City officials approved eight loading zones on Main Street running from Broadway to Smith Street to accommodate local businesses after merchants struggled with loading and unloading goods following the installation of parking meters on the city’s main commercial corridor.
Council members unanimously voted to approve the loading zones on Tuesday evening. Each of the loading zones will be active from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Friday, according to the ordinance.
Shoppers will be able to take advantage of the loading zones on Saturdays and Sundays, said city officials.
“Now those commercial trucks can deliver without interrupting traffic,” said Alex Mendez, councilman at-large. He said the loading zones will improve flow traffic while giving business owners one loading zone per block.
“There’s also pedestrian safety,” added Andre Sayegh, 6th Ward councilman.
Mendez initially attempted to push through the loading zone, but was hampered when other council members raised questions. However, working with the Downtown Special Improvement District (SID) and the Greater Paterson Chamber of Commerce city officials made changes placing some loading zones in mid-block at extremely busy intersections.
Some loading zones also include fire hydrants which is allowed under New Jersey law, according to Jamie Dykes, president of the chamber. Dykes worked with the city’s traffic engineer to place many of the loading zones so as to allow smooth flow of traffic; for example, one loading zone is placed in such a manner as to allow for a relief lane – when the loading zone is empty a motorist is able to pass through on the right side.
The loading zone issue emerged in December of last year when the Paterson Parking Authority at the command of mayor Jose “Joey” Torres installed meters along Main Street. Businesses welcomed the meters because it allowed customers to inexpensively park to patronize local businesses, but they did not much enjoy the loading zones that were turned into meter parking spaces.
During the ensuing months commercial trucks double parked or unloaded merchandise blocks away creating two issues the new loading zones will likely address: congestion and inconvenience for business.