Council Continues Parking Meter Discussion
Meters would be placed in West End and east of Ocean Boulevard
The Long Branch Council had many of its parking meter questions answered, as the city prepares to draft an ordinance to add paid parking throughout the city.
Parking consultant Gerald Giosa provided more details of the parking plan to the council during its meeting Tuesday night.
Giosa said the plan was actually created seven years ago, was tabled, and has now been "updated based on current conditions."
While a concrete plan has not yet been formed, the metered areas would likely be located in West End, specifically Brighton Avenue and West End Avenue, and east of Ocean Boulevard. Places such as Beachfront North, Pier Village and the area around Seven Presidents Park would have hundreds of metered parking spaces.
The parking meters would be similar to those used in Asbury Park near the boardwalk and Cookman Avenue.
Each space would be striped and numbered and people who wish to park in them would pay at a meter with either coins, dollars or a credit card. Motorists can even use their smart phone in order to add time.
Long Branch Business Administrator Howard Woolley said the charge to park in each space would probably be $1 per hour on weekdays and $2 per hour on weekends from 9 a.m to midnight.
Giosa said the council the minimum amount of time a person could park could be less than an hour as well.
He said there would be one meter for every 30 spaces, and that the money would be collected from them by special officers.
Woolley said the meters would be in effect during the summer months only.
"At the end of September you can unbolt them and put them into storage until May," Woolley said.
He said the council can alter the plan based on its observations and feedback it receives from residents and business owners.
"All these locations and rates are preliminary, and you folks can add, change and delete as you deem fit," Woolley said.
Woolley said a $600,000 bond ordinance would need to be crafted for the city to purchase and install the meters, which would also include the striping and numbering of the spaces.
Woolley said the parking meters would pay for themselves after the first summer.
Councilwoman Mary Jane Celli said she has some concerns about the metered spaces.
"You have to watch safety and you have to police the parking," Councilwoman Celli said. "And I think there's going to be a lot of dissatisfaction (from residents)."
Woolley residents living along Beachfront North have already begun sending e-mails objecting to the addition of parking meters in that area.
Councilwoman Joy Bastelli said felt it could be dangerous as many residents would look for parking west of Ocean Boulevard and have to cross over the busy road to get to the beach.
Woolley said many residents are already forced to search for spaces west of Ocean Boulevard, because the parking spaces on the other side fill up so quickly during the summer months.
He said the addition of the metered spaces would actually help create more parking "turnover," as people would not stay in the same space for hours.
Woolley said in order for the parking meters to be installed this summer, the council would need to pass the ordinance within the next two months, because it would still need to go out to bid for the project.
He said the council should take time to review and alter the parking plan, but that action should be taken soon.
"It would behoove us to move on this in some fashion," Woolley said.