BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Thirty-two additional spots can be added at Gov. Livingston High School with the use of paint at an estimated cost of $1,000. The addition of these spaces will help the parking issues, however, it is not a permanent fix. Four concepts were presented by district architect, Frank Messineo of Solutions Architecture, at last week's Board of Education meeting.
The district lots can no longer adequately provide parking spaces for the growing number of student drivers which has resulted in a number of student drivers parking on the neighboring streets.
A group of neighboring residents met with school officials and the Town Council to voice their concerns, stating that, at times, it is impossible to pull out of driveways because of cars parked on their streets. The parked cars make it hard to see cars coming down Sussex Road toward Crest Drive and the residents voiced their concern for the safety of small children and pets due to blind spots on those streets.
Superintendent Judy Rattner has worked with Lt. Robert Deitch and Messineo to come up with options of increasing the number of parking spots on the school campus. The district lots, as-is, can accommodate 236 student spots.
Currently 227 seniors have requested a spot, with 9 being shared, leaving 18 spots for junior requests.
The parking issue arises as more juniors receive their licenses and request permits. Second semester, 30 juniors have requested parking permits -- 25 requests were met with 7 spots being shared.
"Looking at various alternatives, we have looked at the most practical and most economical of solutions," said Messineo, who presented the four proposed concepts.
Concept A adds 32 new spaces by "using a little paint" which will add 12 spaces in the back court yard area; three spots along the back of the school; two spaces outside the media center where busses currently park*; seven spaces in the teachers' front parking lot; and eight new spaces in the side parking lot.
*The busses that currently park in the fire zone along the curb outside the media center will park along Watchung Blvd., parallel to the media center.
The other proposed concepts that would require more work and a capital expenditure include:
- Concept B - adding 19 spaces in the center isle area in front of the school;
- Concept C - adding 20 spaces along Watchung Blvd., where the paper road continues leading to the athletic fields, along the soft ball field;
- Concept D - adding 20 spaces along the area that connects the side parking lot to the right of the school and back parking lot.
Click here for full analysis, concepts and budget.
The administration recommends to move forward with Concept A, adding 32 spaces by adding or reconfiguring paint striping. The District Facilities Committee will review and evaluate the feasibility of moving forward with Concepts B, C and/or D as part of the Capital Budget Process for the 2015-16 school year.
Resident Mike Burke asked the board to reconsider their position on the assigned spot policy, stating, it is an inefficient use of spaces due to 10 to 15-percent of spots, during peak, are left vacant.
Since the implementation of the assigned spot policy, Rattner said, there has been a significant reduction in number of accidents, therefore, she wants to look into adding spaces to see if they can address the number of parking requests before considering changing the assigned spot policy.
The district will move forward with scheduling the Maintenance Deptartment to paint subsequent to a final meeting with the Berkeley Heights Fire Department.