After a brief war of the curb, Hudson Avenue homeowners and tenants last night became the latest on the East Side to win resident permits to park their cars.
The victory came at the expense of the 138 employees of the Red Bank Post Office on Broad Street, some of whom say the expansion of permits-only parking will only make it harder for them to find spots for their vehicles while they work.
The two sides butted bumpers at the bimonthly meeting of the Red Bank Borough Council over an ordinance that would replace the two-hour parking on Hudson between Harding Road and East Bergen Place with a residents-only restriction.
When residents complained that their driveways were frequently blocked, or that they couldn’t park in front of their homes even late at night, groans and objections could be heard from a cluster of Postal Service employees who had turned out to oppose the plan.
“Nobody blocks driveways,” said a postal worker who commutes from Aberdeen. “We’re very aware that people live there.” Another called the complaint “offensive,” and asked for a check of police records to establish whether it was true.
But council members, led by Mayor Pasquale Menna, appeared dug in, blaming the post office for insufficient efforts to find parking alternatives. The post office reserves its own lot for its 53-truck fleet, and has an agreement with the nearby Verizon building to allow about a dozen employees to park there.
“I think the post office and the U.S. government, frankly, have to bear responsibility to find parking for their employees,” said Councilman Mike DuPont. “The residents are entitled to their street.”
“We’d love to help you out, but the post office has to bear some responsibility” to provide spaces for its employees, said Councilwoman Grace Cangemi.
The council’s vote was unanimous in favor of the ordinance. Councilman John Curley was absent.
Permit parking was already in place nearby on Branch Avenue and South Street. Last August, it was extended to include all of East Bergen Place.
Postal workers, with no employee parking facility to use, say the squeeze drives them further into surrounding neighborhoods, or forces them to leave their posts every two hours to move their cars.
In their view, Hudson makes sense. The post office property backs onto Hudson, and workers contend that there are ample spaces along the street during the daytime hours that they need them. One said he frequently sees 100-yard stretches of curbing with no cars adjoining them. “This is totally unnecessary,” he said of the change.
Referring to a host of environmental initiatives that DuPont had called for earlier in the meeting, postmaster Leo Nara said he didn’t “understand the logic” of the ordinance.
“You’re talking about ‘green.’ They have to go out four times a day and move their cars,” he said of the employees. “How is that green?”
Another employee, citing his experience as a postal employee in the Hudson County town of Harrison, suggested the borough issue job-based permits to any worker who can produce a letter from his employer citing the need. In Harrison, he said, the permits cost $35 a year. Menna said he would consider the idea.
But when one employee said she often parks her car on Leroy Place, Menna replied, “I wouldn’t be surprised if something happens on Leroy, also.”
Here’s the ordinance: Download hudson_permits.pdf