SOUTH ORANGE – A traffic and parking study in support of Seton Hall University’s purchase of the former Marylawn school did not evaluate the impact of increased demand for parking on the surrounding neighborhood.
Elizabeth Dolan, a traffic engineer, testified at the Board of Adjustment meeting on Tuesday night that 101 parking spaces would be provided for students and that up to 200 students would park on the main Seton Hall campus and take a shuttle to the Marylawn site.
She noted that street parking is not allowed on Scotland Road, parking on Montrose and Vose avenues is limited to two hours and parking on Stewart Place is restricted until 11 a.m.
“What about the other streets?” board member Michael Parlapiano asked. Dolan said she did not study parking along other neighborhood streets.
“We’ve all seen … when there was a crunch, students used every available place they could find,” Parlapiano said. “I’m curious about why you would not have looked at this.”
Board member William Dahn said that students would be more likely to park in the neighborhood rather than park at Seton Hall and wait for a shuttle. “The area’s ripe across Scotland Road to park for the day,” he said. “That’s only a two- or three-block walk.”
Dolan said the village could add parking restrictions to neighborhood streets.
“That’s at the heart of the question,” Parlapiano said. “The impact on the residents.”
Board member Paula Marie Zwiren added, “Residents having greater restrictions on their parking is not something I’m comfortable with.”
Seton Hall wants to relocate its graduate medical education programs to the former Catholic school (see related story here).
“There is no way the Marylawn site can provide all the parking for students,” Dolan said. “There has to be an assignment of spaces for students.” Unlike the parking permit system on the main campus, which sells more permits than there are spaces available on campus, the university would only sell permits for the 101 spaces available, according to Dolan.
The plan also calls for 72 parking spaces for faculty and staff , 19 spaces for offices in the mansion on on the property, known as the Graves House, and 10 spaces for visitors, according to Dolan.
Dolan also said that entrance into and exit from the site would be restricted to one driveway on Scotland Road and one on Vose Avenue. The others would be gated and used for emergency access.
Regarding traffic volume, Dolan noted that her firm’s study indicated that the increase during peak hours would be “acceptable” in terms of the traffic capacity of the streets.
NOTE: Amy Kiste Nyberg is a journalism professor in the Department of Communication & The Arts at Seton Hall University.