Maplewood: What Do You Think About New Village Parking Rules?

Last month's township vote met with opposition from at least one resident and former business owner. Do you think the Township Committee made the right call?

The new parking rules in Maplewood Village, which the Maplewood Township Committee unanimously voted to  are in effect. However, no tickets will be given until the township changes the parking signs, said Mayor Vic DeLuca on Monday. 

One resident who has been strongly opposed to the changes is John Harvey, former owner of Freeman's Fish Market on Maplewood Avenue. Harvey even conducted his own survey on the issue.   

In the public comment portion of the December meeting, Harvey questioned the committee about what problem they were trying to solve and whether this proposal would solve it.

"One simple question: why?" Harvey asked. "Is this simply change for change's sake?"

Harvey argued that by eliminating one-hour parking, the village would reduce parking capacity by half. He suggested instead increasing fines for overtime parking violations, and cracking down on merchants who go over the time limit.

"Parking inadequately serves the needs of the community," said Paul Sotrop, of the Maplewood Village Alliance board, at the meeting. Sotrop argued the change would encourage shoppers to make more stops in the Village and help the Village to become more of a shopping "destination."

DeLuca explained that he brought the original proposal to the township committee on behalf of the Maplewood Village Alliance, of which he is the committee liaison. The recommended changes stemmed from the 2012 parking study completed by Maser Consultants. 

There have been changes to the composition of businesses in the town, said DeLuca, with more restaurants and shops opening in recent years. He also said the changes were being made to make enforcement easier.

"The decision is being made in a vacuum with some data and very little knowledge about the impact of the changes, and even how success would be defined," said Harvey in a follow up interview with Patch shortly after the meeting. "This is a flaw in the general decision-making on this, and many other issues addressed by the TC."

He took issue with Marlon K. Brownlee's assertion that only people who need the extra parking time would use it. Harvey countered that if people did end up staying for the full two hours it would harm shoppers and merchants who benefit from "grab and go" purchasing.

"This is why I believe (in) a hybrid solution of 70% of the Maplewood Avenue spaces having one hour limits, and the remaining 30% of the spaces having an increased two-hour limit," Harvey said. He also said there would be no objective way to measure the impact of the changes. 

Jerry Ryan said he believed there was a need for more longer-term parking and said, "If it doesn't work, we can go back and change it again." Kathy Leventhal agreed, saying she liked the "simplicity" of the changes. India Larrier said, "Why not" try it.

"I (was) surprised by India and Jerry's response to my question of why they (voted yes)," said Harvey. "Their answers...underlie the bigger issues with Maplewood politics."

What do you think, Maplewood? Are you pleased with the longer parking limits on Maplewood Avenue and will you be more likely to shop there as a result? Or do you think it will just make it more difficult to get a spot for a quick visit? Let us know in comments.

Elisabeth Anderson January 08, 2013 at 11:55 AM
I agree with Mr. Harvey. What's more the Post office should not be move 1 inch from it's current location, as I moved to Maplewood, in part, for it's proximity to Kings. Leave the Post Office alone, Mr. DeLuca, and company!
Wayling League January 08, 2013 at 12:49 PM
Is there a rendering plant downtown? And if so, how's the parking? I need to park up close, real close, as I've got a dead horse and it's really difficult to carry it in after it's been beaten.
MrTwoCents January 08, 2013 at 05:33 PM
parking on maplwd ave should be short term for run-in run-out trips, pizza, bagels, coffee, etc. and to be able ro carry groceries or other purchases easily to your car. parking lots should be 2hrs for dinner or longer shopping trips in town. the far lot, across from baker st, should be 3hr+ for movies or other longer activities.
Carolyn Maynard-Parisi (Editor) January 08, 2013 at 07:26 PM
Good one, Wayling!
Bea Locke-Finkel January 08, 2013 at 07:46 PM
We need a multi-level parking garage at the end of town past Baker St, the current commuter lot near the ballet school. I've heard in the past that there have been objections raised to this because it would ruin the "quaintness" of the village. Many go to South Orange to shop simply because they DO have a parking garage. Millburn is also building one. If we can have a modern apartment complex directly across from Memorial Park, we should have a parking garage. It could be done tastefully. The lack of parking hurts Maplewood businesses. It's easier to go somewhere else to eat or shop if you have to spend 20 minutes trying to find a parking space. Our population has grown since 1800, if anyone is paying attention.
Bea Locke-Finkel January 08, 2013 at 07:47 PM
Made me laugh. I get it!
Born the be Bonded January 08, 2013 at 10:32 PM
Parking Garage? Where exactly will the money for that come from? If you're suggesting that we create a parking authority and issue bonds, I can tell you that the revenue will not support the debt service and the town will be on the hook. Next.
nate January 09, 2013 at 08:36 PM
30 min free parking tickfet machines to extend for 30 min increments. Max 2 hr Roundabouts installed at Baker, Highland, Burgforf / Maplewood intersection Plaza extension outside Arturos and either side of Highland / Maplewoodn Permission for parking at women's club
nate January 09, 2013 at 09:39 PM
Are there protocols that define basis of rejected 'comments'?
Bea Locke-Finkel January 10, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Perhaps the money for a parking garage could come from the planned make-over of Memorial Park which is beautiful as it is.


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