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Politicians fret over parking issues surrounding casino

Boston Herald

Mary Markos and Jonathan Ng

June 5, 2019

Politicians are worried Encore Boston Harbor’s plan to grab 700 parking spaces for its employees at a popular Medford parking garage near Wellington Station will negatively impact other commuters.

Encore, which plans to open in Everett this month, will lease 700 spaces in that Pilgrim Parking garage and is in active negotiations with other parking operators to secure another 100 spaces, as the Herald previously reported.

“The decision by the private company to not allow monthly parking is their decision,” said Michael Weaver, a spokesman for Wynn Resorts. “That’s their business decision. We are fulfilling the requirement we had to obtain, 800 parking spaces exclusively for employees.”

A spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, documents submitted to the commission last week said, “As the project has progressed, it was determined that there was not sufficient availability of parking in Malden Center, so Encore Boston Harbor focused its efforts on securing parking near the Wellington MBTA Station. Encore has secured 400 parking spaces in the parking garage at Station Landing, and is negotiating with the owner for additional spaces. This garage has direct pedestrian access to the Wellington MBTA station.”

Medford Mayor Stephanie Burke and state Rep. Paul Donato said in a joint statement, “We are very disheartened that Pilgrim, a private entity, decided to inform their monthly parking pass holders less than 30 days in advance that they will no longer offer monthly passes.”

Donato later told the Herald, “It’s a private development, it’s a company that is going to utilize any opportunity it can for its own business plan … My concern would be whether or not the ridership to the T would be impacted. According to what I am told, the T has more than enough spaces to accommodate those who are going to use the mass transit and Pilgrim is indicating that there is more than enough parking spaces to accommodate anyone who wants to use the garage. The only difference they’re saying is going to happen is instead of a monthly rate it’s going to be a daily rate.”

Everett City Councilor Mike McLaughlin said when “it comes to the issue of parking in the city, where are all these cars going to park?”

“I’m dissatisfied to see the company had to take a more aggressive approach to the community with current customers,” McLaughlin added. “I think that the state should take this as a serious concern and try to work with the owner of that lot, try to work as hard as everyone can to try to find suitable parking for those individuals so that their lives are not negatively impacted.”

Pilgrim Parking declined to comment.

Gov. Charlie Baker told the Herald, “It’s my understanding that there are a couple of other parking garages as well in the area and it depends to some extent on when you’re going to be there … we do have a Wellington garage near there which has empty spaces in it people can certainly use.”

According to the MBTA’s website, there are 1,335 parking spaces at the T’s Wellington parking lot. T spokesman Joe Pesaturo said that there are “plenty of MBTA spaces available each day” at the lot. A monthly pass costs approximately $160.

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