WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield Town Council approved an increase the number of hours of free parking downtown and the creation of free “express spaces” for people parking for 15 minutes or less at Tuesday night’s town council meeting.

Both changes are the result of recommendations by the Mayor’s Downtown Task Force and discussions among the Public Safety, Transportation & Parking Committee, Town Administrator Jim Gildea said at are recent council conference meeting.

Ordinance 2084, which was unanimously approved by the council upon final reading Tuesday night, changes the hours of paid parking downtown for shoppers and visitors from the current times of 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., effective as soon as signs and stickers in the downtown lots are changed — most likely by the end of June, according to Gildea.

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The ordinance will also allow the Westfield Police Department to designate certain parking spaces as 15-minute “express spaces” for those picking up takeout orders from Downtown restaurants or running quick errands.

To start, three express spaces will likely be created along Quimby Street, according to Gildea.

The ordinance also adds another “night-owl” parking lot to lot 5, behind the Rialto Theater, where downtown residents will be able to park their cars overnight. Night owl permits are available for purchase at the office of parking services at 425 East Broad St., Councilman Keith Loughlin, chair of the Public Safety, Transportation & Parking Committee, said.

“These changes are as the result of suggestions from Mayor Skibitsky’s Downtown Task Force report, which is on the town website at WestfieldNJ.gov,” Loughlin said. He encouraged residents to contact their council representatives with their ideas.