With Centennial Beach reopening, Select Board addresses parking concerns

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By Laura Hayes, Contributing Writer

With Centennial Beach reopening, Select Board addresses parking concerns
Existing signs delineate parking rules around Hudson’s Centennial Beach. These rules are now likely to change with the beach’s reopening following renovations.

HUDSON — With Centennial Beach slated to open June 14, Hudson is considering several changes to address parking concerns, including possibly implementing a parking placard system for residents who live near the beach. 

Parking access to the beach will be limited to Hudson residents only this year.

Residents who live near the beach voiced their support for the changes during a Select Board meeting June 7. 

“It’s very nice for us to be able to have family over and have somewhere to park their cars,” said resident Kathy Macchiarola.

Until the placard system is in place, town staff proposed tweaking existing regulations and enforcing the rules already in place.

Two such changes include extending a restricted parking zone from the beach entrance to points 475 feet in both directions and extending the hours of that restricted parking until 9 p.m. when beach access closes. 

“If we try to be as proactive as possible in dealing with the issues, we could tweak it as we move along,” said Chair Scott Duplisea. 

In 2019, Hudson voters agreed to spend $1.75 million to upgrade the beach through the Community Preservation Act. Those upgrades included a new bathhouse and concession stand and landscaping. 

Recreation Director Steven Santos said some residents expressed concern about street parking, particularly assuming that there will be more beachgoers — and exacerbated parking issues — due to the renovations.

With Centennial Beach reopening, Select Board addresses parking concerns
Fencing remained in place outside of Hudson’s Centennial Beach as of June 11 as the beach’s reopening neared.

The Park Commission suggested several changes to the parking regulations on Fort Meadow Drive, including expanding the restricted parking zone and the hours within the zone.

In past years, the street parking restriction ended at 7 p.m., which is also when the parking lot closed. As the beach didn’t close until 9 p.m., that allowed people who parked in the lot to move their cars to the street and walk back down to the beach.

The commission was also interested in implementing a parking placard program for residents and their guests within the new restricted zone. They further suggested increasing fines — possibly to $50 — for violations.

According to Santos, residents said a parking placard system used to be in place. 

“The beach season is upon us, and I feel strongly that all of these changes above would be a step in the right direction in curbing some of the issues that our residents and closest neighbors have experienced for many years as a result of our business — the beach,” Santos said.

The Select Board had several questions on how the placard system would work — for example, how it would accommodate residents’ guests.

Santos said his team wanted to establish the program first, but he added that in some cities with similar programs, residents notify police ahead of time that there will be guests without placards. 

Select Board member Shawn Sadowski asked how the town would prevent people from abusing the placard system, like using a resident’s placard and walking down to the beach. 

Santos said he had someone from a neighboring town call to buy a parking pass. When he told them they couldn’t buy a parking pass, the caller told him they would have their friend who lived in Hudson purchase a pass for them. 

“I think there will be some abuse of the system like this, but I know [Police Chief Richard DiPersio] said his staff would do their best to enforce it once we get everything in place,” Santos said.

Photos/Laura Hayes

 

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