:Where’d everybody go?: Lately the lower level of the Merrimack Street parking deck has consistently had many open spaces that are marked for permitted parking under the city’s paid parking program. That makes the Lamplighter wonder whether fewer people than expected are buying the permits. Drivers must pay for other spaces on an hourly basis.
Speaking of downtown parking: There were quite a few empty spaces on downtown Washington Street the other day in the middle of the afternoon. Before paid parking began just over a year ago, you would seldom see so many vacant spaces in that area — so maybe paid parking is having the desired effect. Proponents said charging by the hour for curbside spaces would discourage people like downtown workers and train commuters from using them. That would open them up for use by shoppers, who regularly come and go from the downtown.
:Spreading the wealth around: As state workers continue replacing guardrails on I-495, state troopers aren’t getting all the extra detail pay. Usually, state police cruisers are parked at those jobs to make drivers aware of the need to slow down. But one day last week, a Haverhill Police Auxiliary cruiser was at one of the jobs, with its lights flashing. A couple of days later, an unmarked police vehicle was parked at one of the jobs, with its lights on.
Gaining celebrity status: A long-time member of the board at the Haverhill Historical Society is making quite a name for himself, locally and beyond. Recently, Dan Meader handled an auction in Amesbury that involved possessions of President John F. Kennedy. Then it was announced he was making an appearance on the Travel Channel’s show “DigFellas,’’ which tracks history and relics.
Keep your eyes peeled: If you’re driving I-495 north in the late-night and early-morning hours, be aware that lately the Ward Hill off-ramp has been blocked off while state workers pave parts of the Ward Hill Connector. The cones that block it off can sneak up on you if you’re not paying close attention.