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South Orange/Maplewood — Above and Beyond

Maplewood Township Committee Approves Study For Parking Decks

Eric Goodman

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 • 6:22am

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The Maplewood Township Committee unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday night authorizing an economic and financial study for a potential parking deck in Maplewood Village.

The Maplewood Village Alliance Board sent a letter to the Maplewood Township Committee in March requesting two resolutions: One to consider a parking deck or decks, and two, that they consider financing it through proceeds from the sale of the post office, parking meters, permit sales and sponsorships.

“We want the Township Committee to authorize these studies and ask the Planning and Engineering Committee to take on the responsibility of looking at these alternatives for decks and have the Finance Committee look at ways this could be financed,” said Maplewood Mayor Victor De Luca.

A May 2012 parking study estimated that a deck would cost between $15,000 and $25,000 per space, he added.

There are two possible locations for the decks. The first includes the Baker Street parking lot, currently serving as the NJ Transit lot for commuters during the week and shoppers during the weekend. The other is the Highland lot coupled with the Women's Club lot.

Committeeman Gerard Ryan, Committeewoman India Larrier and Committeewoman Kathleen Leventhal expressed their opposition to metered parking. In addition, Ryan and Larrier each voiced concerns over the scale of the proposed parking deck.

Committeeman Marlon K. Brownlee asked the other committee members to elaborate as to why they were against parking meters, adding that he has not yet made up his own mind either way.

“(Meters) are unsightly, a pain and a disincentive to shoppers,” said Ryan. “Personally I have had nothing but negative experiences trying to park in surrounding towns with meters.”

Whether for or against the decks, the Township Committee agreed that a study needs to be done. The committee unanimously voted to move forward with a study by the engineering and finance committee.

“It is time to study whether or not to have a deck and put it to rest one way or another,” said Leventhal.

“I pay for overnight parking and I compliment Mr. Ryan and support his position of no meters,” said Ruth Ross, who has been a resident of Maplewood for the past 30 years. “I think there needs to be a serious study that not only includes engineering but people who live in Maplewood as well. I see that parking is a town problem but I have some environmental concerns and the study is crucial.”

In other news, the Maplewood Township Committee passed a resolution stating their opposition to a proposal to build an 880-foot long and 70-foot tall dam in South Mountain Reservation. The damn is one of the options put forth by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a Rahway River Flood Mitigation study. The resolution, modeled off a statement issued by Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr., urges the Army Corps of Engineers to look into other strategies to address flooding downstream on the Rahway River.

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