Mansfield, MBTA ignore parking needs of commuters outside Mansfield
by Glenn Gutmacher
Norton and Foxboro residents are getting screwed in Mansfield's and the MBTA's plans--or should I say, non-plans--to address the commuter rail station situation.
In a move in early August, the town installed 2-hour maximum parking signs on all streets between a 5- and 10-minute walk from the station, adding to signs existing for years that block commuter parking on all the streets under a five-minute walk.
In a Mansfield News article two weeks ago, the Town Manager, John D'Agostino, was quoted as saying that the plans to expand the commuter rail station next year (see www.cleanstart.com for details) will not increase the number of parking spaces, yet he admitted that the area population needing to use the station will continue increasing rapidly.
Does Mansfield realize that ALL paid parking lot spaces are full BEFORE 7am daily? Unfortunately, most commuters can't get to the station before 7am: As one of many commuting parents with small children who need to be helped to get ready for daycare/school, I can't leave that early, not to mention the numerous others whose workplaces don't open before 8am, so there's no point in them catching such early trains, among other reasons.
So what's next? Installing more 2-hour parking signs all the way to the Norton and Foxboro town borders? God forbid you don't walk well, or it's inclement weather, etc., it's becoming quite a hike to get to the station!
So let's get serious. What "solutions" has Mansfield proposed?
Town Manager John D'Agostino's remarks and the town's policies to date amount to preserving the status quo: If he knows the commuter population is growing, why is he approving a commuter rail station project that doesn't include more parking or otherwise accommodate its users? The station may reside in Mansfield, but that doesn't mean the obligation ends with Mansfield residents.
Instead, how about trying some of these ideas?
Your neighbors are getting angry, Mansfield; it's time you and the MBTA worked with Norton and Foxboro to take meaningful action.
Glenn Gutmacher is a Norton resident.