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Parking spots paroled
Lowell police free up coveted garage spaces

Friday, September 10, 2004 - LOWELL Police thought they were being sensitive to the downtown parking crunch when they reserved a dozen spaces in a parking garage instead of 48 spaces.

But 12 is apparently an overly indulgent number of spaces to keep open if it's happening while college students are lining up outside the garage gate each morning waiting for a coveted space.

How quickly the wheels of government can work sometimes.

As soon as The Sun made inquiries, the reserve parking signs came down and police dropped the idea. (how nice of the Lowell Sun to bring this to everyone's attention)

"The power of the press," laughed Deputy Superintendent Kenneth Lavallee.

The tale reflects the exasperation caused by the city's parking shortage.

On Monday, just before the start of the school year when downtown parking spaces typically grow even more scarce police posted signs reserving 12 spaces on the fourth level of the Lower Locks parking garage.

The signs didn't say so, but the spaces were reserved for members of the police academy.

This year's class of 48 recruits, from across the state, train at the Tsongas Arena in the morning, then take classes from 9 a.m. to midafternoon.

After nine years, UMass Lowell needed to reclaim some of its own dwindling classroom space, so the police academy moved to Middlesex Community College.

To make the trainees' lives easier, Police Superintendent Edward Davis ordered the signs at Lower Locks, situated next to the college.

The idea was for the 48 cadets to carpool from Tsongas Arena to the garage in 12 or fewer cars.

That, police thought, showed consideration.

But nearly every morning since Labor Day, Middlesex students have been lining up outside the garage, waiting long hours to get an open space.

MCC students and teachers park in the garage for free, for which the college pays the city a $225,000 stipend.

When the signs were pointed out by The Sun, their days were numbered.

"They're down now," Lavallee said of the signs, adding that the trainees "will have to fend for themselves."

But is that so bad?

Prospective police officers work to become physically fit. :?:

And to walk from Tsongas Arena to the college is only a half-mile as the crow flies.


The city is going to complain about 12 spaces being reserved? C'mon now.... :?

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Yeah, it's ok for the cops to have to walk, but tell the reporter they have to walk that far for ANY REASON and it will not be "fair", resulting in an article about the 'mean ole police' making them walk...

Perhaps those young college 'rudents' should be made to walk, what with all the talk about the obesity problem in this country (not to mention the dreaded 'freshman fifteen'). :shock:

By the way, plenty of parking available at the Agawam Academy! 8)
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