By Ashlyn Kelly
FRAMINGHAM – The Framingham Traffic Commission heard complaints from residents of Old Worcester Road about commercial vehicles parked on the side of the road at its meeting on February 22.
District 3 Framingham City Councilor Adam Steiner wrote a letter to the Commission stating there are commonly four or more smaller commercial vehicles parked overnight on Old Worcester Road.
“Residents of the area have shared videos that show that when there are several of these commercial vans parked, the road becomes narrower to the point that traffic can only pass in one direction,” Councilor Steiner wrote.
Kathie McCarthy, a resident of Westgate Road, said, “We are becoming a public parking lot on a public street.”
Tara Whitehurst, a resident of the neighborhood said her child gets the bus at the corner of one of the streets and “when you’re coming up the street, you cannot see who’s coming the other way.”
Andrew Hoag, another resident of the neighborhood, said “It’s regularly 10-plus commercial-work vehicles that are congregating and parking in the same space night after night after night.
“They’re violating laws that that should be enforced and just aren’t,” he added.
Cornelia Hill, a resident of Old Worcester Road, said “There’s a truck that has been parked there and did not move for at least four or five months. We thought it was an art installation.”
Karen Horowitz, a resident of Westgate Road, said residents are told they cannot park on the street when plowing out their driveways after a snowstorm.
“If we can’t be parked in the street in front of our own house, just when it’s being plowed why are they being allowed to park on the street during a major snowstorm and leave the trucks there all the time?” said Horowitz.
Framingham Traffic Commission Chair William Sedewitz said Framingham’s commercial parking regulations are that a commercial vehicle with more than a one-ton capacity cannot be parked on roads overnight or on Sundays.
“Some of the smaller vans likely would not trip that,” said the Traffic Commission Chair. “So, in my opinion, it’s legal. Whether we want it to be illegal or not is a different subject.”
Framingham Police Lt. Harry Wareham, the Police Department’s representative on the Framingham Traffic Commission, said a vehicle is considered abandoned after 72 hours without being moved but must receive a sticker from the police department to start the 72-hour period.
Sedewitz said, “But if those vans … are moved periodically, I do not believe they are inconsistent with the currently adopted parking regulations.”
Traffic Commissioner Steven P. Croci said, “most of the vehicles as shown in your pictures are technically legal and could be passed in a public way.”
Chair Sedewitz added current regulations indicate if parked vehicles impede snow removal, they can be ticketed and towed, but it is up to the highway department to determine which vehicles are interfering.
“In most cases, other than arterioles which are closer to downtown, [cars being ticketed and towed during snowstorms] does not regularly happen,” the chair said.
Sedewitz said he has also received complaints from other neighborhoods about similar issues.
“Old Worcester Road is not the exception,” said the Traffic Commission Chair. “One of the things this Commission … is looking at is whether we want to change more universally – city-wide – parking regulations. But I personally have a problem with you know, not handling different neighborhoods consistently,” he added.
Croci made a motion for the Commission to “contact the inspection department, in the code enforcement group and get them involved in this thing. They can help us as well as the officer [Wareham] mentioned.”
The motion passed unanimously 7-0-0.
Traffic Commissioner Mario Alvarez, said, “I just wanted to let you – the neighbors – know that your frustration is not going unnoticed. It’s not being ignored or anything like that.
“What I’ve heard from the chair and other members here is that the law is clear as to how much we can do, at this point in time,” Alvarez added.
Ashlyn Kelly is a Spring 2022 SOURCE intern. She is a is a senior communication arts major with minors in political science and journalism at Framingham State University. When she is not writing an article, you can usually find her in a theatre.