WESTFIELD, NJ—A number of new measures to improve the crowded street parking situation around Westfield High School—including added on- and off-street parking—will most likely be implemented by September, in time for the 2012-2013 school year.
“That’s our goal and I’m fairly confident we’re going to achieve that goal,” said Councilman Keith Loughlin, who serves as vice-chairman of the town’s public safety, transportation and parking committee. Loughlin campaigned on the issue in 2009 and quickly worked to bring the subject to the forefront after he was sworn in in January 2010.
The town council and the board of education have been working together using suggestions by traffic safety consultant Gordon Meth to create solutions to safety and quality-of-life concerns that have plagued the neighborhood for years.
Currently, 33 spaces are being added to Westfield High School’s parking lot alongside Rahway Avenue, and restriping at the New Jersey National Guard Armory’s lot will give the high school an additional 19 off-street spots. Approximately 30 on-street spots will be added, as well, as parking will now be allowed on Edgar Road in the eastbound direction.
Other changes are visible in the neighborhood, as well. A stop sign is being installed at Coleman Place and Seneca Place. Some streets will see new parking restrictions and residential parking permit zones designed with better traffic flow and pedestrian and vehicle safety in mind.
Meanwhile, improvements are also being made to parking at Edison Intermediate School, where High School students often play at—and park near—Kehler Stadium.
“We’re not naïve to think we’ve completely solved the problem,” said Loughlin. Instead, he believes that the solutions put in place will be “tweaked” as necessary.
While some residents may be relieved to see fewer cars parked along their streets during school hours and sports events, others have expressed concern about the neighborhood’s changing appearance.
“We are very sensitive to the aesthetics of this neighborhood,” said Loughlin. “Landscaping will be put in place to minimize the visual impact of the parking lot. We’ll make sure it looks as good as a parking lot can look.”
“I want to continue to thank the residents for their input and for working with us on this long-standing issue,” said Loughlin. He also thanked the Board of Education for partnering with the council to make these changes happen.