NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Borough Administrator Doug Marvin advised the Borough Council at its Monday, July 25 meeting that the borough could have an option to add parking at the New Providence Train Station.

Marvin had been approached by the owner of two adjacent properties to the station. The owner was inquiring if the borough would be interested in purchasing those properties and turning them into commuter parking lots.

There is sufficient railroad parking for residents at the moment, Marvin said. However, Marvin noted that there are some perks of having more parking available at the New Providence Train Station. It would benefit residents who reside on the east side of the borough. The train fare is also slightly cheaper compared to the Murry Hill Station. “In the ideal world the New Providence station would be bigger than the Murray Hill Station,” he said. On the other hand, the numbers do not support such an investment, he added.

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Council President Michael Gennaro noted that the borough doesn’t always do things that make economic sense, but is here “to provide essential services for residents.” He asked Marvin if the borough is in need of more railroad parking to which Marvin responded “no”. He explained that the recent changes at the Murray Hill Station had eliminated the overflow parking issues. The borough has recently reduced non-resident parking permits, from 40 to 20, and issued revised parking permit decals that help with parking enforcement.

Councilman Robert Robinson pondered if the borough could sell additional parking spaces to out of town commuters. The borough could also provide more residential parking at the New Providence station and sell non-resident permits at the Murray Hill Station. Marvin explained that the non-resident parking demand has never exceeded 40 spaces.

Mayor Al Morgan suspected that the cost of purchasing the properties and turning them into parking lots would easily reach $500,000. Such investment should break even in 5 years, not 30 – as in this case.

Robinson further asked if there are any New Jersey Transit funds available. This could be “a golden opportunity” to benefit our residents, he said. Councilman Jim Madden said that he has heard of transit redevelopment funds.

Councilman Gary Kapner agreed with Robinson and noted that the need for additional parking may arise in the future when those lots will no longer be available. Redeveloping the lots would not be a complete loss as they would generate at least some revenue. “It is worth exploring,” he said.