By William Tauro
“Assembly Row Parking Meters Jump to $1.25 Per Hour/ Twelve Minutes @ Twenty-Five Cents, Remainder of Somerville To Hike Next Week”
What’s up at Assembly Row where all the parking meters suddenly jumped up to $1.25 per hour with a two-hour maximum parking limit?
With a brand new multi billion dollar Encore Casino newly opened right across the river, why would Somerville officials spike parking meter fees there to discourage business customers at Assembly Row especially at this time?
I remember a few years ago when they were building Station Landing right across the River in Medford. Yes, Station Landing was surely the place to be with new restaurants, condominiums, hotels, stores and a great place to spend an evening or two.
But then it happened, Assembly Row came into the picture with the hopes and promises to build a new state-of-the-art metropolis to live, work and play on the Mystic River right here in Somerville. It offered the best of the best within a short driving distance along the Mystic.
But not to soon after the opening of Assembly Row, we began to notice stores or restaurants going out of business and moving out at Station Landing across the river in Medford. The reason, well, it appeared that Assembly Row in Somerville was the place to be.
But now since June 2019, meet Encore Casino, the area’s newest 8th wonder of the world that had opened just across the river in Everett.
On grand opening day alone over 50,000 people showed up to welcome the area’s newest attraction. A modern day casino within a short distance from Somerville where you could spend a day to roll the dice, hit a slot machine, dine at one of the many restaurants and then even crash at it’s multi billion dollar hotel.
So with all that said, one would only think that whoever makes the rules at Assembly Row would use their heads so history wouldn’t repeat itself again. And when I say history repeating itself again I’m referring to the same way it did when Assembly Row opened and caused the closings of multiple businesses at Medford’s Station Landing.
And I have to be honest with you that most people who take their spouses out to wine and dine them actually only go once a month.
On that one Saturday evening would those spouses treat themselves out to Somerville’s Assembly Row where there are many pricey restaurants and pricey stores that you have to walk to outdoors in the heat and cold weather and on top of that now pay $1.25 an hour to park with a two-hour maximum with twelve minutes @ twenty-five cents? I’m pretty sure that most people will decide to venture over to Encore in Everett where everything is indoors and air-conditioned. A husband can easily say to his wife, “Honey why don’t you go shopping at Encore and I’m going to go roll the dice, hit some slot machines and have a few cocktails for free on the gaming floor.”
Now with all these economic consequences potentially facing the city of Somerville at Assembly Row, wouldn’t you think they’d leave well enough alone and not raise the parking fees?
After calling the City of Somerville this past Wednesday morning, I did ask what the story was. I was informed that as of today Assembly Row’s parking meters went up to $1.25 an hour with a two hours maximum that equals 12 minutes for $.25.
The city also informed me that the rest of the city’s parking meters are due to go up in price this week as well.
I also called the Somerville Chamber of Commerce this morning and spoke to Chamber President Stephen Mackey who was totally unaware of the increase as well but told us he would check into it.
So why is this happening? Why are we hurting our businesses in our own city and not helping them thrive. Are we that desperate for all that extra twenty-five cents in parking fees? Why are we asking for a potential economic failure to happen when we have so much competition all around us in Boston, Cambridge, Medford and now Everett?
Just take a good look at Union Square in the past year. The Red House Restaurant, Yuki Restaurant, the Smoke Shop In Union Square, the Union Juice Shop and who can forget the New Asia Restaurant all closed down because customers had nowhere to park.
Try to park on Somerville Avenue to go to Jerry’s Liquors, Somerville Computers or even Lapel Cleaners, not! There’s only limited parking available and the parking that is available is going up as well this week when the city changes over the parking meters, and not to mention the overkill of construction.
The city has blown through so much money that now they’re taking it out on the people parking in the city to do business all while hurting our Somerville businesses.
All I know is that so not to get a $50 parking ticket in Somerville, I’m traveling over to Encore Casino in Everett tonight. I’m going to roll the dice, eat a nice steak, have a complimentary cocktail or two on the gaming floor and enjoy myself at a fraction of Somerville’s parking fees cost.