Restricted parking warnings are popping up on streets around West Haven. Some say they are a welcome sign that things might be a little easier for residents this summer.
One resident says they’re a bit of an eyesore but agrees it comes with a trade-off for those who live near the beach.
“It does get very, very, very crowded with out of towners, I will say that,” said the resident who lives on Linwood Street and declined to give his name. “It at times it becomes for us residents, you don’t even want to go down there when there are so many people.”
The signs are an upgrade from the ones used last summer during pandemic beach restrictions, when both street and lot parking was for residents only.
Capacity limits at lots were reduced, so many people from the city and out of town parked on the streets. Mayor Nancy Rossi said some people disregarded the smaller signs on the ground warning of tickets and towing.
Larger signs can still be seen high on telephone poles because she says people were tearing them down, although it’s not known if they were city residents or visitors from out of town.
She did note that some city visitors weren’t following rules regarding parking and trash.
“There were people coming from out of town and parking and leaving trash, and not obeying the rules,” Rossi said.
So, they needed a permanent fix. She told her team the warning needed to be clear, and in red.
“I said ‘we need new signs. I want signs that are going to go from May the first until September the thirtieth, and they’re going to be tag and tow,” Rossi said.
This year, residents will need a valid beach sticker that will match their license plate. Out of town residents can buy a beach season pass from the city. And, in a change to the pandemic rules, the parking lots will reopen to visitors.
Rossi says they are open to modifying the parking and welcomes visitors to West Haven beaches this year.
“Come and enjoy our beaches. We have parking lots; you can get non-resident season passes,” Rossi said.
Katerina Simons says she’s concerned about guests visiting city residents. They may not have beach stickers to park on the street and may have to park in driveways with the new signage.
“The residents need maybe a guest permit or something like that,” Simons said.
She adds the area of Beach Street gets really busy in the summertime, and she hopes opening the lots and restricting certain areas helps.
“Of course, I’d like to have less traffic, but I’d also like to have everyone come to the beach because it’s a great place to be in the summer for everyone,” Simons said.