SSA will spend $8.6 million for new Falmouth parking lot
The Steamship Authority (SSA) will spend $8.6 million on a 47-acre industrial site in Falmouth to develop a new parking lot off Route 28. SSA officials said the purchase would secure needed parking and allow the boatline to close three summer satellite parking lots.
On Monday the SSA announced it had signed a purchase and sale agreement to buy the Acme Precast property located off Thomas B. Landers Road approximately one-half mile east of Route 28 on the north side of the Falmouth Technology Park. The purchase would include three lots.
Within the next five years, the SSA plans to close both of its parking lots on Gifford Street, as well as a 900-car parking lot located on leased property 15 miles from Woods Hole in Cataumet.
SSA General Manager Wayne Lamson said the new parking lot would lessen the impact of ferry bound traffic on Falmouth by directing SSA customers to park their cars well before they get to the downtown area. It is also expected to reduce the number of shuttle bus trips to and from the ferry.
Mr. Lamson said that the new property is at a location where a parking lot should not create any significant traffic problems and already has more than 20 acres of land that is cleared and in an industrial area.
"When this project is complete, our foremost goal is for the facility to be a significant improvement not only for our operations and the service we provide to our customers, but also for the entire Falmouth community," Mr. Lamson said in a press release issued Monday.
The SSA owns the Woods Hole and Palmer lots and leases the three seasonal lots. There was some concern that in the future the landlords of its rented parking lots might decide to use their properties for other purposes and the SSA would not have enough parking for as many as 1,500 of its customers on busy summer weekends.
In the 1990s, Falmouth's unhappiness with ferry traffic and parking spurred the effort to create a New Bedford SSA connection and ultimately led to a fast ferry passenger link as a means to siphon off vehicles.
The SSA said the multi-million dollar price is justified because of the property's proximity to Route 28, the lack of any comparable sites and the fact that the SSA will not have to undertake any significant tree clearing or land excavation to develop the parking facility, according to a press release.
"I think this is a huge step for the SSA," Marc Hanover, Vineyard SSA member, said, "because we will not have all those satellite lots and it will allow us to manage parking much more efficiently."