By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
LONGPORT – The borough’s half-block long business district is undergoing changes to its parking configuration following a road reconstruction project.
The Board of Commissioners Oct. 18 introduced changes to its parking ordinance setting the times and locations for angled parking on Atlantic Avenue between 24th and 25th avenues.
Reconstruction of the roadway last spring changed the angled parking spaces in front of the borough’s three commercial businesses to parallel parking spaces. To make up for a loss of four parking spaces on the bayside of Atlantic Avenue, the borough instituted angled parking for four vehicles across the street on the ocean side of Atlantic Avenue. The ordinance also establishes a one-hour parking limit for the angled spaces from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Engineer Ed Dennis Jr. said back-in parking for angled spaces is a trend being promoted by the NJ DOT as a safer configuration for pedestrians and bicyclists riding in the bicycle lane.
“When people are pulling out of spaces there is clear visibility for people coming down the bike lane and can see bikes when backing into the space with their side view mirror,” he said.
Other benefits include convenience when loading or unloading trunks facing the sidewalk. It is also suggested that children would likely not run into the street when exiting a parked vehicle, he said.
Dennis said the borough would stripe the road for back-in parking on a trial basis to see how it works out.
“If it doesn’t work for us, we can re-stripe it for pull-in parking,” he said.
Signage will be installed to notify motorists they must back into the space.
“There’s a public education component to this and learning curve,” he said. “It’s basically the same process as parallel parking only you don’t straighten out.”
Commissioner Jim Leeds said he believes it will offer additional safety for bikers, walkers and runners, some of whom push baby carriages, while Commissioner Dan Lawler said he is not comfortable with the configuration and believes that it will be confusing for motorists and result in more U-turns on the avenue.
A public hearing on the ordinance will be held 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17 at Borough Hall.
In another parking related matter, the commissioners held a public hearing and adopted an ordinance creating two restricted parking spaces at the rear of Borough Hall for users of a newly installed EV charging station. Vehicles, except those undergoing an electric charge, are prohibited from parking in the two spots reserved for EVs. Police will tow vehicles who park illegally, and violators can be fined $20-$50 for each violation.
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