City officials gave precursory approval to a measure that will create a two-block residential permit parking zone in the Eastside section neighborhood.
East 38th Street between Market Street and 21st Avenue and East 39th Street between Market Street and Vreeland Avenue will be turned into a permit parking zone for residents from Friday to Monday, according to the ordinance which was preliminarily approved on Tuesday evening.
“This is really a pilot program,” said Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large. “Rolling it out in a controlled area before rolling it out city wide gives us an opportunity to work out the kinks.”
Morris has been talking about creating a city-wide residential permit parking system similar to New Brunswick and Hoboken for some time.
This year, a perfect problem allowed Morris to propose his idea to address a parking problem in East 38th and East 39th Streets that sprang from patrons of the Bonfire Mofongo House Lounge customers taking up parking spaces along both residential streets.
The reinvigorated Bonfire Restaurant which converted from a restaurant to a night club created a parking nightmare for residents. About a dozen residents came before the city council to share their plight at which point Morris suggested the residential permit parking zone for the area.
Non-residents will be barred from parking on both streets from Friday 5 p.m. to Saturday 8 a.m. and Saturday 5 p.m. to Monday 8 a.m., according to the ordinance. This allows the residents a full day of parking on Sundays.
Vehicles that do not bear a city issued permit will be ticketed and towed, said city officials. A violation of the ordinance carries a $50 fine, according to the measure.
The ordinance does make concessions to employees of companies that are located in the area. A company owner or an employee of a company located at the residential permit parking zone will be able to submit paystubs and other relevant documents to secure a permit, according to the ordinance.
Residents with visitors will have to obtain temporary residential parking permits that are valid for 48 hours.
Area residents who owe the city municipal parking fines are barred from obtaining permits under the measure, according the ordinance.
Ruby Cotton, 4th Ward councilwoman, inquired about a provision that would require the city send notifications or warning to area residents.
“It may be too difficult to determine whether someone got a notice or not before issuing the second summons,” responded Morris.
Morris said instead for the first month or so the city will, at the discretion of the police director, issue warnings to violators. “On the 31st day: ticket and tow,” remarked Morris.
Alex Mendez, councilman at-large, asked whether the residents in the pilot zone will be charged fees to obtain the placard or sticker.
“That has not been determined. There may be no costs,” responded law director Dominick Stampone.
Stampone said there’s no interest in turning this into a revenue generator for the city. He said there may be cost associated with it in the future.
Morris pointed out that printing the permits for residents has a cost. There’s also likely going be administrative costs the city incurs by designating an employee to handle the permits and keep track of them, said Stampone.
The ordinance does not mention any fees for residents to obtain the permit. There will not be any fees for the pilot program, said Morris in previous interviews.
A public hearing and a final vote on the ordinance is scheduled for Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 at 7 p.m.