UPDATED: Township Committee to Introduce Parking Changes

Proposed ordinance would standardize parking rules in the Village and increase many parking time limits.

Editor's Note: The article has been updated with several clarifications and changes.

The Maplewood Township Committee (TC) will introduce an ordinance on Tuesday to standardize and in many cases increase parking times in Maplewood Village, according to a proposal released by the township attorney and clarified by Mayor Vic DeLuca.

The ordinance would address what is currently a mixed bag of parking rules throughout downtown, ranging from one-hour parking spaces on Maplewood Avenue to two-, three- and in some cases four-hour parking in parking lots.

The changes would allow for longer parking times at more spaces in town. For instance, the following would increase from 1- to 2-hour parking: Maplewood Avenue, part of Baker Street, the Ricalton Parking Lot, and the lot between the Post Office and Village Coffee.

The Baker Street lot would all be 2-hour parking and the lot behind the strip of stores from Village Coffee to Arturo's would remain at 3 hours.

If the TC approves the resolution, it will take effect sometime in January 2013.

Here is a complete summary of the proposed changes:

  • All of Maplewood Avenue from Durand Road to Lenox Place will be 2-hour parking from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day except Sunday. (It is currently 1-hour parking.)
  • The Ricalton parking lot next to the train station will all be 2 hours.
  • The lot between the Post Office and Village Coffee will be 2 hours (it is currently a mix of 1- and 3-hour parking.)
  • The lot behind the strip of stores from Village Coffee to Arturo's will remain 3-hour parking.
  • Baker Street next to Arturo's will increase from 1-hour to 2-hour parking.
  • The rest of Baker Street will remain 1-hour parking.
  • The Baker Street lot (behind Words Bookstore) will be 2-hour parking. 
  • Highland Place would remain 1-hour parking.
  • The Highland Place lot will remain 4-hour parking.

The TC will vote to introduce the ordinance at its regular meeting at Town Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 4. There will be a public hearing and committee members will vote on whether to approve it at the Dec. 18 meeting. A copy of the full meeting agenda can be found here.

Mayor Vic DeLuca discussed the proposed changes at the October meeting. He said the adjustments would make it easier for parking officers to enforce the rules, and would also encourage people to spend more time in town.

The changes were originally proposed by the Maplewood Village Alliance and were based on suggestions that came out of a parking study conducted last year by Maser Consulting, PA.

At the October meeting, DeLuca said the current parking situation was "confusing" in its variations. For instance, parking on Maplewood Avenue is limited to one hour, which DeLuca said is not long enough for most people to have a bite to eat and go shopping. In other cases, such as in the parking lot near the Post Office, parking time limits differ from one space to another. 

