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Barrington Beach parking now for residents only

From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., the beach parking lot is for Barrington residents only

By Josh Bickford
Posted 7/31/20

A series of problems at the town beach have led the town manager to restrict the beach parking lot to Barrington residents only, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day of the week.

The beach parking lot …

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Barrington Beach parking now for residents only

From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., the beach parking lot is for Barrington residents only

Posted

A series of problems at the town beach have led the town manager to restrict the beach parking lot to Barrington residents only, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day of the week.

The beach parking lot will still be open to non-residents from 8 p.m. until when the gate is closed, town manager Jim Cunha said.

The beach has seen a marked increase in visits this summer, and it had been the policy to allow non-residents to park at the beach until the paved lot became half-full. At that point, the attendants would allow only Barrington residents to park at the beach.

But even that policy was not enough to guarantee all residents access to the beach.

"We had to turn some residents away," Mr. Cunha said.

The town manager said there were some additional reasons for the policy change, including misbehavior of some people using the beach. He said there have been incidents of non-residents drinking alcohol at the beach (alcohol is prohibited at the town beach), and some groups not practicing social distancing.

"Managing it (the beach) has been difficult this summer," Mr. Cunha said.

Barrington residents were also finding themselves unable to find a parking spot at the beach after 5 p.m., Mr. Cunha said. The beach hours had been from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day; officials found that many non-residents would wait until 5 p.m. and flood the beach parking lot. That left Barrington residents unable to find a parking spot at the beach their taxes paid for.

"I've been getting some calls," Mr. Cunha said, referencing complaints from residents who were turned away. The town manager said there is now no charge to residents to park at the beach from 5 to 8 p.m.

The issue also surfaced during Monday night's council meeting. A Barrington resident sent a letter to council members calling for a shift in policy: "Given the current limitations to beach access across the state of Rhode Island due to the Governor’s orders under the pandemic, I am curious to know why the town of Barrington is still allowing beach access for those people who live outside of town.

"Other towns have limited their access to town residents only and yet, when I am at the beach, I see lots of Massachusetts license plates and days where the lots are so crowded I can barely find a space. Putting health issues aside, as a 20 year tax payer in this town, I find it incredibly frustrating to be competing for parking spaces and space on the sand with out of town residents."

The town manager made the change to Barrington Beach parking on Thursday. He said that by extending the hours of the beach, it will allow more Barrington residents to use the beach. He also said that having attendants at the beach through 8 p.m. offers additional oversight and will hopefully reduce problems from occurring.

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