On Wednesday we asked Somerville Patch readers, "Is there a parking problem in Somerville?"
Readers had different thoughts about the matter, though slightly more readers indicated there is a parking problem.
Yes, there is a parking problem
One reader, Elizabeth Rose, summed it up by writing, "Yes, of course there is a parking problem. Me to new neighbors: 'Hi, nice to meet you. Do you have a car?' Neighbor: 'We have two cars.' Me: 'Ok, I hate you.'"
(By the way, some responses here have been lightly edited.)
Noreen Headle agreed, saying, "Somerville has forgotten about the people who live and grew up here and haven't left. They cater now to the college kids with no cars, the bicyclists. Sad."
Tim Donovan said he moved out of Somerville due to the parking tickets, and John A wrote: "It is called a parking garage—consider building one! They have them in cities!"
No, there isn't a problem
Others thought parking in Somerville is no worse than in other cities.
Rob Buchanan wrote, "I do not think Somerville is much different from other urban areas like Cambridge, Brookline, Brighton, Charlestown, etc. Car ownership rates in Somerville are some of the lowest in the state ... People want to live here because of easy access to public transportation, which allows them to have one or fewer cars per household—and saves them $$$ in car payments, gas, insurance, repairs, etc."
Another commenter, Charlie Denison, wrote, "On-street parking in Somerville is much better than it is in Boston! The residential and visitor parking permit system works quite well in my experience. There are always open spaces on the street for me or my visitors."
"Our house sold the car, got a Zipcar membership, and started cycling at least some of the time and taking the T the rest," wrote Benjamin Mako Hill. "Although it took some adjusting, I think the outcome is cheaper for us, has improved our overall health, and has increased our quality of life."
It's the permits
One issue voiced by readers is that of residential permits. A Somerville parking permit allows residents to park anywhere in the city, and that, it seems, causes a parking crunch in some areas.
Kamella Zimm summed it up: "I live right near Davis Square and although my street is permit parking only, it's still a problem for those of us that live on that street. Being so close to Davis and the T, we have people from all over Somerville with Somerville parking permits coming in and parking on our street to then going to the T or to eat in Davis Square."
Charlie Denison had some interesting ideas about changing permit restrictions, and charging more for them.
"One thing I wish the City would do is to charge more for parking. $30 a year for a residential permit is a steal! Off-street parking in my neighborhood goes for $100 a month!" he wrote.
"I've seen in some cities where they actually charge more for a residential permit if you have off-street parking available. They also charge more for a second car than for a first car. This is a good way to prioritize on-street parking for people who don't have driveways and to provide an incentive to only have one car rather than two."