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Cape Cod Commission study to address parking and congestion in busy downtown Chatham 

With a working harbor that doubles as a tourist attraction, a beautiful historic lighthouse overlook, and a main street full of attractive shops and delicious restaurants, it's no surprise that downtown Chatham is a busy place all year round.  

Chatham's popularity as a destination creates challenges with parking and circulation. Traffic congestion on busy Main Street often impacts adjacent roads, including Chatham Bars Avenue, Seaview Street, and Shore Road. And while parking seems plentiful - Main Street offers free on-street parking along with several free public parking lots – finding a parking place can be challenging during peak times. The narrow, winding configuration of Main Street provides additional navigational challenges, especially for bicyclists.  

The Cape Cod Commission is about to begin a study of parking and circulation in downtown Chatham as part of the 2024 Unified Planning Work Program. The study will identify existing parking trends and aim to better understand motorist and non-motorist circulation in the downtown area.   

A robust data collection effort will include a count of parking spaces and bicycle racks, an examination of pricing at and owners of parking lots, traffic counts to quantify the number of vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists utilizing major roadways and intersections, and a look at the existing roadway configuration, including available bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.  

The study will result in recommendations for potential parking and roadway improvements to enhance the safety and efficiency of moving people and goods throughout downtown Chatham. In addition, staff will work to identify estimated costs, anticipated benefits, and likely obstacles to implementation for each potential improvement.   

Data collection will take place in the summer and fall of 2023, with a draft report anticipated in Fall 2024. 


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