More parking coming to transit center

  • Two dozen parking spaces will be constructed in the area at the left of this photo of the drive and existing parking lot of the John W. Olver Transportation Center in Greenfield. RECORDER STAFF/PAUL FRANZ

Recorder Staff
Published: 5/16/2016 11:21:58 PM

GREENFIELD — Plans are underway to expand the parking lot at the John W. Olver Transit Center on Olive Street by 24 spaces — a move that could help to ease some of the expected parking crunch when the nearby courthouse reopens in the fall.

According to Franklin Regional Transit Authority Administrator Tina Cote, the additional parking will be short-term only, with seven of the new spaces reserved for employees. She said the project, which is still in the design phase, is funded by a federal grant that limits what type of parking can be added, and hopes construction will be completed by the end of September.

The new spaces will be added next to the existing 15-space lot, which is 30-minute parking. Cote said she expects the additional spaces to be the same.

“There will be no overnight or rail parking — this is expanded parking for meetings and for people using the FRTA bus services,” she said.

Eric Twarog, Greenfield’s director of Planning and Development, said he expects the extra parking to help ease the burden created by the opening of the new courthouse. The structure was built on top of what used to be an 80-space parking lot, creating a shortage of parking in that part of town.

While the town hopes to get a state grant this year that would allow it to build a parking garage off Olive Street, there would still be a perhaps two-year hiatus during which renewed courthouse traffic would affect parking demand in the area of Hope and Olive streets.

He said that employees at the FRTA and Franklin Regional Council of Governments who used to have to park in other town lots will be able to park in the new parking lot, freeing up those spots for others to use.

“The 24 (spaces) will be a great help because people are parking everywhere,” he said. “It’s not much, because the courthouse took away 80 spaces, but it does help a little bit.”

Cote said Mark Zaccheo, owner of Olive Street Development, is selling the FRTA less than an acre of land adjacent to the current parking lot for the new spaces.

“He’s a good neighbor of ours,” she said. “When he was ready to sell that parcel, he approached us about it.”

Because the project is still in the design phase, Cote said she is unsure of how much it will cost, but that it will be paid for by a federal grant the FRTA received several years ago.

Angela Saunders, an engineer with McMahon Associates, who’s working on the project, presented proposed plans to the town’s Planning Board at a recent meeting. She said the construction will involve taking out a retaining wall and installing a new one further back, and five new 20-foot tall light poles will be installed in the new lot.

Saunders added the new lot will be all impervious paving. She said the transit center’s current spaces, which are pervious, are developing rutting from cars turning their wheels. A minimum 42-inch handrail will also be installed at the top of the retaining wall.

You can reach Aviva Luttrell at: aluttrell@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 268
On Twitter: @AvivaLuttrell




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