PLEASE FEED/DON’T FEED THE METERS

Meter1It wasn't hard to find visitors pumping coins into meters in Red Bank's White Street lot at lunchtime last Saturday. Above, Nicole Collman of Manalapan, left, with Rebecca Route of Jamesburg.

With some fanfare, Mayor Pasquale Menna announced at last month's 'Economic Summit' that parking in downtown Red Bank would be free on Saturdays and Sundays for the rest of 2009.

Meters4Never mind that it was already free on Sundays. The move to free slottage on the busiest shopping day of the week was welcomed by merchants as a small but significant move to make the town more competitive in a tough economy.

But one month after the meter moratorium was imposed, visitors to town are still feeding the meters on Saturdays. And some of them want to know why no one told them don't have to.

"Oh, that stinks," said Mirelynne Meiser of East Brunswick, when informed she'd just unnecessarily put six quarters into a meter. "That really stinks."

Meters2redbankgreen stopped Marla Bruce of Freehold before she made a not-so-costly mistake.

A number of merchants have posted brightly-colored notices on their doors and windows letting shoppers know about the change. But those are of little use to someone who has to park in a lot before getting a chance to see the notices.

Meters3

Pointing to signs in the White Street municipal parking lot, Nicole Collman of Manalapan noted that they gave no hint of the change. Indeed, every
indication was that, if they failed to pay at the the meter, violators
would face one of the town's infamous $38 overtime parking tickets.

"It says you have to put money in the meter on Saturday," said Collman said. "I don't want to come back and not find my car here."

"Obviously, I don't like getting scammed," said Kristen Leonard of Bayville, who'd just dropped $1.25 in a meter enroute to a hair appointment. "You love to come here, but you constantly have to remember, 'I have to have quarters.' I've gotten the tickets before."

At least one visitor shrugged off the lack of notice.

"Is it troubling? Yes," said the woman, who declined to give her name. "But there's a lot worse things going on."

Prodded by redbankgreen, borough officials first said there were no plans to install new signs alerting visitors to the free Saturday parking.

But after last Monday's council meeting, Council President Art Murphy told us the parking authority would be buying decals, which will be stuck onto the meters themselves, notifying visitors of the additional no-fee day.

No sign alterations are planned, he said, but he believes the meter decals are the most effective way to get the message across.

The decals should be available within a couple of weeks, Murphy said.

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