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Somerville: Pay Less, Park Longer in Municipal Lots

New advisories have been affixed to Somerville's parking meters. Credits: Rod Hirsch
New advisories have been affixed to Somerville's parking meters. Credits: Rod Hirsch
New advisories have been affixed to Somerville's parking meters. Credits: Rod Hirsch

SOMERVILLE, NJ  - The borough’s parking regulations have undergone yet another revision in deference to merchants and those who come to the borough to shop or dine as well as residents and those who work here.

The new rates and enforcement times went into effect June 1:

Municipal Parking Lots #1, #2, #4, #6, #7:

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The enforcement time in lots 1,2,4, and 6 is Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-7 p.m.;

The enforcement time in Lot # 7 is Monday- Friday 9 a.m.-7 p.m.;

Rates in Parking Lots #1, #2, #4, #6, #7 are 50 cents per hour;

There is no time limit in the parking lots;

The Parking Lot pay stations accept bills, coins and credit cards;

New signage with instructions has been attached to the meters and will be placed on the pay stations by Wednesday, according to Borugh Councilman RanD Pitts.

Main Street Parking Meters:

Enforcement hours are Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. except on Fridays between Memorial Day and Labor Day when enforcement on East and West Main Street ends at 5 p.m.;

 All street meters are $1 per hour with a 3-hour limi;

Minimum credit card charges apply.

The on-street parking meters will accept coins and credit cards for payment. An app is available online that will allow people to swipe their credit cards to make payments, and if time is running out, the app will allow users to make payments using their phones, according to Pitts.

Backlash over the increased rates prior to the holiday season last year led merchants to create an advocacy group, Business Owners On Main. BOOM worked successfully with the DSA and the Borough Council to revamp the rates and reduce prices.

The new rates were agreed to in February; the Borough Council introduced an ordinance in March reflecting the new fees and regulations, and approved the revisions in April.

The borough had introduced new parking fees and regulations in late 2016, the first time it had done so in 30 years, according to former Mayor Brian Gallagher, who resigned his position in January after his election to the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Four months later, in February, 2017, the new regulations were tweaked for the first time, with the council voting to extend time limits on the Main Street meters from two to three hours, and eliminating time limits in the municipal lots.

The ordinance adopted in April reads, in part, “Enforcement hours in all parking lots and street meters with exception to Veterans Memorial Drive is from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, except from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Enforcement shall be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Main Street between Memorial Day and Labor Day and free holiday parking on Saturday from Thanksgiving day to New Year’s day in all lots.

“All lot rates shall be amended to 50 cents an hour for unlimited parking time restrictions and street rates are $1 per hour up to three hours with the exception of Veterans Memorial Drive and Division Street.”

The reduced hours from Memorial Day to Labor Day are intended to accommodate the Classic Cruizers car owners who drive in to town Friday nights to display their classic, vintage, and collectible automobiles along Main Street, according to Mayor Ellen Brain. Parking on Sunday will continue to be free.

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

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