Other NJ News

Happy Holidays: Mayor Says Free Parking in Somerville Lots Likely

ce4cb477a797e500a825_sompixparkingmeternew__3_.JPG
Somerville will adjust notices on its Main Street parking meters to reflect the three-hour time limit. Credits: Rod Hirsch/Tapinto file photo
d7ff405e851eb6fd396a_sompixparkinglotsigns__1_.JPG
The Somerville Borough Council is likely to approve free parking in borough-owned lots beginning Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, through New Year's Day, according to Mayor Brian Gallagher. Credits: Rod Hirsch/Tapinto file photo
ce4cb477a797e500a825_sompixparkingmeternew__3_.JPG

SOMERVILLE, NJ  - With Black Friday looming less than two weeks away, downtown Somerville merchants are hoping to give shoppers an early Christmas present while helping to increase their business with free parking.

The Borough Council will likely pass a resolution at its meeting next Monday night to shut down metered parking in borough-owned parking lots during the holiday season, according to Mayor Brian Gallagher.

The free parking will go into effect with the traditional day-after Thanksgiving start of the retail season, through New Year’s Day, according to the mayor.

Sign Up for E-News

The council will discuss which of the borough’s seven public lots will be covered before passing the resolution, Gallagher said.

Free parking during the holiday is a tradition in Somerville, designed to attract shoppers and visitors to the downtown area and increase retail traffic in the stores along Main Street, the Division Street pedestrian mall and other side streets lined with restaurants and shops.

There are 1,100 parking meters and pay stations in the borough, according to Kevin Sluka, borough clerk.

Last year, however, the borough limited free parking in the metered lots to Saturdays only; there is no charge for parking in the lots on Sundays.

Increased parking fees instituted late last year have been a contentious issue with merchants, some of whom have organized an upstart business association, Business Owners on Main, in an effort to modify or eliminate metered parking as one of its objectives.

BOOM met Oct. 26, and again Monday night, with store owners and restaurant owners continuing to voice their frustration and disdain for the higher parking fees on Main Street and the borough parking lots, complaining that the higher rates have impacted their businesses.

On Tuesday, a few members of BOOM attended the monthly meeting of the Downtown Somerville Alliance, where the conversation continued.

The DSA is empowered by the Borough Council to advocate for business and property owners and to market and promote the downtown, as well as impose a tax on Main Street property owners within the designated Special Improvement District to fund its efforts.

Borough Council member Jane Kobuta, who acts as liason and is a member of the DSA, along with Beth Anne Macdonald, executive director of the DSA, met after the DSA meeting with Sluka to ensure the topic of parking would be added to the agenda for Monday night’s meeting, which will begin at 7 p.m. at Police Headquarters, 24 South Bridge St.

BOOM members had also complained about a discrepancy between signs on the meters advising a two-hour time limit, when in fact, the meters are calibrated for a three-hour maximum.

Kobuta relayed that information to Sluka, who promised to remedy the problem quickly, she said.   

“We went right over there and had a great meeting with Kevin,” Kobuta said. “He said he will fix the signs as soon as possible to make the change from two to three hours; hopefully that will get done within short period of time.

“We’re aware of the merchants’ unhappiness about the parking and we will try to help them out with the free parking during the holiday season,” Kobuta added. "I really don’t think any of them (fellow council members) will have any objections.”

The revised parking regulations, first adopted late last year and revised earlier this year, extend the time limits placed on Main Street parking meters from two to three hours, and eliminate time restrictions from off-street parking meters in municipal parking lots 1,2,4,6 and 7.

The borough maintains seven parking lots; Parking lots 1 and 2, behind the Main Street shopping district stretching from Maple Street on the east to North Doughty Avenue on the west, includes 300 spaces, according to Sluka. Lot 7, located on E. High Street between North Bridge Street and Grove Street has 170 spaces.

Lots 3, 4 and 5 on the east side of the borough are much smaller. Lot 6 is primarily used for jurors who drive in from outside Somerville.

The revisions adopted earlier this year include:

·       Enforcement times Monday-Saturday that begin at 9 a.m. were extended three hours, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., meaning there will fewer hours to park for free;

·        The new enforcement times in Parking Lots 1, 2, 4 and 6 are Monday through Saturday 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Hourly rates increased from 25 to 75 cents an hour for Lots 1,2 and 6;

·        The rates for Lot 7 increased from 25 cents to 50 cents per hour. Sluka said efforts are being made to encourage merchants, employees and others who spend their day in Somerville to park in Lot 7, which will add up to significant savings over a month’s time. Enforcement times in Lot 7 are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m-8 p.m.;

·         The hourly rate for Lot 4 was increased to $1 per hour with a maximum parking time of 2 hours. 

          The 12-minute, limited-time penny meters in the vicinity of the Post Office on Division Street have been left untouched.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Milltown/Spotswood

Rutgers Professor to Climb Alps for Climate Change Study on Glaciers

July 18, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Lauren Neitzke Adamo has long enjoyed hiking along trails and through forests and over rock formations largely to see the natural surroundings.

“I’ve been a huge science nerd all my life,” said Adamo, who has a doctorate degree and is co-director of the Rutgers University Geology museum in New Brunswick.

Next month Adamo will head to the Swiss Alps ...

Somerville: Gallery Hosts Photo Society's 90th Anniversary Exhibit

July 14, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Arts on Division is presenting “Visions of Raritan Photographic Society – A Celebration of 90 years” from Thursday, July 19 to Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018 at the Gallery on Division, 15B Division Street.

The Raritan Photographic Society, founded in 1929, is the oldest photography club in New Jersey. The exhibit celebrates the organization's 90 years ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sings Conclude with Verdi ...

Carousel_image_0a79b254f45583c80861_048

Wed, August 22, 8:30 AM

American Legion Post 253, Spotswood

Bus Trip to AC Air Show

Giving Back Other

Wed, August 22, 8:30 AM

American Legion Post 253, Spotswood

Bus Trip to AC Air Show

Murphy Administration Takes Action to Help Smokers Quit

July 17, 2018

 

TRENTON, NJ – The Murphy administration on Monday announced new steps to help New Jersey Medicaid recipients quit using tobacco by making it easier to receive tobacco cessation medications and counseling.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in New Jersey, leading to chronic lung disease, heart disease, stroke and cancer,” said New ...

Westfield to Hold 3-Day ‘AddamsFest’ Celebrating Charles Addams and His Creations This Fall

July 14, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — It’s creepy. It’s kooky. And it’s taking over Westfield from Oct 26 to 28. AddamsFest, a town-wide celebration honoring Westfield native Charles Addams and his most famous creations, The Addams Family, will be a destination event this fall with family-friendly activities, lectures, exhibits and film screenings, the town announced Thursday.

Watch the ...

Lucia, Lucia by Adriani Trigiani

Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2003)

 

If a summer romance novel is what you are craving to read as you sit by the pool or beach, Adriana Trigiani's Lucia, Lucia is a perfect choice. Set in 1950 New York City, the novel is about a young woman, Lucia Sartori, who is determined to have a career and be able to support herself, an unusual choice for a girl who was ...

'Servant of Two Masters' exudes foolish fun

‘Servant of Two Masters’ makes for foolish, frivolous fun

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ –Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” in a rousing translation and adaptation by Bonnie J. Monte, has the outdoor audience at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey laughing and clapping all the way through.

The yearly production, held at the amphitheatre on the ...