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  • Donald M. Berwick makes a point July 28, 2014.

    Inside a packed Arlington home enthused for Berwick

    Donald M. Berwick makes a point July 27. Don Berwick has political problems, but you would not know about them from the energy generated Sunday, July 27, at an Arlington home, where an estimated 100 people crowded into every cranny to hear the doctor who would be governor. One issue is his standing in polls. Seeking the Democratic nomination in the Sept. 9 primary, he trails Martha Coakley and Steve Grossman, according to July numbers in The Boston Globe. By a lot. No matter, as those gathere ...

  • Film reviews logo

    Review: Discovering love in 'And So it Goes'

    This review by Tom Meek, a writer living in Cambridge, was originally published at Cambridge Day, a YourArlington partner, and is republished with permission. His reviews, essays, short stories and articles have appeared in The Boston Phoenix, The Rumpus, Thieves Jargon, Film Threat and Open Windows. He is a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and rides his bike everywhere. You can follow Tom on Twitter @TBMeek3 and read more at Rob Reiner, a.k.a. “Meathead” an ...

  • Arlington election logo

    3 ask you to vote for Berwick

    YourArlington welcomes letters to the editor from Arlington residents for all Massachusetts candidates whose election would have an impact on the town. Email them to sprague.bob at Here are three supporting Don Berwick, who is seeking to be the Democratic nominee after the Sept. 9 primary. World-class candidate Don Berwick is the kind of governor we need: A progressive in the mold of Elizabeth Warren.   At the "meet-and-greet Sunday, July 27, about 100 people showed up; ...

  • Ken Donnelly, in 2007

    Why we voted against raising charter-school cap

    The following viewpoint was submitted by the Leila Gentile in the office of Senator Ken Donnelly, Democrat of Arlington. She wrote that following last week’s debate on charter schools, her office heard from many of constituents on both sides of the issue. This op ed explains the senators' reasons for voting against the bill. The opinion was written by Senators Patricia Jehlen, Democrat of Somerville, and Donnelly.On July 16, 2014, the Senate voted to defeat a bill that proposed to raise the cu ...

  • Janice Satlak-Mott, Dennie McCabe

    Stratton teacher says goodbye to community

    For 42 years, the kindergarten-1 class at Stratton School has been the "home away from home" for Janice Satlak-Mott. Now she is retiring. In a letter to the Stratton community Monday, July 21, the longtime teacher wrote:      "After a great deal of thought I have made the decision to retire from the Arlington Public Schools. For the past forty-two years Kindergarten-1 has been my home away from home and September my 'Happy New Year.' I have loved my work with the children ...

  • Joseph Monju

    Monju sees his role as fiscal watchdog for taxpayers

    Joseph Monju of Arlington, who is seeking to be the Republican nominee for state representative in the 23rd Middlesex, joined the “Yes on 1” organizers supporting the repeal of automatic gas-tax increases. On the one-year anniversary of the House voting to override the governor’s veto of the tax packages, passing a $500 million in tax increases, Monju helped roll out on the State House stairs what he sees a "the State House tab." It is a list of how he says Massachusetts state government has ...

  • Arlington Avocado image

    You don't say (or maybe you do) ...

    Kurt Fusaris offers a bite from his latest Avocado -- what Arlington residents say and don't say. You can subscribe to the Avocado via email. Until you do, read the skinny here >> This link to a viewpoint was published Thursday, July 17, 2014. ...

  • FAR logo

    Silver Maple Forest campaign launched

    The following information about the campaign was published at Cambridge Day, July 17: Leslie prof says value of Silver Maple Forest outweighs condos See the video of the protest parade >>  1. Encourage State Senators Senator Jehlen and Senator Brownsberger to debate Environmental Bond Bill on Senate floor coming up with an amendment to include silver maple money (Will Brownsberger, Pat Jehlen, Dave ...

  • Happy artists at the Paint Bar in Newton.

    Night life in the Heights? Who knew? Art lounge coming

    Happy artists at the Paint Bar in Newton. Arlington Art Lounge aims to expand the idea. Three enthusiastic women plan to turn the former Savory Plate, at 1346 Mass. Ave., into Arlington Art Lounge. By September, you will be able to eat, drink -- and paint over 2 1/2 hours or so evening or weekend afternoons. Kim Bradshaw, Sheila Carme and Helen Galanopoulos got the thumbs-up from selectmen Monday, June 23, food a food license. They plan to return in July for a beer-and-wine license. "We're e ...

