again to enforce the city’s parking regulations.
Denise Carey, the city’s parking clerk, said that Jerry Crawford, formerly a supervisor of the city’s auxiliary police officers, has been hired by the Off Street Parking Commission and will work a maximum of 19 hours per week.
She said “right now, he’s surveying” the use of the downtown parking lots and will start enforcing parking regulations there on January 1.
In the meantime, she said, Crawford is enforcing parking regulations, such as crosswalk and a fire hydrant parking violations on the streets of the core business district, but but will not start to enforce time limit violations there until January.
He is authorized to enforce the regulations in the off-street lots by the commission and was granted limited police powers by the Westfield Police Commission at their Oct. 12 meeting “to issue parking tickets for violators on public ways in the downtown core district.”
Carey said that the former parking enforcement officer, Robert Slack, retired “a little more than three years ago.’’ No replacement was hired.
Carey said that Crawford is first tasked to survey current usage because “the commission really wants to see the full picture” about use of the off-street lots.
“It’s been a few years since we’ve been out there” she said, and added “we feel there’s more use than there used to be” which she said “is a good thing – it’s growth.”
Carey said that, while the commission may believe the use of the off-street lots has increased, there is no doubt that the use by college students has spiked this year.
She said that 164 parking stickers have been sold to Westfield State University students who live at Landsdowne Place and pointed out that there are only 66 parking spaces there. The remaining 98 students, she said, are using the two Arnold Street lots and the Reader 3 lot between Church and School streets for parking.
Carey said that, while the current $10 monthly fee for daily parking in the off street lots is not going to change, the commission is currently working to establish new regulations for the parking lots and needs the information which Crawford is generating, as he surveys the current use of the off-street lots.
She said that the challenge for the commission is to establish new regulations for overnight parking during the winter months, which will allow for the efficient plowing of the parking lots after snowfalls.
Carey said that the parking commission members will work with the data from Crawford’s survey to make needed changes to parking regulations, which they plan to announce at their next meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

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