What Should Be Done with Moorestown's Parking Meters?
As part of an ongoing effort to improve the downtown, township officials are weighing their options.
Two months after a plan was presented to make over downtown Moorestown’s parking profile, township officials are now weighing what to do with the parking meters on and around Main Street.
At a recent Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) meeting, members of the committee briefly batted around ideas, ranging from adding more meters and/or kiosks—such as in the lots behind Main Street—to removing them altogether.
Deputy Mayor Greg Gallo, who sits on EDAC, said the meters became a topic of interest following the parking study presentation in May.
“Are they well-maintained? Is enforcement consistent?” he said. “I wanted to talk about it as a revenue source.”
Sgt. Randy Pugh, traffic safety officer with the Moorestown Police, acknowledged maintenance and enforcement have been less rigorous since meter officer Sylvia Davis retired a few years ago.
Davis held the job for many years and was out on the beat on a daily basis, Pugh said.
Though the police department and public works have done their best to stay on top of enforcement and replacement of busted meters, “the level of support for the meters has not been as great,” Pugh said. “The complaints about meters being out-of-service has increased.”
According to township financial officer Tom Merchel, the amount of money brought in by the meters—106 in all, including Main Street and parts of Chester Avenue and Church Street—has dipped in recent years.
In 2008, the township collected $29,461 from the meters (not including ticketing). In 2009, that dropped to $26,869, and again in 2010 to just $21,001. Last year, the township took in $22,511.
The police department recently brought on four new part-time officers who, as part of their duties, will stay on top of enforcement, collection and repairs, Pugh said.
Pugh prepared an extensive parking study on his own—separate from the one commissioned by EDAC and presented by Taylor Design in May—that addresses, among other matters, the parking meters downtown. The sergeant declined to divulge the details of the study, as he just recently submitted the report to Police Director Harry Johnson.
“It does cover the pluses and minuses of keeping the meters, as well as parking kiosks, the history of parking meters in Moorestown,” Pugh said. “I hope what I’ve done complements (the other parking study).”
Gallo said discussions are very preliminary and didn’t advocate a particular plan of action. But the deputy mayor indicated he supports keeping the meters versus removing them.
If the meters were taken out, or not properly maintained, “you just have people park their car there all day long,” he said. “There’s really no advantage to the businesses or the flow of traffic if basically they become permanent parking spaces for people.”
What do you think? Should the township keep the meters, add more, or do away with them altogether? Vote in our poll and tell us in the comments below.