October 3, 2018

Worcester selling advertising to pay for parking improvements

Photo/Grant Welker
A Lundgren Honda of Auburn ad on the side of the Major Taylor Boulevard parking garage, the first highly visible component of what will be a widespread advertising program.

Five city-owned parking garages are being adorned with new advertisements in an initiative to soon spread to 14 outdoor lots, bringing a wave of new ads to city neighborhoods.

A few billboards have gone up in recent weeks: a Lundgren Honda of Auburn automotive dealership ad on a corner of the Major Taylor Boulevard garage, and three Sachs Jewelers ads on Federal Plaza, which stands opposite the Hanover Theatre. Other less visible ads have gone up inside those two garages, and many more are on the way.

The city hired Worcester's Palley Advertising to a three-year contract to sell ads at the five garages — Federal Plaza, Pearl-Elm, Major Taylor Boulevard, Union Station and Worcester Common, which is underground — in order to bring in more revenue for improving parking infrastructure.

In a later phase, advertising will be added at 14 outdoor city parking lots across the city, with several in the Canal District along Green, Millbury and Water streets. Eventually, advertising will also be added to garage tickets, parking brochures, parking passes and the city's parking website.

Paul Moosey, the commissioner of public works and parks, did not disclose in a memo to city councilors this summer what the city expected to bring in revenue from the program.

Photo/Grant Welker
The Federal Plaza parking garage has new advertising seen from directly across from the Hanover Theatre.

Mock-ups for the advertisements show signs on virtually every available space: on the facades of the Major Taylor, Union Station and Pearl-Elm garages, next to payment kiosks, along walkways and even on the machines where drivers take a ticket to enter or leave the facility.

Joe Giacobbe, Palley's general manager, credited Worcester for being proactive in seeking more revenue from its garages, a step he said is more often done by regional transportation authorities on buses. He said the advertising will likely appeal to companies advertising on billboards, such as car dealerships, banks and healthcare plans.

"Worcester's the first municipality we could find that's really doing it on its own," Giacobbe said.

City officials first launched the advertising initiative in 2015, but the program got going only this summer. Palley shares advertising revenue with the city under its contract, Giacobbe said.

A list of the parking garage and lot locations:

  • Federal Plaza, 570 Main St.
  • Major Taylor, 30 Major Taylor Blvd.
  • Pearl-Elm, 20 Pearl St.
  • Union Station, 225 Franklin St.
  • Worcester Common, 3 Eaton Place
  • Amtrak/MBTA Lot, 25 Shrewsbury St.
  • Expressway Area C Lot, 39 Grafton St.
  • General Pickett Lot, 45 Green St.
  • Green Street Lot, 96 Green St.
  • Highland Street Lot, 40 Highland St.
  • McGrath Lot, 40 Salem St.
  • Millbury Street Lot, 51 Millbury St.
  • Water Street Lot, 85 Water St.
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