Summer Beach Traffic and Parking Part 2 – high tech and common sense Good Harbor Beach, Long Beach, Stage Fort, Great Marsh

This is a follow up about the public meeting held by Gloucester City Councilor Scott Memhard February 15, 2018 at Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Public Library on beach traffic and parking with a focus on his ward. This post includes Councilor Memhard’s meeting notes, and the Beach & Traffic Ad Hoc committee presentation to City Council. Look for information and maps related to Long Beach, Good Harbor Beach, Stage Fort Park, and more. Chances are your ideas or concerns were mentioned–doublecheck for yourself. Future public meetings to be announced.


Here’s the presentation packet to the City Council from the Gloucester Beach Parking and Traffic Ad Hoc Committee, January 2017

Here’s Councilor Memhard’s recap of the Summer Beach and Traffic public meeting held at Sawyer Free Library February 16, 2018 (advertised in the Beacon, Gloucester Daily Times, and elsewhere long in advance):

“The Ward 1 Beach Parking Ordinance community meeting last night at the library was well attended. We had a lively airing of concerns and opinions, addressing the specific Parking Ordinance proposed changes, and general, wide-ranging discussion of the problem and various potential solutions, including:

> expanded off-site parking* and trolly/bus service to the beaches;
> better signage notifying drivers that lots are full and closed, with posted directions to alternate parking options; and
> other practical steps to relieve severe safely, access, and disruption from on-street parking congestion in our beach neighborhoods.

*park n ride options would ease traffic especially with smartphone reservations/options. Locales like Rockport, Manchester, Provincetown limit cars. Several lots mentioned maximizing extant options such as negotiating with Stop&Shop, Shaws, Fuller, Blackburn, schools, etc. Stage Fort Shuttle already established and more train/bike. Train-trolley services have a rich history here.


Scott Memhard recap continues:

“A fair summary would be that the general feeling of the attendees was, while broader use of “Resident Only Parking” stickers might be a good step towards limiting some illegal beach parking, this proposed Ordinance change, despite input from the Ad Hoc Beach Parking working group, Traffic Commission and Council O&A sub-committee, would NOT materially help issues of beach parking infringement in the neighborhood side streets.

> Greater police enforcement, ticketing and towing is really needed, although GPD manpower for this is limited by budget and staffing constraints, as well as tow company practical limits on busy weekends.
> People felt that the City’s commitment to better enforcement was currently lax, and would be most helpful if beefed up, including hiring dedicated summer weekend parking enforcers, like our downtown meter-maids.
> Consistent, effective Enforcement will change violators’ habits, and get the message out! Ticket, ticket, and more tickets, with multiple tickets being issued on same Vehicle, as is done in other communities.
> Also implementation of tougher Beach Zone parking fines and penalties, for which we are presently seeking State approval for.”


“Other suggestions included:

> Making certain street one-way during busy weekend mornings (Witham Street, Marina Drive, Thatcher’s between Barn Lane and Witham) was mentioned several times.
> Also, the important need/opportunity for bicycle paths & a pedestrian-friendly sidewalk on a widened Thatcher’s Road between Barn Lane and Witham Steet, widening the way into or over the marsh, with needed State and Conservation support.
> Elimination of out-of-town year-round beach parking permits was popular with residents attending.
> Weekend mornings having a Police officer directing traffic at Eastern Ave/128 would improve traffic flow, for both visitors and residents,

We also dealt with questions of the City’s legally installing signage and implementing additional regulations on streets that are privately owned, and the issue of liability in privately enforcing and towing violators. We hope to convene another Beach Parking Community Meeting again, in the Spring, either at the Library again, or perhaps in the evening at Cape Ann Coffees.”– Scott Memhard, City Councilor

more links

February 15, 2018  Good Morning Gloucester Summer Beach Traffic and Parking Part 1- discuss

July 13, 2017 Boston Globe: Playing the Beach Parking Game a Summer Guide HIGHLIGHTS Bob Ryan Heidi Dallin park n ride CATA options

August 2016 Boston Globe “Not a Day at the Beach for Out of Towners” 

July 2015 Cape Ann Beacon Heavy Traffic 
“We need to find better ways to move people around town. Trolleys, off-site parking facilities, even boat taxis and shuttles are being explored to help with traffic concerns.”  Romeo-Theken adds, “We ask that everyone have a little patience and enjoy the summer in Gloucester; it’s too short.”

July 2015 Gloucester Daily Times Gloucester Mayor: We’re Looking to do something about Beach Traffic

Based on DPW’s sensitivity with the Boulevard design and build, I think a petite sidewalk- marsh boulevard along Thatcher to Good Harbor Beach could be lovely and safer  (anything that encouraged design for people rather than cars)

8 thoughts on “Summer Beach Traffic and Parking Part 2 – high tech and common sense Good Harbor Beach, Long Beach, Stage Fort, Great Marsh

  1. With all the problems with Summer beach traffic, I do not understand why the City of Gloucester APPROIVED the two large condo sites almost directly across from Good Harbor Beach! Someone should ask about this. What was once a good Restaurant site, Gloucester approved the change to building CONDOS TO HELP ADD TO THE BEACH TRAFFIC PROBLEM! This was the most stupid thing that the City of Gloucester could have done if they really cared anything about BEACH TRAFFIC!!! I live on Thatcher Road and was extremely upset to see these condos being built because I knew these were going to add to the traffic problem. What didn’t the City of Gloucester realize this???


  2. IF the Blackburn Industrial Park is empty on weekend. Perhaps the tourists could park there.
    OR we could import sharks from Cape Cod to scare the tourists away.
    I know of locals who don’t go out on weekends so as to avoid the insanity.


  3. A wooden boardwalk over the marsh might get the walkers off the narrow road.
    Maybe a parking garage where the defunct Sears store is on Eastern Ave.
    A cop or stoplight is definitely needed by Barn Lane. That is a hellish spot.
    A road thru the woods from Blackburn Circle to Nugent Stretch for the tourists who are going to Rockport.
    That would remove some traffic from the stoplights and Eastern Ave.
    IF the planet keeps warming, we could all move to Lubec, Maine.
    Maybe large passenger carrying drones landing on Salt Is. with a zip line to the beach? lol


  4. Thanks Catherine…Great follow-up here and thanks for sharing! Sounds like have both “Circles” working the issues to meet and close in on fix!! What was it they said in a movie I saw recently things never go as planned but keep trying! “We have major problems our way with parking 50 million people will do that country wide that is” Bottom line is respect is needed for other’s impacted by actions of some…Best of luck forward!



  5. No, no, no! Have you been to the beach on a busy weekend at high tide? You can’t find a place to sit on the small amount of sand available. There has to be point of capacity. Higher tickets are needed for those parked illegally but make sure signage is clear and how much a ticket will cost. If the ticket is high enough and actual enforcement with visible ticketers, you’ll see less cars. Start there!


Leaving a comment rewards the author of this post- add to the discussion here-

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s