By Jaimie Julia Winters
More parking options may be offered to relieve parking woes in the Third Ward being caused by the Seymour Street Redevelopment Project.
An ordinance, expected to be introduced at the Oct. 23 township council meeting, will create more ‘N’ parking permits, which allow for overnight parking in metered spots.
“An overnight off-street night permit shall entitle the holder thereof to park a designated passenger motor vehicle (not including a bus) in any available metered parking space or in any available parking space within a permit area of any public parking lot between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. Sunday through Saturday, inclusive during the entire period for which the permit is issued,” reads the ordinance.
Area residents claim their $1,200 yearly parking permits have been rendered almost useless after the South Willow and South Fullerton parking lots closed in August and September to make for the development. The two lots contained a combined 100 metered and permit parking spaces.
Now, residents are forced to park several blocks away at the Crescent Deck. But parking is now more competitive than ever in the already well-used lot, especially when concerts are held at the nearby Wellmont Theater. Some said they are wary of running errands on the weekends for fear of losing their parking spots.
Officials are attempting to lessen the impact. In September, the council removed the meters from the Plymouth parking lot at 41 South Fullerton Ave. and made it permit-parking only. Parking is now allowed on the eastern side of Seymour Street as well.
But residents attending the Third Ward meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 10, said parking issues remain a constant burden. Many cars are parked illegally with little or no enforcement, they said.
The council may also create a Red Zone in the area. Parking violation tickets in that area would be doubled.
The council is also considering $2 hourly parking at some decks. The cost to park in the North Fullerton Deck will go from $.75 per hour to $2, while the Crescent Deck will go from $1 an hour to $2. A change to Bay Street Deck pricing will see a $2 hour charge from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Friday, as well as all day Saturday and Sunday.
The Seymour Street development approved last year will consist of two buildings when completed in 2019. The first structure will have 200 residential units, 232 parking spaces, 10,000 square feet dedicated to arts and entertainment and 30,000 square feet of retail space facing Bloomfield Avenue and Seymour Street. The second building will feature two stories of office space and five floors of municipal parking that will eventually help alleviate the area’s parking woes.