On the way to one of the most beautiful beaches in America? Better to book first | News
Sunbathers who live ‘across the bridge’ and want to get to Good Harbor Beach should know that Gloucester no longer sells non-resident beach parking stickers, and they can’t just turn up at the door waving money.
So before non-residents head to Gloucester’s beaches, they’ll need to log in, as the city is piloting a new non-resident beach parking reservation system in 2022. The web-based system, called Yodel, will be posted online Wednesday, May 19, city officials announced Tuesday evening during a city council meeting.
Reservations for non-residents to park at city beaches are required from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Reservations can be made up to 10 days in advance, which is why the system will go live on May 19. Once a space is reserved online, there is a guaranteed spot, officials said.
These reservations may also be necessary, as Travel + Leisure magazine named Good Harbor Beach one of the top 25 beaches in the United States. He suggested arriving early to secure a space, but the list was released before the city announced the introduction of the Yodel reservation system.
Authorities are working to publicize this big change to beach parking intended to reduce traffic, litter and overcrowding at popular beaches at Stage Fort Park, Wingaersheek and Good Harbour.
“Get the word out, because the success of this is on our minds,” Chief Executive Jill Cahill said, during a presentation Tuesday with Director of Information Services Ryan Knowles.
Knowles said the web-based system is not complicated; it’s as easy as using a popular online shopping platform. He said the system provides information about available daily parking cards in real time. The system will also show when there is limited availability. Non-residents can create an account or log in as a guest, he said.
Cahill said there will be “a big flashing red light on the city’s website (gloucester-ma.gov) that says “Make your beach reservation here”.”
Reservations can also be made on the Discover Gloucester website at discovergloucester.com and information about the system will be disseminated on social networks. The city also plans to use electronic signs along Route 128 to alert motorists heading to the beach who may not be aware of the new system.
Reservations, Cahill said, are required. Attendants will have iPads and smartphones to see if there is an available reservation, but just as was the case with the old parking system, if you show up at the beach and you are a non-resident and there is no parking available, you get diverted.
No money will be exchanged at the beaches, Cahill said, and there will be no refunds if you don’t show up or want to cancel early. The reservation is non-transferable.
Cahill said spaces may open up as the day progresses and there will be a reduced fare after 3 p.m. Non-residents should therefore check the website after noon for availability.
“As spaces open up, spaces will be released,” Cahill said. Those who have secured a parking reservation that day will be permitted to re-enter the parking lot if they are going out for a bite to eat at a local restaurant.
There is no service cost to the city for the system, but there is a convenience fee of 30 cents per reservation for Yodel and a credit card fee of $1.30 for the transaction to be processed by the city for a total of $1.60 additional charge in addition to the parking fee. The daily rate in Wingaersheek and Good Harbor is $30 on weekdays and $35 on weekends, according to the city’s website.
Gloucester residents who purchase a beach parking sticker ($20 for residents for one year, $4 for seniors for four years, and $100 for seasonal renters for one year) do not pay the daily rate on city beaches. Residents should note that there is no change to the beach parking tag system for residents.