Massachusetts Maritime Academy Looks to Expand Parking Options for Students

BUZZARDS BAY – Massachusetts Maritime Academy is in the process of securing a two acre parcel off Perry Avenue in downtown Buzzards Bay to create more parking spaces for students.

The academy has a purchase and sale agreement in place to buy the parcel, according to Paul O’Keefe, the academy’s vice president of operations.  

The new lot will be located across from Bourne Town Hall and behind the businesses that neighbor it on Main Street.

It will feature around 250 spaces and will be designed similarly to the academy owned Taylor Road lot, which has 236 spaces.

The lot will also have pedestrian access to the Cape Cod Canal walkway.

The academy is currently testing soil in the area and doing an environmental assessment so that it can prepare a concept plan before finalizing the purchase, O’Keefe said.

While the plan would give Academy students more parking options, not everyone is on board with it as selectmen believe the lot will be a loss of income for the Town of Bourne.

Selectmen also argued that the parking lot could funnel more traffic down Perry Avenue and adjacent streets, adding additional wear and tear to roads that are not designed to handle it.

According to O’Keefe, the academy has two more years on its lease at Liberty Warehouse Liquors which contains 200 spaces and is in a two year agreement with St. Peter’s Episcopal Church for another 50.

The academy also recently made an agreement with the town of Bourne to lease 100 spaces in the back parking lot of the National Marine Life Center, however the new agreement is for 30 less spaces than what the academy used to have.

“Part of the rationalization behind this also is to provide a legal parking space for our students. They are very creative and they find places to park, not always legally, and that creates disharmony with neighborhoods,” said O’Keefe.

“I know the town is working on a parking plan for down town Bourne to provide parking for businesses and it doesn’t help if we have students that find ways to park outside the system so to speak.”

Another part of the motivation to purchase the land for the lot was to stabilize the Academy’s parking plan as the majority of parking spots are under short-term leases that are subject to change based on the owners.

“We’re looking for long term parking solutions to stabilize our parking plan,” O’Keefe said.

“This lot off of Perry Ave in Bourne offers us a permit parking solution.”    

The academy has also proposed a shared use approach to the lot, especially during the summer months in which access to additional parking near Main Street and the canal would benefit the public as well as local businesses.

Selectmen plan to have frequent public conversations on how the town and the academy can work to mutually benefit each other moving forward.

About Luke Leitner

Luke Leitner grew up in Watertown Massachusetts and now lives in West Yarmouth on the Cape. He has been a part of the news team in the News Center since the spring of 2019. He studied business communications at Western New England University.
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