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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.

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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