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Parking Improvement Plan Could be Cure for What Ails Downtown

Taylor Design Group presented plans Monday for a $5.8 million improvement project for parking in downtown Moorestown.

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.

MJ KLEIN May 16, 2012 at 11:54 AM
ALTHOUGH PARKING IMPROVEMENTS ARE CERTAINLY A STEP IN THE REVITALIZATION PROCESS FOR THE DOWNTOWN, FIRST AND FOREMOST, THE COOPERATION OF THE PROPERTY OWNERS IN THE FORM OF REASONABLE RENTS NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED
Re May 16, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Parking lots is not a priority like the town hall library complex is. Stop getting sideswiped with other projects.
Nook May 16, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Is a town hall building more useful to residents than parking that supports businesses? It would appear your priorities are out of order.
Tom May 16, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Rents are what they are to cover expenses one of them being high taxes. If taxes keep rising as I keep reading about, I have to increase rent not lower it. Why is everyone looking for a handout?
Mark Schneider May 16, 2012 at 12:57 PM
What are our priorities? At one point in time this was a Quaker based town, they used the word "Peace" alot and they are focused on making wise decisions that make financial sense. Priorities, we like our Main Street yet we buy stuff and spend more time outside of town. The library is nice but.... with the age of technology and the cost/square foot to store things, well I am not convinced it shouldn't be downsized...heck I would rather see people go to the Burlington County Library verses having a downtown in deteriation. And town hall is an op center... just maybe the op center's that are working right now seem to be doing a good job. Heck, the nice stuff about the op center now is it is flexiable and can be redesigned and grow to maximise effectiencies. It this still a quaker town? By the way, this parking lot project started back in the mid-70's.... so talk about a project that has been tabled. Just think, if we had done it back then maybe there wouldn't be so many strip malls around the outside of Moorestown.,
plebz May 16, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Very nice. Good ideas for keepin' it green. Just have to make sure those light fixtures are not like the ones on Main street. They would need provide light and be able to support...something.
Frank Gilanelli May 16, 2012 at 05:06 PM
After living in Moorestown for more than 30 years, I thought I had seen just about all the asinine ideas this community could come with. Once again I'm sadly disappointed because I just read about another one......a $5.8 million parking lot project. This genius idea will increase business on Main Street while attracting new stores. So basically it's like Field of Dreams; if you build it they will come. Are you kidding me? Here's a suggestion: Let's take that money and build a bonfire in the middle of Main Street because that's about the level of ROI the parking lot will provide. Come on people, is there anyone left in Moorestown with common sense who would like to be Mayor, or a member of Town Council? And to the Democrats and Republicans, please don't ;point fingers at each other. This has nothing do to with party politics and everything to do with what's good for the tax payers in this community.
Kitchen Table May 16, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Couldn't agree more Tom. Do we have to say that again about the high rents? It just may be time to have someone run for "The Rent is Too Damn High Party". For the upcoming elections? High rent is rampant!
No New Taxes 2012 May 16, 2012 at 05:29 PM
We are getting more of the same bad leadership, bad fiscal advise from Jake & Company. We need to KICK BUTT. What a waste of taxpayer money. Another dumb study costing us lots of money. The old Town shopping center model is a dead, a dead business model. Same for the town hall fiasco presented by both Democrats and Republicans. So, who ordered destroying our Town Hall? These Urban planning designs started in earl 1970's when Federal Government was giving out " free money " for new sidewalks, new everything ". Go back and look at these " free money projects today " and what you will see is decay, empty storefronts, and a waste of taxpayer money. In November - remember who is wasting our hard earned taxpayer money, and " Kick BUTT ", givem the pink slip. By the way, WHY does Mr. Carfew still bring us budgets which raise taxes? Is he programed correctly? Next time Mr. Carfew sends us a budget with tax increases, give him his pink slip, simply let him go for not doing his job properly. Enough. Glad to see The Library parking lots cleaned up the other day. I wonder why it was done in the rain? Make you wonder?
Townie May 16, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Hey...it's only $38k per additional space. Put another way, it's $280 per person (based on the 20,726 in the 2010 census). My family of 4 would gladly fork over $1,100 for some shiny new parking spaces.
Ed Nice May 16, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Hey NNT I guess we agree that town hall and the library should by put on hold until we have the money since no one can explain to me how they won't mean new taxes burdening us all. Can anyone prove me wrong?
Terry May 16, 2012 at 09:12 PM
After having done some research, I found the basic EDAC team (Jake and Co as referred to above)have been employed for quite awhile. What, if anything, have they accomplished?
Ed Nice May 16, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Terry are you directing an insult to EDAC? I'm pretty sure they are a group of taxpayers and volunteers that are trying to help town by making recommendations that councils need to vote on. Weren't they able to get liquor passed? I was able to look up on google and found Jordan/ciacco's 2010 website says they support EDAC. Stacey and Chris agree with the Economic Development Advisory Committee’s proposal of overhauling the parking areas behind main street. As proposed, it will add parking for Main Street, in a park like setting with walking paths and pocket parks. This will serve both the residents and the businesses in our town center. We support this project and will work to see it through. Are they gonna see it through or make up excuses???
Kitchen Table May 17, 2012 at 12:00 AM
As the man said the rent is too damn high. This parking lot plan has been an ongoing discussion for 20 years or so and seems to be a distraction now to the real needs of the town. Get a table, Stick to one issue, and come up with a plan.
Terry May 17, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Wasn't it PREIT that got liquor passed? That is what all of town was told. And not sure why you bring up Jordan and Chiaco? EDAC as a committee has been active for over a decade with the same leadership. What have they got to show for it but this over priced parking plan. Ed, of all people I thought you would be against that tax and spend plan.
arturo hahn May 17, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Call it what it is: a way to bring more $ to Rodeo Drive - sorry- downtown Moorestown. How many comparisons to Collingswood and Haddonfield have there been in recent years? A survey conducted a few years ago asking residents what they'd like to see on Rodeo Drive resulted in how many places to eat? A "master of the obvious" reason for our lagging local economy isn't parking lots, people. I'd wager that many have figured out that you don't have to pay $15 a pound for great steak, or you can buy the same running shoes for $40 less at Modell's, and the savings on toys and games at Walmart makes the trip feasible. Let's get our heads out of the 2005 curse: if it's competitively priced, they will come...

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