MILLBURN, NJ - The Millburn Township Committee unanimously approved a resolution to authorize the advertisement of bids for the removal of downtown flexible parking.
The heightened sidewalk parking was implemented in the first phase of the Complete Streets Initiative, which passed unanimously in 2015. In recent years, members of the public has expressed their disapproval of multiple aspects of the initiative, especially the flex parking.
In a recent survey administered by the township made up of over 1,200 merchants, residents, and surrounding community members, 74% of the respondents approved the removal of the flex parking. Only 19% of the residents who replied wished to keep the downtown parking as-is.
Even between the public’s call for action and certain members of the committee advocating for change nothing is set in stone as of now. The Township Business Administrator Alex McDonald is putting out the advertisement of the project to bidders. Neither bid documents nor contracts are currently prepared.
“Starting the process starts the ball rolling” said Deputy Mayor Jodi Rosenberg prior to the vote. “To start the process there should be a consensus that we are at least interested in finding this out. Otherwise we wouldn't do it. But we are not wed to doing anything.”
Dianne Thall-Eglow, a second year member of the committee, won her seat on the Complete Streets issue. The cornerstone of her campaign, Eglow vowed to halt Complete Streets construction, reevaluate the town’s options, and change course if needed.
“It [flex parking] is confusing. People have damaged their vehicles. It is the single most reason residents and non-residents say they do not want to come to town” said Eglow in a statement. “It is the most mocked and ridiculed [aspect] of the entire project [Complete Streets]. I believe this is the start of getting Millburn’s downtown back.”
Fellow committeewoman Jackie Benjamin Lieberberg concurred.
“I believe this is the right thing to do” Lieberberg said. “It demonstrates commitment to our residents, merchants, and our visitors. It was the only complaint that we could rectify in a relatively expeditious manner as a governing body. I believe this is money well spent.”