New parking rules in downtown Westport to take effect May 1

Operations director Tom Kiely says the return to time limits isn't meant to be punitive but to address the issue of limited parking availability.

Marissa Alter

Apr 29, 2024, 8:59 PM

Updated 18 days ago


Time is just about up on most all-day parking in downtown Westport. Starting May 1, town-owned lots and roads will still be free but with a three-hour limit. It’s an effort to increase parking availability in town, according to Westport Operations Director Tom Kiely.
“We really want to encourage turnover. We want the more desirable spots accessible to everybody. We don't want just a few to monopolize those ideal spots,” Kiely told News 12.
This isn’t a new idea for Westport. It’s a return to the rules before the pandemic, but this time with an increase from the prior limits. Before the spring of 2020, spaces were one and two hours. Town leaders decided to do away with time limits for parking about four years ago to encourage people to visit downtown.
“As COVID restrictions lifted, the downtown became a thriving area once again and with that, parking has become an issue,” Kiely explained.
He told News 12 there was a public meeting about bringing back parking limits where there was opposition to the idea. In response, the town changed the prior limits to three hours. But there is one exception.
“Route 1 or Post Road - that is under state Department of Transportation. Those spots are still one and two-hour parking, but we have asked for them to increase the limits to three hours so it’s consistent throughout the entire downtown area,” said Keily.
The time limits are in place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. The police department’s parking enforcement unit will monitor spaces and ticket those drivers who don’t comply. Lt. Eric Woods told News 12 that drivers who exceed three hours, face a $25 fine. If they’re parked for over six hours, the fine doubles to $50.
Kiely said the return to time limits isn't meant to be punitive but instead address the issue of limited parking availability. He also stated there are still multiple all-day parking spaces downtown. To help residents and visitors understand the new rules, the town put up yard signs around downtown with a QR code that has more information.
“That links directly to our Discover Westport parking page with updated maps, space counts, even EV chargers where applicable. We just want to make it easy for everybody to come down and find the appropriate parking,” Kiely said.

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