Lakeside Parking will be Limited to Curb Crowds

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker indicates that a potential peak in COVID-19 cases is expected here between April 10-20. In an effort to curb the large crowds on Lake Quannapowitt’s narrow sidewalks and reduce the spread of Coronavirus, the Town Council voted last night to enforce temporary parking restrictions along the lakeshore and in Town-owned parking lots by the Lake.

As Council Chair Edward Dombroski noted at last night’s meeting, sidewalks along the Lake are generally about 5 feet wide and narrower in some areas. Maintaining the recommended six feet of distance in a mass of walkers and joggers is nearly impossible. With 60 cases of COVID-19 in Wakefield as of April 4, new measures must be taken to deter the hundreds of visitors who use the Lake’s pathways during nice weather.

“I receive calls and emails about the crowds at the Lake every single day,” notes Town Administrator Stephen Maio. “We’ve communicated the importance of distancing, suggested alternate routes, hung posters, and used LED signs. At this point, we need to take it a step further. It’s a hard decision to make, but the health and safety of Wakefield residents are my priority.”

Though sidewalks will remain open, the Council agreed that the parking restriction could deter large crowds. This measure comes days after Governor Baker issued an emergency order closing all coastal beach reservation parking areas managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Temporary signage at the Lake will be installed as soon as possible, and parking enforcement attendants will have the authority to ticket and/or tow vehicles in violation of the order. Residents are reminded that Town parks and basketball courts remain closed. Anyone on the Town Common is asked to please practice social distancing of at least six feet.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that individuals “can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.  This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing…In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings.” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams released a tutorial video to show how to make a covering at home.

Side streets along the Lake will temporarily be designated as resident-parking only to deter overflow parking by visitors who wish to walk the Lake. Should any resident receive a ticket while parked in front of his or her home, please use this appeal form.