Officials seek ways to increase parking at Westborough commuter lot

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By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor

A sign advises out of luck commuters on a recent weekday to try the Grafton or Ashland lots.

Westborough – As the town continues to tout a shuttle that brings commuters from the MBTA commuter rail lot located on Smith Parkway, it must wrestle with another problem – the lack of parking spaces there for those seeking to travel into Boston.

At the Westborough Board of Selectmen’s meeting Feb. 27, the town’s legislative delegation discussed the situation and what they said was a very preliminary solution.

The lot currently has space for approximately 450 vehicles, most of which are taken up by commuters who take the early morning trains. On a recent weekday morning, every spot was filled, leaving some commuters to resort to parking on the grass or spots that technically were not parking spots. A small, faded sign advises commuters that space is available at the Grafton or Ashland lots.

At the Feb. 27 meeting, state representatives Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury), Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston) and Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough) said representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the MBTA had recently toured the lot and spoken to commuters to get their thoughts on the matter.

One possible solution, the representatives said, was to build a parking lot on town-owned land that is across from the station. That lot could potentially hold 200 more cars, they said. The revenue gained from that lot could help to pay the costs to build it, they added.

Other possibilities included parking along Smith Parkway or building a tiered garage.
Selectmen Leigh Emery noted that a re-use committee had been formed after the land had been given to the town after a previous settlement with the former owners.

“I have grave concerns about the use of this site,” Emery added.
State Sen. Jamie Eldridge, (D-Acton), told the board that he had spoken with residents who used the area for hiking and thus wanted to hear input from them.

But Town Manager Jim Malloy, noting that the property was a Superfund site, was fenced off and thus anyone who hiked on it was trespassing.

Gregoire cautioned that the matter was only at the very initial stage of discussion and that there would be many more meetings and “due diligence” followed before any decision was reached.

Commuters sometimes park in spots that are not technically spots.
On a recent weekday, the Westborough lot is totally full by 9:30 a.m.