SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Temporary parking restrictions are in effect in the Tuxedo Park neighborhood to deal with the influx of Seton Hall students forced to park off campus, but some residents question why village administrators failed to take more immediate action.
In particular, people are upset that police did not take an aggressive approach, such as a ticketing campaign, toward the problem as soon as it developed.
“I’m not really bothered by it now, but I can see how it can be a problem in the long run,” said Winston Kennedy of Varsity Road. “I think that is something maybe for the police to take care of.”
But village officials say that as much as they understand the community’s desire to have their curbs clear of cars, there is not much that can be done to deter the students who obey regulations.
“They (the students) can certainly park there as long as they stay within the posted hours and don’t block traffic,” said James Chelel, South Orange chief of police. “They aren’t doing anything illegal.”
The South Orange government implemented temporary solutions in an effort to accommodate both Tuxedo Park and Seton Hall until the university completes construction of the expansion to its parking deck, which is expected sometime in fall 2014.
“Village officials have given members of the Seton Hall community who have SHU parking permits permission to park … on the east side of Ward Place inside the current painted lines between the Ward Place gate and South Orange Avenue,” wrote Tracy Gottlieb, vice president of students services at Seton Hall, in an email to the university community. “The village has also increased the number of spaces on South Orange Avenue, on the south side.”
Certain areas of Tuxedo Park have also been designated emergency no-parking zones, which appears to have helped improve the situation significantly.
According to Chelel, this is important because even if the students were parking illegally, the best the police would be able to do would be to move the problem to a different area of town.
“It’s something we’ll never be able to ticket out way out of,” he said. “Students will always need to park, and they’ll always find somewhere to do it.”
Additionally, the students forced to park off of Seton Hall’s campus do not feel as if they should be punished by the police for something that is out of their control.
“I feel like they (Seton Hall) dropped the ball,” said Kaity Oyer, a senior at the university. “They didn’t know how many students were going to commute, and they don’t have enough spaces for them all. That’s not our fault.”
The reporter is a student participating in hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.