LITTLE FALLS, NJ - The Little Falls Public Library is asking the Township of Little Falls to remedy the parking space issue for all of its visitors. The library, located on 8 Warren St., has been experiencing an increase of library patrons over the past few years.
According to Christine Miller, library director, the spike in attendance is correlated with the expansion of programs and services that the library provides to the community. She said that having designated parking space for teachers from School No 1, would help alleviate the current parking issues.
"We believe that some sort of organized, designated parking area for the teachers - whether it's at the east side of the school or the south side of the old police station - would allow more parking staff and visitors," Miller said during the open public comment of the recent council meeting on March 13. She added that it would also help visitors with available parking at the nearby Little Falls Civic Center. "There is a renewed interest in the public library for all residents who frequent the library to borrow books, materials and also attend information sessions."
Miller added that many patrons visit to learn how to use new technologies. Some also come to use the library as a safe and peaceful location to socialize.
"We have to be able to provide parking spaces to accommodate all of our visitors," she added.
Council President Anthony Sgobba inquired as to how the parking capabilities were in the past. Miller responded that attendance has vastly grown over the past few years making finding available parking space more challenging.
"More people are coming, including those with children, We're getting a larger volume of people in general," Miller explained. "This generation is having children and they're coming with cars, instead of walking. We also did not have the adult programs that we now have. We need more parking spaces if we're going to accommodate all the needs and requests of the community."
Sgobba said the township council was aware that School No. 1 staff currently have free parking at the old police station, located on Stevens Avenue across from the library.
Bonnie Nolan, president of the library board of trustees, also commented during the council meeting by stating that the two factors compounding the problem is that teachers take up most of the parking area of the police station and that the nearby Valley National Bank restricts the use of their parking lot to just bank employees.
"I think for starters, maybe we can have a discussion with the township about having teachers park their vehicles in a different location," she explained.
Mayor James Damiano informed Miller and Nolan that he would reach out to Tracey Marinelli, superintendent, to address the current issue.
A proposed parking ordinance was also discussed during the meeting that would allow minor parking violations to be paid by mail or over the internet. Damiano said the aim is to not inconvenience residents by appearing in court in order to wait to be heard, which will take up time unnecessarily for judges and prosecutors as well. Court costs that arise pertaining to those violations are also part of the issue that Damiano said needs to be alleviated.
"What we're looking to do is update that ordinance," Damiano explained. "In order to comply there must be a set dollar amount for the violation that does not increase."
Damiano said the ordinance will be updated by the next council meeting on March 27.