The Chatham Borough Council is considering paving over more of Memorial Park for additional parking. As I expressed at the December council meeting, this is not necessary because we have highly underutilized parking that was just added on North Passaic Avenue (taking away more of the precious green in our borough), as well as Center Street and other municipal parking, not to mention available parking on North Hillside Avenue.
An official from St. Paul's represented at this same council meeting that additional parking was needed to provide spaces for the assembly during services. Of note, the website for St. Paul's reveals that there are but three routine services a week; one on Wednesday morning and two on Sunday morning. On Sunday the library does not open until 2 PM, allowing the church to use the entire parking lot, and there is also ample parking on Main Street as well as North Passaic Avenue, North Hillside Avenue, and municipal lots.
Her mentioning one parishioner who received one ticket on one Sunday morning as a reason to pave over the grass forever seems ludicrous on face value. Of note, at St. Paul’s recent Christmastime services just after the December council meeting when this first surfaced, it was especially interesting to observe the ample parking (14 empty spaces on North Passaic) even during peak religious service attendance on Sunday. Also the property adjacent to St. Paul's already has substantial parking that is rarely used, just steps from the door of St. Paul's. Has anyone tried to reach out and see if a neighborly agreement could be made to fairly use that already-paved-over space?
Another issue is that library employees currently park in the available spots behind the building. I understand businesses along Main Street have been required to have their employees park in municipal lots. Why is the library exempt from this? I'm confident with appropriate interventions for library employee parking and education about other parking options, this situation can be improved to save the park and we won't have to "pave paradise to put up a parking lot!"
Seems to me, our family, and many other concerned citizens we have spoken to, that there is a better fix to the parking issue without requiring more precious green to be paved over and precious tax dollars spent adding to global warming. The borough needs more green space not less. Did NYC pave over Central Park and other parks due to parking pressure?
This issue may be of particular concern to us and others on our block because it’s our neighborhood, but no one who values the environment should be in favor of it. If you agree that we should not be taking this environmentally unfriendly and costly action, please email the mayor and council and tell them so at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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