Letters to the Editor

Summit Needs Changes in Parking Policy

3d1adfd24c5365b115d5_5b0969680de0a2b560de_letter_to_the_editor.jpg
3d1adfd24c5365b115d5_5b0969680de0a2b560de_letter_to_the_editor.jpg

A prior opinion letter looked at Summit’s goals for the Downtown that included efforts to add a new parking garage in or near the downtown.  My goal with this letter is to encourage public discussion on parking management changes that are urgently needed to improve conditions for downtown visitors, merchants and property owners.

The current state of parking in Summit is confused and disjointed. There are many parking options in many locations with many time limits. If you’ve talked to someone new to town about where and how to park in Summit it is not an easy conversation.  So what can be done to make the existing parking work better? Let’s start with some common sense observations.

First, Summit is a transit hub and commercial small city with many of its residents living close to the downtown. In fact, Summit’s major point of difference is its compactness. This means the need to drive and park a vehicle is not the only way to get to the downtown. Too little is done to maximize this feature.  Secondly, it means that driving and parking may include a short pleasant walk to your destination. 

At the heart of any parking improvement plan is the proper allocation of resources.  This is presently not done well. The control elements are permits for commuters and employees and zones for visitors.  However, the City issues commuter and employee permits with no expiration so the allocation model is hopelessly broken. And there is no parking management by zones.  If permits were renewed each year or every two years then the City would have a true picture of demand as it changes over time. The non-resident cash valet parking arrangement at the East Broad St. lot and beyond deserves its own opinion letter.    

Employee parking is the single greatest challenge in the system. The City parking authority can’t solve it alone. The downtown management group, SDI, who is aligned with property owners and leaseholders, is in the best position to both issue employee permits and to educate users on appropriate employee parking sites. Unlike the City, SDI recognizes that many employees don’t park in a single space all day. It is time the City recognizes it is unable to properly manage employee parking and to turn this work and some parking revenue over to SDI to run this program.

The City’s effort to promote parking shortage does not take into account a dramatic loss of downtown pedestrian traffic. The town has not replaced the nearly 900 daily visitor trips generated by the Summit Medical Group which once occupied the corner of Deforest and Summit Ave.  This along with trends of fewer employees per square foot of office space and higher levels of commercial space vacancies calls into question whether downtown demand is accurately reported.     

Merchants are given credit for suffering the effects of a purported parking shortage. Merchants suffer less from a shortage of spaces but instead suffer more from a widely held public perception that parking in Summit is difficult-hard to find spaces and risky due to an overly aggressive parking enforcement policy. The City also continues to take away important visitor meter spaces by haphazardly green bagging them for daily employee use.  

Summit’s parking reputation needs improvement. The goal should be to gain a positive perception by making it easy to find a parking space and hard to get a parking ticket.  This would result in a dramatic improvement in pedestrian traffic. In theory, that was what was supposed to happen when the Deforest lots were changed, but instead the overly complicated gate system is a barrier to their use.

There should be little disagreement that visitors want a better parking experience. The parking system should flex during periods of peak demand. Yes, people will need to walk al little further. I have heard the argument that visitors/shoppers demand parking close to the business front door. Unless you have a disability, I have no sympathy for anyone advocating this since Summit is a walkable community. If you want to park in front of a business then go to a suburban community like Bridgewater.

Summit’s time limits on meters and lots are presently a poor fit for users and are needlessly confusing. The time limit system in place does one thing very well. It produces many $25 parking citations.  What would happen if the City had only 4 time limit options? For example:

30 minutes or less, 2 hours or less, 5 hours or less and full day rate. Simply observe the 15 minute spaces on Union Place to see how this very short time limit does not work.  Most visitors at a 15 minute space need more time and therefore risk a ticket. The only sure way to encourage turnover of parking spaces in the highest demand zone is to limit the maximize time a vehicle parks in that zone each day without making exceptions. Some ongoing education and proper enforcement for repeat offenders more easily and inexpensively increases parking availability.  For a compact community, the City administration has made parking needlessly complicated and mean spirited.

A final example that best demonstrates a lack of parking management foresight is the number 3 Deforest parking lot(Deforest and Summit Ave). It is the smallest of the 3 Deforest lots.  When it was renovated and the new gate technology was added spaces were lost due to design. However, this did not prevent the City from moving 6 leased parking spaces (24 hour leased spaces no turnover) inside the parking lot. The City collects about $600 a quarter from each leased space. Is this an example of putting revenue before service or of making special accommodations for a few ahead of the public good? 

It’s time to change parking policy in Summit

Robert Steelman

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Summit

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_92eaadab4fea5d764092_edc2dcd4802a1c409d7c_screen_shot_2018-04-03_at_1.15.57_pm

Sun, May 27, 8:00 AM

Summit Summer Farmers Market, Summit

Summit Farmers Market

Community Calendar Food & Drink Green Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_0c63dc6a6331d69b33d0_1d29717c7da85f620ea1_17903707_159818264543586_8956059855279803140_n

Thu, May 31, 11:30 AM

Canoe Brook Country Club, Summit

Fortnightly Club Scholarship Luncheon

Food & Drink Giving Back

Carousel_image_118c5e0cd5e374752d3b_4781cf968b524bd38b2e_cm1-300x285

Thu, May 31, 1:30 PM

Coppola Ristorante, New Providence

Lunch and Learn: Dental Implants and the ...

Health & Wellness

Summit Police Blotter

May 17, 2018

4/24 - At 0728 hours a report was taken for a theft of two (2) sandwiches from a business on Morris Avenue. The manager reported that at approximately 0330 hours a male entered the business and removed two sandwiches from a refrigerated case. After doing so, he exited the store without paying for them. The male suspect was described as Hispanic, approximately 6’0”wearing a blue/gray ...

Video: Point View's Petrides Looks at Trade Truce Sector Beneficiaries, Opportunities

May 24, 2018

Point View Wealth Management's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, on CNBC's Nightly Business Report (interview starts at 5:05 mark) discussing stocks to buy based on easing trade tensions with China.

ptview.com/medias/tv-radio

For more than 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, ...

Video: Point View's Dietze Reviews Investment Strategies as Trade Tensions with China Calm

Point View Wealth Management's Founder, President and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, live on FOX Business on investment strategies in the wake of the thawing of Chinese trade tensions.

ptview.com/medias/tv-radio

For more than 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio ...

Stocks Can Rise in a Rising Interest Rate Environment

Investors remain concerned about the potential impact of higher interest rates on stocks. In their most recently released minutes, the Federal Reserve Open Markets Committee indicated the US economy is on solid footing and the economic conditions warrant continued gradual increasing of interest rates. This set off a sale in the stock and bond markets as investors began pricing in a fourth ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!

 

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

A Royal Pain

I went to a big wedding over the weekend.  It was in England.

I like to think I was invited, but according to the Royal Guards and the Thames Valley Police I was not.  But more about that later.

You see, not too long ago I received an evite addressed to me from H&M@royalwedbot.co.uk.  Curiously, it was in my spam folder with a warning message. For an evite it was pretty ...