South Orange Details Changes to Commuter Parking


SOUTH ORANGE, NJ--The Board of Trustees announced Monday that the village has finalized a sale for the redevelopment project at Third and Valley streets with real estate firm Jonathan Rose Cos.

Along with the redevelopment process comes several changes to parking. Lot No. 7 has been closed, eliminating 133 commuter parking spaces. Village Administrator Barry Lewis Jr. apologized for the short notice given to commuters. "Certainly we could have done better in notifying the public," he said.

According to the village website, in order to make up for the lost spots, they added 145 spaces throughout town, including Waterlands Park and a parking lot adjacent to the firehouse. "Some are probably more attractive and closer,” Lewis said of the new spaces. “I think they provide as good of an alternative as we could, considering the circumstances.” 

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Some spots that were once designated as general parking are now reserved for commuters. Fifteen spaces each on Mead Street, Meadowbrook Lane, and North Ridgewood Road were converted to commuter use. The restrictions are in place from 6 to 11 a.m.

Trustee Walter Clarke said that while signs have been posted indicating the changes, not enough has been done to let noncommuters know about the changes. "I'm concerned about people who normally parked there for an hour or two, (and) now it's commuter parking," he said.

Another step the village is taking to expand parking is the the acquisition of land at Church Street and South Orange Avenue. If the village is able to purchase the land, the buildings there would be demolished to make way for a 60-space parking lot, according to Lewis. He said that lot might be available by July.

Lewis emphasized that the redevelopment plan, which includes a multi-level parking garage to be completed by January 2016, will be a long-term benefit to parking in South Orange. A groundbreaking ceremony is planned for Friday, March 21.

In other action: 

  • The board unanimously approved a resolution to hire a part-time, hourly animal control officer after the retirement of Dick Ash, a longtime village employee.
  • Trustee Sheena Collum announced that a “Light the Night” event to be held on April 3 in order to identify gas lamp outages in town. Volunteers will report outages using SOConnect application that was recently launched by the village.
  • Lewis reported that nine contractors had submitted packages to be prequalified for renovations to Village Hall. Once those are reviewed, all qualified contractors will be invited to bid for the job. That review is scheduled to be completed by March 24, according to Lewis.
The reporter is a student participating in hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.

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