About the Traffic Commission
The Traffic Commission is the regulatory body that oversees all traffic regulations in the City of Somerville. Its authority is based on enabling legislation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' General Laws and the City of Somerville Charter. The Traffic and Parking Department is the custodian of the records and regulations.
The Commission is chaired by the Commissioner of Public Works. The other members of the Commission are: a representative of the Police Chief, a representative of the Fire Chief, the Chair of the City Council's Subcommittee on Traffic & Parking, and a citizen-at-large appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council.
Meetings are attended by the Director of Traffic & Parking, the Parking Clerk, the Commission Secretary, and other Traffic & Parking staff as necessary. The meetings of the Traffic Commission are held monthly and are open to the public. Presently, meetings are conducted every second Thursday.
To be placed on the Traffic Commission’s agenda for their next meeting, please contact Laura Accaputo, Traffic Commission Secretary.
Parking Permit Restrictions FAQ
Agendas & Minutes
Parking Permit Restrictions FAQ
Parking Permit Restrictions in Transit Areas FAQ
What is the purpose of this new policy?
The purpose of this policy is to preclude the future residents of new development from creating additional traffic & parking problems, such as traffic congestion and on-street parking shortages, while helping to reduce air pollution and improve both pedestrian safety and emergency service response time.
Additionally, this policy will help implement multiple objectives of the City’s Comprehensive Plan, SomerVision.
Who does this proposed policy apply to?
The new policy only applies to the future residents of new development located within walking distance to a rapid transit station of the MBTA’s Red, Orange, or Green Line services as identified on the proposed map. Walking distance is considered to be a 10- minute walk and the area of a city within that distance is referred to as a “Transit Area.”
All properties located in the Neighborhood Residence district are excluded from the proposed restriction and all properties outside of walking distance to a rapid transit station are excluded. The Neighborhood Residence district in the proposed new zoning ordinance includes almost all of the single, 2-, and 3-family properties in Somerville, which will still be able to receive resident parking permits.
Does this proposal restrict current residents who already have on-street residential parking permits?
Existing resident parking permits remain valid and residents of all existing residential addresses, whether they already have a resident parking permit or not, remain eligible for on-street parking permits in the future.
What qualifies as new development?
New development includes the construction of entirely new buildings and the gut rehabilitation of existing structures that add new dwelling units in Transit Areas.
Who will certify which addresses the new policy applies to?
The Inspectional Services Department (ISD) will provide a list of addresses to the Parking Department as Certificates of Occupancy are issued for new development.
Can restricted units receive guest permits?
No, the new policy proposes to restrict access to all permits, including guest permits.
Are there any exceptions?
Yes, the new policy exempts future residents that may be “choice limited,” including persons with disabilities, occupants of affordable dwelling units, and residents with extenuating circumstances.
What about people that need their cars such as families or elderly people?
The proposed policy does not apply to residents of existing housing in Somerville. Like all real estate decisions, households that do not yet live in Somerville will have to make a choice about whether to purchase or rent a home or apartment that is subject to this restriction based on their own personal needs.
If adopted, how will this restriction be enforced?
The Parking Department will maintain a list of addresses subject to the restriction.
How will new residents find out about this policy?
The new zoning ordinance requires developers to market new housing in a Transit Areas as ineligible for residential parking permits and to inform potential new residents of the restriction through mandated zoning permit conditions.
What date would this new policy be effective?
The City Charter requires the Traffic Commission to publish the new policy in the newspaper for three weeks, which would be on December 24, 2019, December 31, 2019, and January 7, 2020, making the new policy effective on January 15, 2020.
How will this impact Somerville businesses?
Because the proposed policy does not apply to residents of existing housing in Somerville, local businesses should expect no loss of customer base from what they have today due to the restriction and are likely to gain many additional customers that walk, bike, or take transit to their locations as a result of new development.
Steven MacEachern, Chair
Commissioner of Public Works
City Councilor, Chair
Somerville Fire Department Designee
Lieutenant Somerville Police Department Traffic Division
Commissioner at Large, City Resident
Secretary, Traffic Commission
Visit the Traffic and Parking department's website, ParkSomerville.com, to find forms for:
- Handicapped parking spaces
- Handicapped parking renewals
- Traffic calming
- Private ways
- Loading zones
- And more