NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — After facing criticism from residents, the City of New Bedford held off on implementing a paid parking system at Marine Park on Pope's Island that includes parking for the handicap accessible Noah's Place Playground.
City officials said that the Park Board unanimously adopted the policy after two hearings, intending to protect public access to Noah's Place, which opened in 2017.
According to officials, the lot has 172 parking spaces and serves two marinas that have over 250 boat slips combined, and because boat owners commonly invite guests on their boats, that lot is typically full in the summer.
After observing that ferry passengers to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket also parked their cars in the lot last year, officials anticipated an even greater demand for parking and worked to create a system that they said was modeled largely on the City beaches' summer parking policy. The system would have allowed for users to reserve parking spaces for Noah's Place and allow for them to have free parking for two hours.
But the City said that playground users had spoken out in opposition of the plan, saying that there is not a problem with parking congestion and that the program was unnecessary. According to the City, Mayor Jon Mitchell asked City officials to reexamine at the parking policy again.
Until the Port Authority, the Department of Parks, and Recreation and Beaches can review the policy, the system is suspended until further notice.