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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 , 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 , 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 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.

SteveS July 16, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Lose the meters. They don't cover the cost of enforcement. Even if you pay minimum wage, you still have to offer benefits and pay workman's comp insurance so it may be a wash. Make it easier and more inviting for people to come to Main Street not harder. Why chance a parking ticket to shop in town when you can park at a mall for free?
snake eyes July 16, 2012 at 02:17 PM
They got rid of our esteemed "Meter Maid" a few years ago, apparent budget cruncher. Another standard that our town had for years. The only good thing that came out of it is that we can stop for a quick cup of Joe at Starbucks or munchie at the pie lady in the morning without really being concerned of a ticket. Keep and maintain the meters. Otherwise, anyone will park there for a long duration, like our realtors and attorneys. Other suggestions?
Ed Nice July 16, 2012 at 02:31 PM
SteveS is that the official position of the mrmc, rep candidates or yours? Im not following how getting rid of meters make it more inviting if cars can just park all day in the same spot. I thought townie put up a good idea
SteveS July 16, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Hi Ed, I hope your business is picking up. Anything I post on here is my opinion. If I take a position on here for others, I will make sure it is clear that I am doing so but don't count on that happening. In the meanwhile Ed, stay busy and be well.
Alex July 16, 2012 at 02:52 PM
I vote to leave the meters. They have a button on them so that you can get about 10 minutes free parking for the quick errand. I would not put someone in charge whose main objective is to make a percentage. They would just spend their day ticketing and that wouldn't be good for the businesses. Parking lots need some attention to make parking easier and safer. But the town should NOT have to pay toward that. That is the responsibility of the landlords/business owners (except for the town owned lot).
Ed Nice July 16, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Steve as you know with people struggling under the burden of tax increases and lower home values business all around is tough. Maybe you will answer how your idea works. If we let people will park all day for free how does that help local businesses instead of fixing and enforcing the meters.
snake eyes July 16, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Ok, I see mr nice and Alex are with me. Thanks guys. The meters are a deterrent for those having long parking stays. And Alex, I agree if anyone is paying for that grand plan for a parking lot behind main and second, only the owners of the stores and residencies should pay for that not the township. Only the "Peter pan" lot should the township revamp. If all the business and residents of that lot behind main st want that "grand plan" of a parking lot they should put their money towards it, not the taxpayers.
Alex July 16, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Taxpayers should not have to pay for a business liaison or down town concierge either.
Ed Nice July 16, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Is that like only those who want a new town mahal or library should pay for that too? You do know that in 2010 Jordan/Chiacco ran on hiring a business coordinator and doing the parking plan right? Have they flipflopped?
snake eyes July 16, 2012 at 04:23 PM
We do know mr nice that they aren't running fr relection this year and frankly the GOP candidates seem our only bet this year. It would be nice to see them speak and take questions.
Ed Nice July 16, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Dont you think we should find out why they havent done what they ran on since they will still be on the board? I agree the Rep (and other) candidates should answer questions because the website claims they will build town hall and lower taxes but we are not fooled because we know its not possible.
Observer July 16, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Not sure if Mr Nice is referring to GBT or JC. But have GBT done anything they ran on doing?
tic tac toe July 16, 2012 at 06:49 PM
snakes, i agree it appears that the republican candidates are the only ones "making any noise". Where are and what are the Independent candidates doing? The dems are in hiding?
tic tac toe July 16, 2012 at 06:53 PM
ed n, what candidate have you ever voted for where you completely 100% agree with everything they "stood for" ?
Ed Nice July 16, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Hey ticky tacky I prefer to vote for people who stand for something and then do what they said they would. I can post all the JC unfilled campaign promises if you need to be reminded. BGT said they would lower the budget and 4 years later it is lower and the budgets have all passed 5-0! If thats all they could get done while people are hurting and taxes are a burden than so be it. Would you like to see them tax and spend for the town mahal? I didn't think DHReps support borrow, tax and spend. LOL!!
Observer July 16, 2012 at 09:28 PM
EN I don't think that I am ever as happy with politicians as you seem to be with your team. GBT made lots of promises like fixing town hall, lowering taxes and fixing the boondoggle of traffic we have through downtown. I am not sure why they could not get to the issue of traffic. But they do seem to have their own agenda.
Frank Cook July 17, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Stop the BS kat fighting and come up with some solutions.Ed, and the rest of you all have alot to say, put up or shut up!!! Run for a position of leadership in town or shut your mouths and keep all of your opinions to your self..
Observer July 17, 2012 at 12:34 AM
FC for mayor!
Townie July 17, 2012 at 10:59 AM
Sorry Frank....I didn't catch your solution? That noise is why people come here, and why they eventually scare off the majority and it becomes a chat room for the extremists. I think the idea of Patch is a good one, but the talent required to manage micro sites effectively is too expensive for the business model.
