Officials pleased with opening of new deck

Parking permits given out to those on waiting list


The new Transportation and Commerce Center (TCC) has had minimal problems since opening earlier this month, East Brunswick officials said.

Mayor William Neary said he knew of only a couple of issues with the new township operated parking deck at Route 18 and Tices Lane. The $32 million, seven-story facility has 1,681 parking spaces, about 550 more than the old TCC commuter parking lot.

In its opening weeks, there was a bathroom issue that needed to be resolved, and a problem with a drain, and some improved signage is also in the works, according to Councilman David Stahl.

The parking deck opened at the same time that commuter parking was banned outside the Pathmark store on Route 18. More than 100 commuters had used that lot, free of charge, to pick up NJ Transit buses at a nearby stop. While Pathmark’s ban brought an increase in use of the TCC, Stahl said he also thinks commuters are parking in the lots of other businesses. Stahl, who has a law office on Route 18, said he has noticed an increase in parking at privately owned lots near Pathmark. He did not know of any actions those businesses were taking to prevent commuters from parking there, however.

Stahl also said there have been reports from nearby residents that commuters are parking on residential streets. But commuters have also increased their use of the TCC. The township has long kept a waiting list of people seeking such parking, and all of them have now been offered monthly permits.

Many of those on the waiting list had been buying daily passes, so the new permit spots will save them money.

Most of the parking at the new deck is for permit holders, while about 400 are daily spots. Permit parking, at $25 per month for residents and $55 for nonresidents, is on levels one through five, while levels six and seven have daily parking for $4.

Stahl said not everyone on the waiting list decided to buy a permit, though all were offered one.

“Those who wanted them got them,” he said.

According to Township Finance Director L. Mason Neely, who heads the town’s parking utility, the parking deck is already in full use and all available permits have been issued.

The parking rates are higher than at the old TCC lot, and are now equal to those at the town’s other parking deck, Neilson Plaza. Officials felt that since the services and amenities at the two facilities are now comparable, the rates should be the same.

Councilwoman Nancy Pinkin said she is surprised at how full the facility is, so soon after its opening. She said the usage tells her there is a need for the parking and for public transportation. She attributed that to gas prices and commute times.

She said this area of Middlesex County does not have a “mature” public transportation system, so the parking deck was really needed.

Neary lauded the new deck, which has four bus-loading ramps, two ticket offices, two ticket machines and a township parking office.

“I think it’s wonderful; I think it’s going great,” Neary said.