Victor De Luca December 03, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Clarification: Parking on Maplewood Avenue will be 2 hours. Parking in the lots will be 2, 3, & 4 hours. Parking on Baker Street will be 1 hour.
kelly heinze December 03, 2012 at 12:41 PM
That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard! How about a parking garage to encourage shoppers?! How about pay stations like South orange to help parking officials so they can throw away their 19th century chalk!?? Business owners and people travelling on the trains to other towns like the 4hr spaces. Their isn't enough permit parking for business owners and employees! Come on! Do something for the businesses finally!
Ken Houghton December 03, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Safe to assume the library's rules (1/2 hour) will not be affected?
Elizabeth Bennet December 03, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Where will people park to go to the movie theater? Some movies are still over 2 hours.
Carolyn Maynard-Parisi (Editor) December 03, 2012 at 05:43 PM
I have updated the article after getting clarification from Mayor DeLuca on some of the proposed changes.
Larry Seltzer December 03, 2012 at 11:30 PM
There are still many spots with 3+ hour parking if you're willing to walk 2 or 3 minutes. Just about any evening you can park on Maplewood Ave or Woodland Ave (north of the Village). As the story says, the lot behind the stores from Village Coffee to Arturo's is 3 hours, the lot on Highland Place is 4 hours. But if you're parking in the evening, the real secret to a good parking spot is Dunnell near the tunnel by the post office.
Larry Seltzer December 03, 2012 at 11:31 PM
And there really isn't a spot in town big enough to support a parking garage.
John Harvey December 04, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Vic, I understand this might encourage ppl to remain in town longer (good), and make it easier for ticket enforcement (an administrative non-factor). What about the negative impact on merchants who require a large volume of customers to survive. Is there any data that supports this decision rather than a mix of one and two hour parking? Thanks - John
Victor De Luca December 04, 2012 at 02:10 PM
The mix is one, two, three and four hour parking. The ordinance changes parking along Maplewood Avenue and in some of the parking lots. Other parking lots and the streets running west from Maplewood Avenue are not affected. Those remaining will be a mix of one, two, three and four hour parking. The ordinance seeks to create uniformity for both enforcement purposes and to provide clear information to shoppers about how long they can park. We also want to encourage multiple shopping stops and activities in the Village. The ordinance does not impact library parking. Regarding the movie, the current parking restriction is one hour and now it will be two. That may help with movie patrons. There is a program now for merchant overlay permit parking. We are discussing some type of structured parking for the Village.
John Harvey December 05, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Vic, where I am confused is that the problem statement created by the consulting firm identifies relieving traffic congestion as the problem. Yet, in reviewing the details of the ordinance very few of the detailed changes relieve congestion and, in fact, increase congestion. Was there a different objective or problem the TC was trying to address? Also, how was the VA input considered as they strongly disagreed with S-2.4 Baker Street lot – behind Words – will increase from one hour to a combination of two-hour and Merchant Parking. I also strongly disagree as this will both increase congestion, and negatively impacts Baker Street merchants. When I spoke to several BS merchants they were unaware, and not happy, with this change. What was the TC rationale in disregarding the VA's perspective? As I get more details I am more confused. Thanks - John
John Harvey December 05, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Carolyn, the complete summary included in your article is inaccurate. As an example: You reported .. “Baker Street lot (behind Words Bookstore) will be 2-hour parking.” while S-2.4 reads ... (this lot) will increase from one hour to a combination of two-hour and Merchant Parking. This is an important distinction as merchant parking in this lot will create more congestion, rather than ease congestion. It will also negatively impact both local merchants & shoppers. Your article also offers; "The changes were originally proposed by the Maplewood Village Alliance ... " This point is misleading and incomplete. The VA responded to this part of the TC’s proposed ordinance with, (VA) "Strongly objects to this recommendation. Contrary to current Merchant Parking Program and will adversely affect merchants. In fact, we recommend reducing time limits (from the current limit) in these spots." Finally, in Vic’s own words in your 10/12 article on the subject, you wrote “Mayor Vic DeLuca said the adjustments would make it easier for parking officers to enforce the rules, and would also encourage people to spend more time in town.” The problem statement the consultant focused on, according to their work was "to relieve traffic congestion. As I write I am realizing that the proposed ordinance revisions do not achieve the desired outcome and will exacerbate an already challenged parking situation for merchants and shoppers alike. No? Thanks - John
Carolyn Maynard-Parisi (Editor) December 05, 2012 at 05:59 PM
John, the information about the Baker Street lot came from Mayor DeLuca. Perhaps I misunderstood the changes proposed there; I will ask him or perhaps he can weigh in (again) here. As for the MVA, I have already reached out to them to ask for comments on the proposed changes and have not yet received a response. I will contact them again.
John Harvey December 05, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Thanks Carolyn, nice work - John
Victor De Luca December 06, 2012 at 12:18 AM
John - You are wrong about the problem statement. From the Parking Study: "Over the past decade, Maplewood Village and Park Side have been perceived to be congested due to parking operations and a lack of available parking supply. This has been of utmost concern to the Township ... This Parking Study has been commissioned by the Township ... The purpose of this Parking Study is to issue a set of recommendations based upon the downtown parking investigation... MVA Response to the 2012 Village Parking Study Recommendations (October 12, 2012): 1. All Maplewood Avenue on-street parking should be revised to 2 hour parking 2. Municipal Lot 9 (Baker Street) - all stalls should be limited to 2 hours 3. Municipal Lot 7 (Post Office/Coffee Shop): From Maplewood Avenue to tracks - increase all stalls to 2 hours; Rear spaces along tracks (from Baker Street entrance to edge of coffe shop) - revise all limits to 3 hours 4. Municipal Lot 8 (Ricalton Lot) - all stalls should be 2 hours 5. All other lots/on street stalls should remain unchanged You are wrong about the Baker Street lot. The Baker Street lot is now 2 hour parking and will remain 2 hour parking. There will not be 4 hour parking there.
John Harvey December 06, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Vic, not wrong, we are simply looking at something differently. The (full) Problem Statement that is in the Maser Study from June 29, 2012 provides the following Problem Statement (verbatim): II Problem Statement Regional traffic bypasses Downtown Maplewood. The prevalence of local traffic allows for pedestrian circulation to be friendlier to every day pedestrian access. Pedestrian circulation is important to Maplewood since over 50% of NJ Transit users walk to the Train Station. Additionally, consumers use off-street parking lots and on-street parking stalls to visit local areas of interest, particularly downtown retail establishments. As a result, any change in traffic, parking, or pedestrian circulation may have a substantial impact on the character of Downtown Maplewood. Parking Study Township of Maplewood When I read this the major area of focus is "have been perceived to be congested due to parking operations and a lack of available parking supply." So, presumably this is what the ordinance is attempting to solve. No? More in a minute...
Victor De Luca December 06, 2012 at 04:16 AM
John It is a parking study. The ordinance addresses parking.
John Harvey December 06, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Vic, I get it. When the "parking" solution the TC is endorsing, like increasing all parking limits on Maplewood Ave from 1 to 2 hrs, do not have a stated purpose. I question the change, and its impact. An issue in town (and the problem with political leadership, by nature) is that we tend to address narrow issues (like parking) w/o considering the impact on other issues, like traffic congestion. This narrow-minded, short-term view is problematic. If you were to say - "we have 3-year plan for the Village that will include 100+ add'l parking spaces when we develop the post office property. This will allow us to leverage the Village as a destination when we will consider extending parking limits as people will want to use Maplewood as a destination, while also considering the needs of shoppers who want to come/go quickly, it would be refreshing. Instead, I get the sense the momentum of extending parking limits is a mis-directed attempt at having people believe Maplewood Village is a destination for shoppers - and providing talking points to politicians. Neither is a meaningful or relevant reason. In fact, 63.8% of the 60+ people who have completed my ordinance survey so far indicate they spend less than 1 hour in the Village when they visit. None of the respondents visit for more than 3 hours, This should be a good case for making sure the availability of spaces on an hourly basis, rather than two-hour basis is maintained. Later - John


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