Borough Considers Commuter Lot Shake Up, Parking Rate Increase
The borough would like to have numbered spaces and commuter kiosks installed at the Radburn Train Station by 2014.
Radburn Train Station's commuter parking lot may be on the verge of a makeover.
After receiving unanimous council approval Tuesday to move ahead with preliminary plans to update the lot, the borough will begin obtaining cost estimates to stripe parking spots and install two self-service kiosks at the station.
If approved, the lot makeover should give casual commuters a chance to find a parking spot, increase the ease with which police can ticket parking violators and raise additional revenue for the borough.
As the lot currently operates, resident commuters purchase an annual parking permit sticker that provides them daily entree to the unmarked lot. Residents are charged $54 -- 21 cents per week day -- for the annual permit, and non-residents pay $188 -- 72 cents per week day -- for the same parking privilege.
"It’s kind of an irony that you can drive to New York and pay $25 to park your car for two hours, or you can park in Fair Lawn for 21 cents," borough manager Tom Metzler said Tuesday.
Under the new proposal, the lot would be striped with numbered spots reserved for both residents and non-residents. A commuter would park his car and walk to the closest self-service kiosk where he would enter his parking space number and pay. Depending on the kiosk system, the commuter would either receive a receipt to be placed in plain view on his car's dashboard, or alternatively, the payment would be processed paperlessly by the machine.
In the second instance, ticketing police officers would be able to simply download the list of paid and unpaid spots, and more easily target parking violators -- occupied spots that have not been paid for -- rather than having to canvass the lot looking for cars parked without a permit sticker.
Deputy Mayor Ed Trawinski said he spoke with the mayor of Nutley, where a similar kiosk system is already in place, and that despite some initial concern the system has worked out.
"They couldn’t be happier with it," he said. "They actually also use it for their businesses, for parking for businesses, which is something to think about talking with the [River Road Improvement Corporation] and [Broadway Improvement Corporation] about."
Fair Lawn's next door neighbor, Glen Rock, also utilizes an identical self-service kiosk system, borough manager Tom Metzler said.
The proposed system's downside for residents include a loss in the number of parking spaces -- precipitated by the standardized striping process -- and an increased daily parking rate.
The parking costs aren't set in stone, but the estimates presented Tuesday called for residents to pay $1 per day and non-residents to pay $4 per day to park at the station. Using those figures, the borough would generate more than $200,000 in additional revenue, Metzler said.
Residents who commute reguarly would still have the ability to purchase an annual permit, but the cost has yet to be determined.
With council firmly behind further investigating the lot updgrade -- barring it does not conflict with the state's ban on increasing "user fees" to skirt the 2 percent tax cap -- the borough will seek permission from NJ Transit to proceed with the project and begin researching the capital improvement costs.
Metzler said he'd like to have the new system up-and-running by 2014.
Commuter parking rates for nearby communities are all over the map. Here's a list of eight, including Fair Lawn, provided by the borough manager:
|Town||Daily Resident Rate||Daily Non-Resident Rate||Annual Resident Rate||Annual Non-Resident Rate|
|Fair Lawn||$54, pro-rated quarterly||$188, pro-rated quarterly|
|Fair Lawn (bus parking lot on Saddle River Road)||$161||$161|
|Ridgewood||$0.25/hour||$650, pro rated monthly|
|Elmwood Park||$125 ($20/month)||$125 ($20/month)|