Boro Council addresses several parking concerns Ordinance creates 1-hour parking on west side of Buckelew Avenue

Boro Council addresses several parking concerns
Ordinance creates
1-hour parking on west side of Buckelew Avenue

By Nicole C. Vaccaro

Staff Writer

VVisitors to the Jamesburg Borough Hall will soon have ample space to park, Buckelew Avenue may see one-hour parking signs posted on its west side, and Elliot Place may become off limits to parkgoers looking for a shortcut to the tennis courts.

All three parking issues were brought up for discussion at the June 28 Borough Council meeting, and the first two were unanimously approved as ordinances.

According to ordinance number 16-00, borough officials will enter into an agreement with Middlesex County that will allow them to use additional land surrounding the new municipal building for visitor and staff parking.

The new municipal building is adjacent to Thompson Park, which is owned by the county.

"This is something we need very badly," Mayor Joseph Dipierro said. "Without it, there is just not enough room to accommodate everyone, especially with people trying to park close to the baseball field as well."

Dipierro did say that the additional spaces will serve ball field guests as well; therefore, parking will be on a first-come basis.

The council also unanimously approved the institution of one-hour parking signs along the west side of Buckelew Avenue from John Street to Lake Street.

"This ordinance was created at the request of some store owners who have been around for as long as I can remember," explained council President Tony Lamantia.

"They recently approached the mayor and police chief asking them to look into improving the parking situation over there," he said. "Taking a lesson from the parking design in place along East Railroad Avenue, Police Chief (David) Lester proposed instituting a similar set-up on Buckelew, which at first appeared to be an ideal solution."

While the council members fully supported the idea, after the vote some Buckelew Avenue residents expressed concerns they’d like to see addressed before the ordinance takes effect.

A resident of 191 Buckelew Ave. voiced his hesitancy to the board’s proposal, saying, "It’s a bit drastic to limit parking because of only two businesses that do not have off-street parking. All that will do is increase the number of cars parked on the east side of the street."

Another concern was whether the ordinance will be in effect 24 hours a day, seven days a week

"There are valid arguments and they will be investigated," Councilman Otto Kostbar said. "However, the ordinance was technically voted on and passed earlier this evening with no public comments made at that time to the contrary.

"Had these matters been addressed then, the vote would have been tabled," he added.

Residents in opposition to the ordinance claimed that they arrived late because of the short notice of its second reading.

The council, however, maintained that the agenda was clearly posted in both Borough Hall and the newspaper, as was customary, and in a timely fashion.

"We can assure you that this was not a surprise vote," Dipierro said.

"Being this was already voted on, what we can do is meet you half-way," Kostbar added. "We’ll take your concerns into account and make amendments to the law if deemed necessary."

The governing body also advised residents that the ordinance still needs to go before the state Department of Transportation (DOT) for final approval before it takes effect.

Furthermore, any amendments would be made before sending the final ordinance to the DOT.

The council also addressed parking complaints on Elliot Place.

According to Lamantia, "Residents attended the June 12 meeting to complain about cars parking on the edge of the road, near the asphalt entrance to Thompson Park, in order to take a shortcut to the tennis courts.

"They claimed this makes it difficult, at times, for them to get in and out of there, especially because it’s a dead-end street," he said.

Lamantia proposed that the council work together with the police department to find a suitable solution.

"We’re dealing with a public road here," Dipierro said. "Introducing an ordinance may be the only way [to do something] and I’d like to avoid that if possible."

Lamantia suggested the posting of "resident only parking" signs along the road for its three homeowners, but the mayor said it would be difficult to do something like that arbitrarily.

"If we give this group of residents signs, that would open us up to having to fill similar requests all over town," he added. "This obviously needs to be discussed at greater length so as to make things easier for everyone."

Lamantia said he will be meeting with the police chief regarding both the Buckelew Avenue and Elliot Place matters sometime next week.

"We’re going to work this out," he said. "And the quicker, the better."