Study recommends parking meters, new garage in downtown Meriden

By Molly Callahan Record-Journal staff

MERIDEN — Among some of the more significant changes recommended by a private firm to improve the parking situation in the city’s downtown are building a new parking garage, installing parking meters on some streets, and moving some police vehicles out of the Hanover Street parking lot. While members of the city Parking Commission will ultimately decide which recommendations, if any, are implemented and when, officials say they would ease longstanding parking issues in the area.

In December, the city retained the Manchester-based engineering firm Fuss & O’Neill to review a downtown study completed in 2006. The $20,000 consulting fee was paid through a state grant.

The engineers returned that updated report last month, and it was presented to city officials this week. The report includes both short- and long-term recommendations, some of which the city could implement without spending any additional money.

Those include moving non-essential police vehicles from the Hanover Street parking lot, which is a free municipal parking lot. The police department uses the lot for “commuting and vehicle storage” and the YMCA stores shuttle buses there overnight.

“The presence of so many police vehicles plus the lack of (signs) at this lot make it unclear that it is a free municipal lot,” Fuss & O’Neill wrote, adding that signs should be posted to indicate it’s a municipal lot.

Other recommendations for the Hanover lot included eliminating some traffic islands and repainting the lot to add parking spaces. The 172-space lot is expected to lose some spaces this summer due to a bridge renovation project along the railroad tracks nearby.

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