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RED BANK: PARKING CHANGE TABLED

red-bank-spring-street-032323-500x375-6135106The proposal would have shifted parking on Spring Street from the west side (at left above) to the east. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See UPDATE below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_03-220x138-9108919A plan to flip permitted parking from one side of Spring Street to the other was tabled by the Red Bank council Wednesday night.

The governing body also heard from West Side residents concerned about parking and pedestrian issues.

An amendment to the parking ordinance that was slated for introduction was pulled after residents raised concerns.

At present, parking is prohibited on the east side of the street for the entire length of the road, from East Front Street to the Little Silver border. The proposed change would allow parking on the east side from Harding Road to the border, while prohibiting it on the west side.

According to interim borough administrator and police Chief Darren McConnell, the change would make it easier for owners of homes on the west side of the street to back out of their driveways.

“After reviewing it with our traffic officers and our engineer last year, we determined that switching the parking to the other side of the street would not cause a significant gain or loss in available parking but would likely enhance the safety of the area,” he told redbankgreen Tuesday.

But Donald Ellis, a resident of Highland Avenue for more than 40 years, said he’s seen the parking difficulties in the area “grow exponentially in recent years.” And the proposed plan wasn’t the solution, he said.

“We’re maybe shifting the problem rather than trying to fix the problem,” he said.

He said the change would prompt many area residents who need to travel south to make illegal U-turns.

In addition, he said, residents of the Greentree Apartments, rather than utilizing the complex’s lot, often park on Highland Avenue, sometimes leaving vehicles for weeks at a time, inconveniencing residents of that street. Meantime, there are always dozens of spots unused at Greentree, he said.

The council should talk to management at Greentree about space utilization, he said, and possibly conduct a traffic study. “I think this needs to be studied a bit more from a technical standpoint, from an empirical standpoint,” he said.

Adrienne Bilaal, of South Pearl Street, said via Zoom that parking in her neighborhood also needs attention.

Work vans are frequently parked there for entire weekends, she said, and it appears that their owners “are rotating them” from one location in town to another. They’re also left too close to corners, reducing visibility, and impede driveways, she said.

“I’m in agreement with doing a survey, basically for the whole town,” she said.

Councilman Michael Ballard said the council should “take a step back” before proceeding with the Spring Street change.

“We only looked at parking, and not the impact of how that parking change and traffic flow would impact” residents, he said. Enforcement also needs to be reviewed, he said.

• Not for the first time, Jimmy Dark, of West Sunset Avenue, pressed the council to create a four-way traffic stop at Drs. Parker Boulevard and Leighton Avenue.

“What do we have to do?” he asked, noting that a petition of more than 100 area residents calling for the change had been submitted. “We keep waiting and waiting.”

The intersection is difficult for pedestrians of all ages, and particularly hazardous for the elderly, he said.

McConnell said a traffic safety study that resulted in the creation of new four-ways at two other locations in town last year had found the Leighton/Drs. Parker crossing third in terms of priority based on accident.

Councilwoman Kate Triggiano asked her council colleagues to agree to co-sponsor an ordinance amendment. Councilman Ed Zipprich said he would be “perfectly willing to participate in her impromptu straw poll,” but objected on procedural grounds, because it was being raised during public comment.

“But in all fairness to the councilwoman, I will agree that a four-way stop sign should be added to the next agenda,” he said.

• Independent council candidate Suzanne Viscomi, of Cedar Street, repeated her prior call for a four-way stop at Drs. Parker and Bridge Avenue.

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