By Kelly Nicholaides
for Montclair Local
In a move to address parking issues in Montclair, the mayor and council unanimously passed ordinances to allow residents more flexibility in parking, while doubling parking violation fines in mostly third ward areas.
On Nov. 27, the governing body altered the overnight off-street parking permit to allow holders to park in metered areas from 5 p.m. until 8 a.m., Sunday through Saturday. Residents with permits can park “in any available metered parking space at such times as meter, pay station or other time charges do not apply, 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,” the ordinance reads.
The permit fees are $50-$70 a month. Parking decks at Crescent, Fullerton, Bay Street and Orange Road are included. Additionally, permits are required for lots at
four Bellevue locations, Fairfield, Gates, Grove, Laurel Place, Lloyd Road, Maple, Midtown, Montague, Montclair Heights, Plymouth, Portland, South End, South Fullerton, South Willow, Upper Montclair, Valley, Walnut and Watchung.
To mitigate the parking issue in the downtown due to the construction of major redevelopment projects and street closures creating parking shortages, the governing body has created a Special Parking Zone. Parking violations will result in doubled fines, from $30 to $60, and up to a maximum of $500.
The Special Parking Zone areas include South Fullerton Avenue from Hawthorne Place to Bloomfield Avenue; Gates Avenue from Bloomfield Avenue to Hawthorne Place; Claremont Avenue from North Fullerton to Greenwood avenues; Hawthorne Avenue from Gates to South Fullerton Avenue; North Fullerton Avenue from Bloomfield Avenue to Claremont Avenue; Greenwood Avenue from Claremont Avenue to Israel Crane Way (a.k.a. Lackawanna Place); and Israel Crane Way from Greenwood to Bloomfield avenues.
“Hopefully, this will alleviate the parking issues in this area,” said Deputy Mayor Sean Spiller. “People should park lawfully. We had issues with people illegally parking on the street,” Spiller said.
Town attorney Ira Karasick said the town isn’t trying to punish visitors. “We’re trying to change behavior by putting signage up indicated that it’s a special zone for parking as well as raising the fines,” he said.
Orange Road resident Stephanie Wood said she’s in the process of trying to sell her house, noting that development in her Third Ward block, including the proposed Hahne’s redevelopment project that will shut down the Church Street lot and will make it impossible to park anywhere. “That’s our whole neighborhood. I have no driveway or garage. The situation with traffic and parking is much worse and we’re already shutting one lot. I want to sell my house and get out,” Wood said.