A makeover of downtown Moorestown’s parking profile would provide numerous benefits to the business community, as well as Main Street shoppers, according to a study prepared by Taylor Design Group.
Scott Taylor, vice president of the planning and landscape architecture firm, presented an outline of the plan to township council Monday. The plan was broken into two parts: the Second Street lot behind and , and the collection of lots behind the Main Street storefronts from Chester Avenue to Mill Street.
Taylor ticked off a litany of proposed improvements to the Second Street lot, including:
- Reducing the number of entrance and exit points to increase pedestrian and traffic safety
- The addition of more “green space”
- Improved stormwater control
- Expansion of the number of parking spaces from 167 to 209
He also went over some of his suggestions for the enhancement of the lots from Chester to Mill, including:
- The addition of “decorative period lighting”
- Installation of enclosures for recycling and trash bins to make the area more aesthetically pleasing
- Creating space for the potential future installation of electronic vehicle (EV) charging stations
- Expansion of the number of spaces from 395 to 506
Taylor also described a strategy for connecting the lots behind Main Street to improve the flow of traffic and make the parking situation more conducive for shoppers.
He said among the many components needed for a downtown to be successful is “ample parking that is perceived as convenient and safe.” Unfortunately, at the moment, Moorestown’s downtown parking situation “can be confusing and dangerous.”
Of course, for any of these plans to succeed—with the exception of the Second Street lot, which is township-owned—the township needs the cooperation of the property owners. But Taylor stressed the plan is intended to be a voluntary program, a “strictly public-private partnership.” There’s no recommendation of eminent domain, condemnation, or designation of the lots as a “redevelopment area.”
Instead, he said, the township would seek voluntary right-of-way easements with the property owners. In exchange for their cooperation, the township would ease up on certain zoning restrictions—e.g. parking requirements—that could induce business expansion.
“We tried to make the plan as flexible as possible so people can be left out if they don’t want to be a part of it,” Taylor explained. “No parcels are more critical than others, and this plan can be achieved even if some landowners choose not to participate.”
Taylor pegged the price of the projects at $1.6 million for the Second Street lot and $4.2 million for the Chester to Mill lots and proposed a combination of grants and low-interest loans to fund them.
The plan is, of course, a “multi-step, multi-year process,” he acknowledged.
Mayor John Button—after indicating the township, with so many other large projects on its plate, is nowhere near getting underway on the parking plan—said, “It starts to crystallize things we could do in the future.”
To view Taylor Design Group’s full parking study, visit the Economic Development Advisory Committee page on the township website.