Sharon Increases Train Station Quarterly Parking Fee
The new fee starts this summer.
Sharon commuters face a $35 increase for their MBTA commuter rail station quarterly parking pass starting this summer.
Still, that's $15 less than what Public Works Superintendent Eric Hooper proposed during a public hearing at the Sharon Community Center Tuesday night.
Selectmen voted 2-1, with Selectman Walter "Joe" Roach opposed, to increase the $50 quarterly parking fee to $85, effective on the quarter starting July 1. Those passes will be available June 1.
Hooper proposed doubling the fee to $100 -- starting Thursday -- as part of a plan to alleviate a parking crunch at the Upland Road station. Selectman William Heitin said about 100 to 120 Sharon households are "locked out from getting a quarterly parking pass," partly because some commuters buy the passes rather than pay the MBTA's $4 daily parking fee. Hooper said about 20 daily spaces are available. Heitin said Sharon's quarterly parking fee "hasn't increased in over 15 years."
Several residents questioned implementing a $50 increase, given that commuters anticipate an MBTA fare hike. Some suggested a lower increase.
They also questioned implementing the plan now, two days before passes go on sale at the Department of Public Works. An online sales system should be available for the following quarter, Heitin said.
Heitin and Selectmen Chairman Richard Powell voted for setting the fee at $85. Residents already pay high taxes, and town officials are discussing raising water rates, Powell said.
Roach, meanwhile, said that "I think that $100 is too much." He proposed setting it at $75, and adding the remaining $25 "maybe the next quarter or maybe next year."
"Everybody says to me the economy is getting better. I don't see it getting better," Roach said.
Hooper said passes for the next quarter will be available from the DPW on Thursday.
However, commuters will receive the pass by mail, rather than that day, he said.
Town officials also have talked with Eastern Bank about using its local lot, he said.
"But both of those are Band-Aids, he said.
"It's not a perfect solution to creating permanent spaces in the town."
Heitin said selectmen have discussed putting a one-story parking garage on the station's Providence side.
"It wouldn't cost us anything because I think the fees would cover full construction," he said.