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Welcome to Amherst! We’ve Doubled our Parking Fines.

Parking Enforcement Abuse in Amherst


This Community Action web site has been created to address parking abuses here Amherst Massachusetts, the home of Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson.  This vital component of our downtown infrastructure is being mismanaged, harassing Amherst citizens, and putting additional stress on an already shrinking downtown business district.  Simply, it is easier for people to drive to the nearby malls then to do business and be ticketed here in Amherst.  The resulting closing of Amherst commerce puts an additional tax burden on Amherst property owners, and makes our town a less desirable place to live.  It is essential that this vital resource be managed well, and it is the goal of this site is to publicly address ways that this is not being done.  APT.

Emily Dickinson is dead, and so is Robert Frost. If you are coming to Amherst to be closer to these poets you will be sadly disappointed. Emily Dickinson’s home, turned museum, has been renovated to the extent that it bears little resemblance to the dark Victorian house as she experienced it. And all that we have to offer of Robert Frost is a hiking trail. The Amherst you will find today is a small town in a state of crisis. There are more than a dozen empty storefronts in the downtown business district, and the town government has demonstrated in every way that it can that it is anti-business. Amherst has chosen to generate town revenue through increasing parking fines and other petty fundraising efforts rather than developing a base of commerce. As a result of this shortsighted town management, property taxes have risen more than 100% in the last three years and many businesses have closed. Each town department is run as a small fiefdom, with each bureaucrat defending his or her employees above the job that they are charged to do. The overseeing town government is simply too weak to keep their employees in check, and it is the residents of the town who suffer. Parking in Amherst is just one symptom of this problem, but it is amazing how far out-of-hand this can get.

Since Amherst has chosen to use parking as a form of fundraising, the town now Saturday Fundraisingissues more than 30,000 parking tickets a year, in a municipality with only 35,000 residents. This raises more than $750,000.00 a year in revenue for the town with a collection rate of over 97%. The longest term parking in Amherst is only 180 minutes and if you visit the town center it is inevitable you will overstay this time. You will be fined and you will pay. Further, if you appeal your ticket, you will loose. I get e-mails every week from people who have been harassed by Amherst parking enforcement, and now choose to do business elsewhere. I have presented this information to the Amherst Select Board, with no response. The Select Board has delayed for more than a year appointing committee members to address this and other issues. Until all of this is straightened out, don’t come to Amherst. Don’t even visit, except maybe by bicycle. Maybe in another decade, once this regime has cleared, things will get better. Check back then. APT.