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Complaints About Parking Issues Around Town Result in Restrictions

by Connie Sartini
Issues and complaints about parking at several locations around town have resulted in the Select Board unanimously adopting the recommendations outlined by Groton Police Chief Michael Luth for the following sites: Fitch’s Bridge, Court Street, Lowell Road near Gibbet Hill, and the end of Indian Hill Road.
Fitch’s Bridge
     Chief Luth said that the Department has received complaints at the Fitch’s Bridge site on Pepperell Road/Shirley Street where car-loads of people park all over the area and use the site to jump off the bridge into the water. They also impede the residents from walking across the bridge because they are sun bathing in the middle of the structure. There is a restriction on jumping off the bridge and for the use of alcohol. Neighbors have complained that there are people urinating and using foul language, both of which can be heard by folks in their yards.
     Chief Luth recommended limiting parking, with no parking allowed on the west side of Pepperell Road/Shirley Street from Wallace Road to Throne Hill. He said that, at times, the parking is so bad that it has blocked residents’ driveways. He suggested limiting or prohibiting parking, and installing signs delineating the “No Parking Zones.”
     Department of Public Works Director Tom Delaney agreed and cited concerns with the other side of the bridge at the intersection of Gratuity Road and Fitch’s Bridge Road. “I would like to move the gate close to this intersection,” Delaney said, noting that people steal farmers’ crops from the adjacent fields. “It is an accident waiting to happen.”
Court Street
Chief Luth advised that the issues of parking on Court Street were brought to his attention by Fire Chief Steele McCurdy, who is concerned with the ability of fire equipment to traverse the roadway with cars parked on either side of the narrow street.
     “The street does not support parking on both sides. We need a parking restriction with no parking allowed on the side of the street where the hydrants are located.” He added that all residences on the street have driveways.
     The Board asked if he had been in touch with the residents on this proposal, and the Chief said he had not. The Select Board approved the parking restrictions for Court Street effective July 1 pending notification of the residents by the Chief.
Gibbet Hill
     The beautiful view and the Bancroft Castle have long attracted visitors to Gibbet Hill, however, with the popularity of the site, parking along Lowell Road has become a traffic issue with people parking on both sides of the road, resulting in the narrowing of the road. He recommended installation of “Tow Zone” signs rather than having to wait for the car’s owner to return to the vehicle.
     While the Conservation Restriction for the site allows it to be open from dawn till dusk, residents have complained that people are walking through their properties late at night, at 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. Selectman Josh Degen stressed that this is a private drive on the east side and suggested installation of a sign indicating “No Parking” and that residents and authorized persons only be allowed on the drive.
Indian Hill Road
     Chief Luth advised that the end of Indian Hill Road becomes very narrow with people parking on both sides of the road to access the conservation land and trails. Again, this causes the road to become impassible for fire trucks, ambulances and delivery trucks. He is recommending that parking be allowed only on the right side of the road.
The Select Board voted unanimously to adopt the recommendations of the Police Chief for these locations. 
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