By JOHN T. WARD
Meantime, an adjustment in the allocation of permitted parking was completed recently, opening up more visitor spaces in the town’s largest lot, officials said.
• On Tuesday, the borough government released a long-promised Request for Proposals in search of a firm with parking expertise to conduct a comprehensive needs analysis downtown. Bids must be submitted by April 3.
Throughout 2017, council Republicans, led by Councilman Mike Whelan, championed a plan to find a redeveloper for the 273-space White Street lot, Democrats balked, however, claiming in part that no recent studies had been done to assess the true need.
In regaining majority control of the council in November’s election, the Democrats ousted Whelan from the parking committee. The three-member committee is now all Democrats, headed by second-year Councilman Erik Yngstrom.
Once the bids are in, Yngstrom said he expects it will take about 20 days for the committee to select a consultant.
Councilman Mark Taylor, a Republican, unsuccessfully advocated for the study to look at parking throughout the town, which he noted has more than one business district, citing Shrewsbury Avenue, as well as residential parking problems in near the Count Basie Theatre.
“If we’re paying someone to tell us there’s a shortage downtown,, I’m already there,” Taylor said.
Mayor Pasquale Menna said he expects the area around the theater will be included in the study.
“The collateral areas have to be looked at,” he said. But there’s no need to study parking in other residential areas not impacted by commerce, he said.
• At last week’s semimonthly council meeting, Yngstrom announced the committee had completed an effort begun on Whelan’s watch: relocating a number of permit-parking spaces from White Street into the lesser-used lots on the east side of Broad Street, between Mechanic Street and Linden Place.
With 172 “public” spots available on a first-come basis, “this is a 24-percent increase in the public spaces for that lot,” Yngstrom said from the dais.
Yngstrom said 27 permitholders, and all of them associated with Red Bank Catholic High School are now required to park on the east side.
“Our goal was to have White Street fully public, but we just couldn’t get as many sold permits over to the east side lots, because it’s almost full with permits on the east side now,” he said.
Whelan told redbankgreen that the process of moving the permits over began in October, with about 15 permits shifted by the end of the year, with the others held until they were up for renewal.
His numbers differed from Yngstrom’s: he said there were 128 permit spaces in White Street last year, and are now 94 there.
The committee asked the school to make an announcement to students that they must now park on the east side, Yngstrom said.
The move was completed over the weekend of February 10, he said.
Yngstrom also said the committee is seeking the public’s input on improving signage downtown “so people really know where they can park.” He said suggestions may be emailed to him at email@example.com.