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New London reconsiders downtown parking

Downtown New London parking. John Faucher Photo

Vote shifts after Roberts surveys business owners

By Robert Cloud

The New London Common Council revisited a Public Works Committee vote recommending permits for overnight parking in downtown city-owned parking lots.

At the Feb. 5 committee meeting, Ald. Tim Roberts cast the lone vote against an proposal to require permits for downtown residents to park in city lots from 3-6 a.m.

On Feb. 20, Common Council members voted 6-3 in favor of a motion by Roberts to put the plan on hold and send it back to committee.

Roberts said he spoke to downtown property owners, employees and tenants about the proposed permits.

“By not allowing overnight parking in any public lot, you are promoting drunk driving,” he said. “You can say, ‘Oh, they can call the police and get a one-time OK to stay in the lot,’ nobody’s going to do this. If you’re too drunk to drive the night before, you’ll probably be too drunk to drive in the morning and you’ll possibly get a DUI.”

Roberts also pointed to the hardships that the parking restrictions would cause tenants with young children due to the permitted parking being restricted to areas farther from downtown buildings.

“They will have to walk several blocks,” he said. “Some will now have to carry a small child, groceries and laundry several blocks because they have to park in designated parking spaces. Do any of you have to walk blocks to your home because of the location of where you can afford to live?”

He also noted the difficulties the parking restrictions would impose on babysitters staying with children overnight while their parents were away.


“This arrangement also takes away the tenants’ rights to have guests spend the night or a weekend,” Roberts said. “Would any of you like to be told that your sister or mother or friend could never come to visit for the weekend because the city council doesn’t think you should be able to park in the lot overnight?”

Roberts asked why downtown tenants cannot have the same rights as homeowners and renters in other parts of the city.

“Is this really fair or is it discrimination because of where they live or can afford to live?” he asked.

“We’ve been discussing this for probably five to six years,” Ald. Mike Barrington said. “We have heard for how many years that people have been complaining there’s no parking spaces downtown. We tried to come up with a solution. How long are we going to spread this out?”

Several council members thanked Roberts for doing the research and bringing these other issues to their attention.

Roberts’ motion to send the proposal back to committee passed by a vote of 6-3.

Voting in favor of the motion were BaLynda Croy, John Hass, Dennis Herter, Bernie Ritchie, Roberts and Charlene Magolski.

Voting against the motion were Robert Besaw, Barrington and John Faucher.

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