Jan 08, 2019

Massachusetts Beach Parking Lot Faces Rapid Erosion

The town plans to rebuild a waterfront parking lot further inland to cope with erosion

East coast town plans to move parking lot due to coastal erosion
East coast town plans to move parking lot due to coastal erosion

Provincetown, Mass., announced plans to rebuild a waterfront parking lot at Herring Cove Beach farther inland due to rapid erosion. The town had been paying between $300,000 to $500,000 annually to repair the eroded lot, rendering a more permanent solution necessary.

The Cape Cod National Seashore began the $3.3 million reconstruction project of the northern 208-space parking lot Oct. 17, but the plans–developed in 2013–required revision due to rapid erosion in recent years. Winter storms over the past decade have ripped pavement, coated areas of the parking lot in sand, and even loosened a seawall. While the town had been repairing the lot each summer, the relocation is expected to mitigate the need for extensive erosion-related repairs for at least the next 20 years, as reported by The Cape Cod Times.

“Many visitors start their trip to Provincetown spending the day at the beach, and then later spending time in town,” said Provincetown Tourism Director Anthony Fuccillio to The Cape Cod Times. “The latter part of the day in Provincetown is negatively affected if the beach parking isn’t available.”

The town’s tourism department and National Park Service records have found that the beach visitor number has decreased in the past new years, from approximately 850,00 visitors a year to the mid-500,000 range, prompting concerns that the degrading infrastructure and parking lot erosion may be negatively impacting the town’s economy.

When the redevelopment planning was completed in 2013, the town originally expected the parking lot erosion control investment to last 50 years. The assessment has since been altered to 20 years. The lot will be moved further inland, with a 150-ft pivot inland on the northernmost end to specifically accommodate the erosion hot spot.