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RED BANK: FLIP OK’D ON MAYOR’S TIEBREAKER

red-bank-spring-street-032323-500x375-6135106The change will shift parking from the west side of Spring Street (at left above) to the east, and set time limits. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_03-220x138-9108919Red Bank’s council narrowly approved a plan to flip parking from one side of Spring Street to the other Wednesday night.

The action was enabled by Mayor Billy Portman‘s first tiebreaker vote since he took office in January.

red-bank-council-053123-500x375-6937277Spring Street resident Alberto LaRotonda created a display showing parking conditions for Wednesday’s session. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Parking is currently prohibited on the east side of the street for the entire length of the road, from East Front Street to the Little Silver border. Under the parking ordinance amendment adopted at the council’s semimonthly meeting, parking will be allowed on the east side from Harding Road to the border, and prohibited on the west side.

The law also sets three-hour, daytime parking limits on that portion of Spring Street as well as on Highland Avenue, a dead-end street whose residents have complained about vehicles left for extended periods by non-residents.

Interim borough administrator and police Chief Darren McConnell has said the flip would make it easier for owners of homes on the west side of the street to back out of their driveways. It also will improve pedestrian safety, sparing the more numerous residents of the east side from having to cross the busy street to get to their vehicles, and enhance fire department access to hydrants, he has said.

Highland Avenue resident Donald Ellis and others urged the council to table the matter, and to conduct a parking study.

“I don’t think we’ve completely thought through all the options,” such as encouraging the owners of apartment complexes on Spring to make parking more accessible to tenants, Ellis said.

And the three-hour limit should be in effect overnight, he said, because that’s when motorists leaving and entering driveways encounter the worst problems.

“What I’m looking for is a solution that benefits everybody,” he said.

“Moving the cars from one side of the street to the other is not going to solve that problem,” said Spring Street resident Mary Coffenberg. “It really has to have further study.”

But Alberto LaRotonda, who began organizing residents to press for changes a year ago, instead urged immediate action.

“We need to go forward,” he said. “Everything else is the fine-tuning that can be done. But we have to take a first step.”

Tinton Falls resident Freddie Boynton said the council should ban commercial-vehicle parking overnight throughout town, lay gravel at the former incinerator site on West Sunset Avenue and issue paid permits to those who could use the site for night parking.

Three council members – Angela Mirandi, John Jackson and Kate Triggiano – voted to adopt the proposed changes; Jacqueline Sturdivant, Michael Ballard and Ed Zipprich voted no, without comment.

That triggered Portman’s tiebreaker vote. Under Red Bank’s soon-to-sunset borough form of government, the mayor gets a vote only to break a deadlock; under the “council-manager” form that will take effect July 1, the mayor will have a vote on all council matters.

Portman said the issues faced by Highland Avenue residents were distinct from those on Spring Street, and would continue to get council attention.

“I agree with you that it does not completely solve the problem,” he said of the amendment. “I think this is going to be an ongoing process.”

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