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 Tuesday July 29, 2014 |  10:56:55 p.m.
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Steve ByrneByrne

Board of Selectmen logo, Jan. 23, 2013

Selectmen voted unanimously Monday, Feb. 11, to give voters in April a nonbinding ballot question aimed at changing a longtime Arlington tradition -- the overnight parking ban.

How the question is worded and what its specific aims are remain to take shape. Board members want to know whether residents favor loosening the townwide ban, which says vehicles may not park on the street for more than two hours between 1 and 7 a.m.

Selectman Steven Byrne, who proposed the ballot question, said, "it's an appropriate way to gauge residents' feelings and then set appropriate policies."

He floated a precinct-by-precinct idea about how the ban might change, but other board members resisted it.

If voters want to drop the ban and officials change the parking rules about that, residents would still have to pay the $200 annual fee for an overnight-parking permit, and there would be no overnight parking allowed on Mass. Ave. or Mystic and Summer streets, according to Byrne's plan.

Selectmen expect to discuss at their next meeting the goals of such a questions, options to consider as well as wording to be proposed by Town Counsel Juliana Rice.
Byrne initially proposed having the changed parking rules administered by precinct -- that is, those of Arlington's 21 precincts that voted to end the ban on the ballot question would have it removed and those that wanted to keep it would continue to have it.

Kevin Greeley, the board's chairman, didn't go for that. "At this point, I don’t think we should talk about potential solutions," he said.

Greeley said he supported the ballot question, not the precinct-by-precinct administration.

Byrne, in his first year as selectman, called precinct-by-precinct "the fairest possible way to let the voters decide how they would want their own neighborhoods to look."

He said Fred Ryan, the police chief, and Bob Jefferson, the fire chief, believed the administration of such a plan was doable.

Byrne said he expects more support for removing the ban in East Arlington.

Overall, selectmen agreed that this question could help solve one of the town's long-standing parking issues, which is related to too many vehicles and too few places to put them.

History of issue is murky

It is unclear when the overnight ban was instituted -- or why.

Officials have offered a variety of reasons over the years. They include hard economic factors -- without the ban, the town's insurance rates could rise -- to softer issues of perception: "We don't want Arlington to look like Cambridge or Somerville."

Greeley, who has in the past proposed alternate-side-of-the-street parking as a solution, said he thinks the ban was enacted to help police officers on patrol better view streets and neighborhoods.

Selectman Joseph Curro Jr. said he had asked many longtime residents why the ban was put in place, "and I almost never get the same answer twice."

The $200 overnight fee was instituted about five years ago. It was increased from a $100 fee put in place about 1996.

Greeley noted a caution about private ways, which he said make up about one-third of the town. Residents who live on them may want them to become public if the ban is lifted, as overnight parking is permitted there. Selectman Dan Dunn, who lives on a private way, smiled and agreed.

The nonbinding question, if approved, would be the second to go before voters at Saturday, April 6, town election. The other is the question about Mass. Ave.

Online poll shows support for ban

YourArlington conducted an unscientific poll for 28 days in October 2011 asking whether the overnight ban should be repealed. Sixty-five percent voted to retain the ban.

Here are the results among 131 voting:
Retained: 85 (64.9%)
Repealed: 46 (35.1%)
No opinion: 0

A second poll conducted during that period, asked the public to choose solutions if you wanted to repeal the bylaw. Sixty-two voted in the second poll.
If you favor repeal, what should happen next for on-street parking overnight (choose just one)?
Parking on one side of the street only with a low-cost permit (to cover costs): 18 (29%)
Parking anytime, anywhere without a permit: 15 (24.2%)
Parking on one side of the street only with a higher-cost permit (to raise revenue): 13 (21%)
Parking anytime, anywhere with a low-cost permit (to cover costs): 12 (19.4%)
Parking anytime, anywhere with a higher-cost permit (to raise revenue): 4 (6.5%)

This story was published Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013.


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