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South Orange Commuter Permit Holders Can Apply for Free Jitney Pass

Amy Kiste Nyberg

Friday, March 28, 2014 • 4:25pm

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Resident commuter permit holders can request a free jitney pass under a plan announced by the Parking Authority.

The Parking Authority took the action to ease the parking crunch at the train station caused by the closure of the commuter lot at Third and Valley streets (Lot 7), eliminating 133 spaces. That lot is now the site of a new retail/residential development that recently broke ground. The village added 145 spaces in other locations, but some are not as convenient to the station.

Permit holders were notified about the “combo permit” in an email on March 25. The annual jitney pass is $150 a year or $12.50 a month, according to the email. In addition, if there is a second commuter in the household, he or she can purchase a jitney pass for half price, pro-rated for the year, bringing the cost down to $56.25.

The announcement came during a report from Mark Hartwyk, director of the Parking Authority, to the Board of Trustees as Monday’s meeting.

Hartwyk said parking “sorted itself out fairly quickly” after Lot 7 was closed and alternate spaces were designated for commuter parking. The new parking arrangements have been in place for nearly three weeks.

Commuters had complained that they received little notice of the lot closure and feared the change would create a chaotic situation during the morning commute.

“It seems as though … less people are taking their car out,” Village President Alex Torpey said. “Has jitney ridership gone up, or are people carpooling?”

Hartwyk said that only about 100 cars a day have been counted in the new spaces, 30 to 40 less than expected.  “I think there are a few more drop-offs in the morning,” he said. He also thought more people might be riding the jitneys, but he did not have a ridership count.

The Parking Authority director also said that permit holders who are infrequent commuters may give up their permit and would be guaranteed a spot in the new parking garage at Third and Valley streets when the development is completed.

The application and jitney schedules are available here.

In other action, the Board of Trustees:

  • Passed a resolution opposing the construction of a dam in the South Mountain Reservation intended for flood control.
     
  • Awarded a contract to Independence Constructors to replace a fuel management system for $37,816.
     
  • Approved the purchase of two trucks from Frank’s Truce Center for $316,671.
     
  • Voted to introduce an ordinance that would authorize borrowing up to $1.6 million for capital improvements, including street paving. A public hearing is scheduled for the April 17 meeting.,
     
  • Approved a contract for $214,066.59 to Zenith Construction Services for bike pathways in Cameron Park as part of the River Greenway Project. According to Village Administrator Barry Lewis Jr., $90,000 will come from the state Department of Transportation and the balance will come from the village’s Open Space Trust Fund.
     
  • Approved a contract with RCC Consultants for $9,575 to assess public safety radio systems and make recommendations for future needs.

 

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