Full parking enforcement resumes in Amherst on Monday

  • Downtown Amherst GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/30/2020 10:53:27 PM

AMHERST — Parking enforcement is resuming at on-street spaces and in municipal parking lots in Amherst beginning Monday morning.

Signs are going up on kiosks reminding people that after relief from parking fees in recent months, warnings and then tickets can be issued for people who fail to pay for parking or overstay the time limits.

Since mid-March, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, tickets were only issued for infractions such as vehicles illegally parked in handicapped spaces, in front of fire hydrants or blocking driveways.

There will be a grace period of two weeks before tickets for expired meters will be issued.

Amherst is beginning enforcement in a similar way to the city of Northampton, which also announced this week that the parking holiday that formally began during the pandemic would be ending in that city on Monday. 

Parking enforcement officers, like other Amherst employees, had shifted responsibilities in recent months, including doing some oversight at Puffer’s Pond.

Amherst Business Improvement District Executive Director Gabrielle Gould said most businesses should be fine with enforcement resuming and understand that many college students who live off campus could be returning in the next few weeks, causing a parking crunch.

But Gould said she worries for salons and barbers, where customers have the most uncertainty how long they will need to park for appointments. 

Gould said there should be a sufficient number of 15-minute spaces where people can continue to park for free and run in to get a take-out orders from restaurants.

Until Sept. 1, free parking will remain available daily in all permit parking spaces after 5 p.m., but once the school year begins those are restricted to permit holders, except during evenings and weekends.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.

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