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Merchants upset by Coolidge Corner parking changes

Posted by Tom Coakley  October 9, 2009 09:20 AM

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By Andreae Downs Globe Correspondent

Coolidge Corner merchants say they were annoyed and embarrassed by the sudden loss of six parking spaces and a cab stand just north of Beacon Street on Harvard.

Town traffic engineers removed the parking late last month as part of an effort to untangle traffic at the busy intersection.

But according to Brookline Booksmith co-owner Dana Brigham , the removal came as a “shock” to nearby retailers. Elena Martins of Dependable Cleaners said her delivery drivers were now having difficulty finding parking near enough to walk multiple dry cleaning packages to their trucks.

Town Transportation Administrator Todd Kirrane said the action was just one of several made to alleviate traffic congestion. Other moves were changing the timing of lights on Beacon and at Babcock streets. So far, he said, the changes—and significant police enforcement—have successfully eased the daily box-blocking at Harvard and Beacon streets.

Kirrane said a public hearing on the matter will be held Oct. 22 before the Transportation Board

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10 comments so far...
  1. I live precisely two blocks from the area where the taxi stand and parking meters once existed, so know it well. Their removal will greatly improve traffic flow in that area. I find the argument that this will negatively impact the few local merchants in that block to be specious, at best. Those spaces were always filled and there can be no evidence that those occupying the spaces were only patronizing stores on that block. Coolidge Corner is a parking nightmare, anyway.

    Posted by CCResident October 9, 09 10:36 AM
  1. I agree with the prior comment. I live near Brookline Village and avoid Coolidge Corner like the plague. I hate dealing with the traffic and can never find a parking space. The changes should improve traffic flow. Now the town needs to tackle the parking issue. The town should never have allowed the building of the Courtyard Marriott, eliminating a parking lot, without requiring a parking solution first. Coolidge Corner has been a mess ever since...

    Posted by Windrider October 9, 09 01:25 PM
  1. That's pretty funny Ms. Brigham, but no one believes for a second that your delivery drivers are parking their vehicles, feeding the meter, and walking like we do. No, we all know they double park their vehicles which just compounds the problem.

    Posted by Joe October 9, 09 03:41 PM
  1. Remove that' "Mandatory to yield to pedestrians" crosswalk by what used to be Qdoba, and congestion will decrease. Cars going from CC constantly have to stop and yield, thus blocking traffic. Give cars the right of way except when pedestrians have the white "WALK" sign, and traffic will increase.

    Also, teach those Brookline/Boston drivers not to come into the intersection if they can't make it out of the intersection before the light turns red. It blocks Beacon, and occasionally the T, and also makes you look like you don't know how to drive.

    Posted by TooCool4Coolidge October 9, 09 03:41 PM
  1. How could the merchants, who are right there and presumably pay attention to these things have been surprised? I live in town, do not pay very close attention to these things, and even I knew this was in the works weeks ago. This is one of many adjustments that were necessary after living with the Beacon St. reconstruction for a year.
    The next one MUST be the coordination (timing) of the lights from Pleasant St. to Marion St. in such a way that traffic will flow at 25 m.p.h though Coolidge Corner. Each one of the lights between those two points and appears to act on its own, which results in unnecessary stopping and increased traffic area. Also, if there are any Town officials or Police out there, we must do a better job of preventing people from parking in the non-spot just west of the Marion Street intersection on the westbound side of Beacon! It is where the parking shoulder begins, but it is before the first marked space. It forces people in the right lane of Beacon to squeeze even further left then they already have to with the new configuration, and is creating and increased risk for vehicles, pedestrians and particularly bicyclists.

    Posted by jimmind October 9, 09 04:38 PM
  1. TooCool4Coolidge - I agree completely with your statements. The intersection of Beacon and Harvard is a disgusting mess. Pedestrians trying to cross harvard on the BofA side of Beacon always get the walk light at the same time as eastbound beacon st traffic. This means everyone turning right has to wait. But that doesn't stop everyone. Lately I have been seeing several drivers who know this will be a problem, and proactively gun their engine as soon as the light changes, and race through the crosswalk before people crossing from the other side can make it halfway across. Priceless.
    Also as you mentioned, people cannot let is go and wait for the next cycle, so they insist they are going to get up into the street and squeeze through when they're able. Which completely blocks Beacon St and the T tracks. This is set up by the fact that there are 2 lanes on the BofA side of Harvard, the right one CLEARLY marked right turn only, but a-holes who think they are clever get in the Right lane, intending all along to go straight and cut everyone who rightfully waited in the left lane.
    If there were justice in the world, I would be allowed to get out of my car and take a baseball bat to those people's cars. Because the cops are never around to arrest these fools when you need them. Someone needs to put the fear into these entitled, uppity Boston drivers because they sit in the safety of their SUV where they are shielded by the consequences of their selfish and infantile behavior. Would they act like they do if they were walking in foot traffic? No, because they'd be within easy reach of the people they are screwing.

    Posted by ParkStDweller October 15, 09 12:53 PM
  1. Every parking space removed kills another business. I hope you like national chains and empty storefronts.

    Remember the pet supply store on Boyslton Street? A thriving business for 20 years. They yanked the street spaces and the business was gone almost instantly, and nothing thrives in that block now.

    Whether you like it or not, people drive and they need to park. If you can't accept that, there will be no businesses left for you to walk or cycle to.

    Posted by Nicky October 15, 09 03:20 PM
  1. Nicky, I don't believe that the loss of parking spaces on Boylston Street caused the demise of the pet store. I used to frequent that store after the spaces were gone; there was AMPLE free parking in the lot behind the store on Brington Road. No, small pet stores are being put our of business by Petco and other chains.

    Posted by soxmom October 15, 09 03:37 PM
  1. Toolcool4 is right on the money
    Go visit NYC. 98% of pedestrians wait for the light before they cross and do not jaywalk. Cars and taxis almost never "block the box'. Their much higher traffic volume flows significantly better tha ours.

    Posted by essess October 16, 09 09:03 AM
  1. If all parking spaces were eliminated, traffic would flow much more smoothly, but this would be ridiculous. How can the town just arbitrarily decide to remove 9 vital parking spaces without any public input? It will hurt businesses and even make the sidewalk more hostile (parking buffers pedestrians from busy traffic). We lost dozens of parking spaces with the Beacon Street reconstruction (and got a slower, more congested street on top of that). There have to be some better ideas out there that don't hurt residents and businesses.

    Posted by Larry October 16, 09 10:38 AM