Ginger Hayes July 17, 2012 at 01:18 PM
It's the anonymous bullying that ruins a civil discussion. There are some great ideas here if you can pick through the snark. We must have meters to avoid parking for too long but at the same time over "policing" in the name of revenue will piss people off & they won't come. If we work with the store to use all of their properties for parking EVERYONE benefits. People think about going to Haddonfield because parking is often very difficult. The stores on Main St suffer when OLGC parks for mass and school pick up. Not complaining. Just stating. Let's face it. Marketing/sales/retail is a psychological game. The more spots we make a available on Main St with relatively quick turnaround, the more people will be inclined to stop. Very often we say "if there is a spot, let's get pretzels." And if there is not, we don't. Lazy. Maybe. But I know we are not alone.
The Situation July 17, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Thank You Frank Cook! Same drivel on here from the same drivelers...Nothing they're not experts on.
Ginger Hayes July 17, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Hey situation... When you gonna come out of the closet?
HomeBrew July 17, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Meters aside, I like the idea of an uptown parking revamp and Taylor Design's plan. But pretty sure the township can's afford it now. Here's a thought for uptown revitalization: Suppose we followed through on a full-blown plan for unified off-street parking between Church and Chester. And suppose we also changed zoning on Second St. so that buildings on side facing Main (and the parking area) could covert to commercial uses, with entrances facing the new parking area. Add some amenities for pedestrians and the "parking lot" becomes an attractive public space and open-air mall. I know it's radical and not sure it would work. But only radical change is going to resurrect uptown and Main Street.
Ed Nice July 17, 2012 at 02:07 PM
HB good to see you agree we can't afford expensive new projects right now. Does that include the town mahal? I will agree the parking plan is a good one.
SteveS July 17, 2012 at 04:26 PM
I didn't realize all day parking was a problem. I have a hard time believing good business operators would take the best parking and leave their customers to fend for themselves. Not a very good way to do business whether a store owner or a realtor. But if in fact you are correct change the parking to 2 hour limits free. Have the police enforce it during their rounds.
Ginger Hayes July 17, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Homebrew... Good idea. I have zero knowledge of feasibility but you made sense to me.
Unknown July 18, 2012 at 01:17 AM
That parking plan Chester to mill behind main st is a money pit. That plannwould cost millions. Something that doesn't "have to be done". This fantasy of kicking out homeowners on second st and placing "business owners" there is wild. Sounds like a huge case of eminent domain. There is no urgency or huge demand for a huge blacktop. Some actions such as what the street of shoppes have done to open that lot and produce more parking is a start. A large interconnected lot isn't necessary. The taxpayers don't need to pay for that.
Frank Cook July 18, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Since there needs to be on an off street parking in the business district of town, there should be some revenue generated for the town. In as much, part of the fees collected could be used to offset the cost for small beautification projects and unique attractions specific to moorestown that would draw more patrons to main street. Anything that brings positive boost to the moorestown economy and doesn't negatively impact the residents is a good thing. The only complaint I have is when the township knew that Mrs Davis was retiring, they should have made preparations by hiring and training her replcement at the same salary. That way there would have been no negative impact on the budget it would have been an even wash.
Townie July 18, 2012 at 10:55 AM
Frank, I'm not sure...are you suggesting that town should make the improvements and then put meters in the re-build parking areas? I don't think you can afford the renovations, and if you completed them I don't feel people would pay to park in the back. I think many of the businesses would suffer with a pay to park in the back plan. I do think paying to park on Main is something people will continue to do. When you say Mrs Davis, I assume you mean Sylvia Davis who retired in May of 2008. If that's her, the final salary 4+ years ago was $46,844. Add some benefits and a pension to that, and it's at least $60k a year now. I think my suggestion above is viable without adding an employee (and their entitlements), but then you have to weigh the cost/benefit to the town and the businesses. If driving people into Main street businesses is the goal, short term parking on Main (meters and/or enforced free periods) and free parking off street is the best answer (IMO). Sadly, I think we're in a room where we either can't afford or can't risk opening the doors. Status quo may be the best way forward, with limited maintenance and occasional enforcement by the MPD.
Harry Koons July 18, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Harry - I moved into town in 1954 and have seen a lot of changes. If my memory is any good, they had cars parking perpendicular to the curb. I'm involved with the MBA and we soend a lot of time, effort and money to bring people to town with our six events and then we charge them to park. The Community House doesn't have any meters in front and you can usually find a place to park there.There aren't very many times when you move down Man St and can't find a place to park. May not be in front of the place where you want to go, but walking is good for you. There should be about 500 parking spaces behind the businesses between Mill nad Chester which would allow people to walk from one business to another without having to get in their car, drive out onto Main St and find another space. Let's put our support behind this proposal and fix up the other lot behind Peter Pan. and enjoy shopping in town.

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