Changes coming to Lake Street parking after resident complaints

Town public works crews will take out the Lake Street parking area near Island Grove Pond this spring after residents complained that the lot was impacting their quality of life.

The changes mean the amount of parking along Lake Street for families going to the town pool, visiting the grove, or fishing in the pond will be cut in half.

Selectmen unanimously approved the work following a discussion with Lake Street residents last Monday night.

Lake Street along Island Grove Pond as seen around 2016. Photo courtesy of Doug Ulwick.

Residents said the lot is being used for loud nighttime gatherings and drug deals, and that pedestrians are forced into the street to dodge cars that are backing up.

“I just want the parking put back the way it was,” said Kristen Sage, a Lake Street resident. “There are a lot of things going on over there that isn’t great.”

“It’s bad. It’s like a destination for drug deals,” said Doug Wight, who lives across from the parking lot. “A car pulls in. Another car pulls in right next to it. One guy gets out, goes in the back seat of the other car. They’re there for maybe a minute. One car goes this way on Lake Street, one car goes that way.”

Sheila Lambert said she sees little kids on their way to the pool not waiting for their parents and running behind the row of parked cars.

“The young people, they don’t look, they just back out,” she told selectmen.

Lambert also echoed Wight’s belief the lot is being used for illegal purposes.

“Every night around 5:30 p.m., I see the same car coming up the street as fast as they can,” she said.

Abington Police Chief David Del Papa said patrols are being sent through the area, while adding that the spaces are sometimes used by people having lunch and making a phone call while enjoying the view.

The 12-vehicle lot was installed in 2016 to provide additional parking spaces for families visiting Island Grove. The area previously featured a grassy strip along the waterline, a sidewalk, and about six parallel parking spaces on Lake Street. The area also used to feature a large copper beech tree; it was cut down in 2017 after it started to lean and crack near the base.

The copper beech tree that once dominated the Lake Street edge of Island Grove Pond. It was cut down in 2017 after it started to crack near its base. Photo courtesy of Doug Ulwick.

There are also a few dozen parking spaces along Park Avenue; however the path to the pool from that side is unpaved and,  during the summer, cuts through the Eager Beaver Day Camp. 

Public Works Director John Stone said his crews will remove the gravel, put down new soil and grass, and install no parking signs along the residential side of the street. The work will likely take place sometime next spring.

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