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The Cambridge City Council voted to enforce the ban on non-resident parking in the Inman Square area and authorized $288,000 for the construction of a 32-space parking lot near Inman Square at a meeting Monday night.
Although the council approved the citywide ban several years ago, it never ordered the posting of signs or the ticketing of cars in the Inman Square area.
Customers at expanding businesses in Inman Square are using parking spaces in residential areas, Robert E. Richards, a spokesman for Inman Square residents, said yesterday.
"There has always been a parking problem in the area and the expansion of the Legal Sea Food restaurant increased the problem," Richards said, adding that crowded conditions forced community residents to rent space in commercial parking lots.
Richards said that many students park in the area and that the permit program will force them to register their cars in Cambridge.
Since Cambridge residents generally pay higher auto insurance rates than those in surrounding communities, the ban will force these students to "pay their fair share," Richards added.
George H. Berkowitz, owner of Legal Seafoods, said yesterday the permit requirement will "completely ruin" business in the area, adding that the new lot is "merely a token gesture by the city."
Legal Seafoods may lay off several employees if business falls, Berkowitz said.
Berkowitz, who opposed the proposal at the council meeting, said he sees "no pressing need for sticker parking in mid-Cambridge."
City Councilor Daniel J. Clinton said Monday that the council "will not run away from the commitments it has made to business in the Inman Square area," but he did not elaborate upon any specific proposals.
Although city officials refused to estimate when they would open the lot, Leo W. Clark, an employee of the Cambridge budget office, said yesterday the city's financial situation will not effect its construction.
A recently passed city requirement that new businesses provide parking for their patrons may prevent the growth of the space problem, Richards said.
The recent construction of two parking lots by the Cambridge City Hospital helped alleviate the problem, Richards said. Hospital employees have first priority to use the spaces, he said. The lots do not affect parking during the afternoon and early evening.
Richards said he was startled by the suddeness of the council's actions, adding that "the time was just ripe for the move."
Inman Square residents began to complain about the parking problem to the city council over two years ago, Richards added.
Business districts are not included in the sticker-only plan and visitors will be able to get temporary stickers from the city.
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