Under a recommendation of the council parking committee, the left-turn lane from Broad Street into Linden Lane would be eliminated, restoring three parking spaces on the west side of Broad. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
For the first time in recent months, the clamor for and against a new parking garage in downtown Red Bank was absent at the first regular council meeting of 2017 Wednesday night.
Still, there was a smattering of parking-related news.
A customer waiting for a balky parking kiosk in the English Plaza lot to respond Thursday morning. The kiosks may be getting hoods for protection against the elements. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
• The left-turn-only lane from Broad Street into Linden Place may be eliminated in coming months, allowing for the creation — or restoration, actually — of three or four parking spots on the west side of Broad Street, police Chief Darren McConnell told redbankgreen.
At the request of the borough council’s parking committee, McConnell said the RBPD’s traffic unit looked into whether eliminating the dedicated lane would cause any problems, particularly in the form of queuing of vehicles behind a left-turning car.
The four-day effort involved placing plastic barrels in the area where the parking spaces would go to see if they’d conflict with southbound traffic flow.
In both cases, the answer was no, as long as northbound motorists don’t “block the box,” or inhibit left turns into Linden Place, McConnell said.
The left-turn lane was created in the early 1990s, he said, when the one-way direction of Linden Place was reversed — it now flows west to east. But it forces vehicles heading south on Broad to veer right, even when no vehicles are turning into Linden. And that’s the case most of the time, he said.
“The survey found it’s unnecessary,” said Councilman Mike Whelan, who chairs the parking committee. He said he plans to recommend an ordinance amendment to allow for the changes, resulting in the additional parking spots.
• Users of the pay-station kiosks, which debuted in 2012, may finally be getting some protection from the weather. Whelan noted that users often encounter problems paying for their spots when dollar bills or credit cards get wet from rain and snow, so the committee is talking to a vendor about a possible purchase of protective hoods.
Any purchase would be paid for from the parking utility account, which is funded entirely by parking fees, said Whelan.
• Whelan said the committee has also “talked a little bit about” about a not-yet-ready request for proposals, or RFP, which will be made available for developers interested in competing to build a parking facility on the site of the 2.5-acre municipal lot on White Street.
No timetable for the issuance of the RFP was discussed Wednesday, but Whelan told redbankgreen that the timing won’t be dictated by the council’s decision last month to extend by just three months a six-year-old moratorium on fees developers pay for parking shortages when obtaining new plan approvals. The council appears to be in agreement that the fees should be abolished regardless of where the garage plan stands, he said.
As for the garage, Whelan said he’s confident construction on one will begin this year.