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Posts Tagged ‘Parking problems in Ocean Grove’

Mary’s Place did not have to provide parking. The BPA did not mention zoning and RSIS issues, so they need to consider the condoization of the Grove, the North End, and other related topics.

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

I don’t know of any prior poll in the Grove that had this many participants.  Blogfinger surveys have rarely reached 300.  Of course, the methodology of the BPA survey leaves open the possibility of some fraud, but probably not much.  Many years ago there was a referendum asking if OG could leave Neptune and form its own town, and that probably got a bigger turnout, but the Grovers lost that battle.   We placed the link to the BPA survey in yesterdays post  (scroll down to that post) and we generalized the conclusions.  Congratulations to BPA on completing a survey with such a high percent of citizens participating.

We know that the survey produced some interesting data, but as far as doing anything about our parking distress, the ball was not yet moved up the field—this is a first step.

But that survey report does contain some interesting information which is not exactly data, but is opinion, and we should look closely at that.  After years of smoke screens emanating from developers, Chamber, HOA, and Neptuners that sit high above us in their meeting room, let’s hope the BPA stays transparent and keeps us well informed about their activities.

The quotes below are from the BPA documents so far:

a.    Mr. Andrew Levine, President of the BPA, hopes to obtain a “pilot program implemented in time for next summer.”  But who will design such a program, and will the self-interested players in town go for it, including the CMA which threatened to sue the town over merely mentioning permit parking and the Committee which has been dancing around this subject for years?

b.  “There has been a rise in incivility which can negatively affect resident and visitor perceptions of OG as a place where all are welcome.”

Where is the data to support this statement, and how important is this factor?

c.   BPA mentions the “removal of ‘warehoused’ vehicles after 30 days. ”   But they evidently did not discuss this with the Neptune PD Traffic Department  (we have)  because that new ordinance is impossible to enforce, so forget about it.

d. “Periodic conversations with, and actions of, CMA leadership on the issue.”  Really?   What are these conversations about?   As it is, the CMA rarely shares what’s on its mind, and that makes it hard to understand them, so let’s hear about those “conversations.”

e.    “Addition of 18 new parking spaces on Central Avenue. ” But they might have also mentioned that those are diagonal spaces, as are the new ones on Main Avenue.  If the BPA plans to suggest more unsafe diagonal spaces, they might consider letting the public know.

The BPA needs to change the subject, getting away from more spaces and getting into the supply side:  numbers of tourists, numbers of cars,  and numbers of big events.   They should exercise their “independence”  by demanding that our residential community get top priority on parking.

f. “Ocean Grove is significantly denser in housing units than surrounding towns. Ocean Grove is only .372 square miles of land.”   This, they say, “creates an especially volatile situation.”   What is meant by “volatile” ?

This topic of density goes to the obvious idea that we need a larger number of reserved spaces for residents per square mile, compared to other towns.   What is wrong with asserting that the residents should get top priority in dealing with the ugly parking wars in town?   The Mayor of Belmar said that for his town.

g.  58%  of responders identified as year-round residents spending more than 6 months in town.  That seems surprising and further identifies this town as being a small residential community which should be treated as such, as opposed to a venue for interminable tourist events.

h.  “77% said that parking is a seasonal problem (summer only”)   This stat raises the question of the sanity of those who participated in this survey.   Our parking problems occur from May through October.  We don’t need frequent parking problems to say that a month should be included in the count.

Today, Saturday October 26, there was a Halloween festival in Firemens Park, and that whole part of town was clogged with cars.  And, Asbury Park Saturdays always stress parking here at least during the 6 months mentioned.   It only takes one crowded Saturday in a month to critically upset the life styles of residents.  OK, November through April could be excluded as problem months.

Parking glut around Firemens Park Saturday 10/26/19 Blogfinger photo.

 

Crowded Halloween event on 10/26/19 Blogfinger photo. It doesn’t feel like the “off-season.”

i.  “69% of respondents believe residents should receive resident parking permits.”  OK, sanity prevails.

j. 98% of respondents gave their names.  I wish more would do the same  when commenting on BF, but we will continue to accept anonymous inputs.

So, the BPA has done a great service by giving us information worth discussing in the future.  They have revealed how complicated this problem is, and good luck to them in pursuing answers. It is reassuring that quite a few Grovers offered to lend a hand in the process.

 

DAVID TOMLINSON  From Mary Poppins:

 

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The siren call of the Asburian night life.. Paul Goldfinger photo of the AP skyline across Wesley Lake. ©

By Eileen and Paul Goldfinger, Editors at Blogfinger.net

Scene:  It is a stifling peak-season sunny July Saturday afternoon. The Grove is crowded and there is nary a parking space except for one across from where we are standing.

Eileen and I are gardening on the Delaware Ave. side of our house.  A car pulls into that sole remaining space, and a young man emerges. He looks around and then walks over to us.

He:  Can I park here?

We: Yes, but be sure you are close to the curb.

He:  Checking his tires. “I work at the Brick Wall in Asbury, and someone told me that I can park in Ocean Grove for free.”

We: It’s not only the workers who park here, but your customers as well, and we’re not happy with the idea.

He:  Oh….I’m sorry.

We: No need to apologize.  It is legal for you to park here.

He:  I’ve been paying over $100.00 week to park for work.

We: Wow.  (We felt bad for him….he obviously is a “working stiff.”)

He:  Well, thank you.

We:  It’s OK.   Bye.

He:   Smiles and heads towards the New Jersey Avenue Bridge across Wesley Lake to A. Park.

 

We:  We agree that A. Park is exploiting their workers by neither providing parking or paying for parking.  $100.00 is a lot for this worker. We should feel compassion for these young people, but this is Asbury’s problem to solve, and it is a reasonable concern for Grovers.

The AP City Council refused a plea from Neptune to help us with this parking situation which is their fault, and now they demand that we open our  bridge-gates.

That is Chutzpah!

 

BILLY ECKSTINE:

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Mary's Place. Artists rendering. Internet photo.

Mary’s Place. Artists rendering. Internet photo.

To the Editor:

As they used to say in Star Trek:  “Space— the final frontier” But here in Ocean Grove it is parking spaces—-the final frontier :

In Ocean Grove it always comes down to parking and land usage and abuses. On our block on Main and Beach, The Henry Richard Inn is now being remodeled and converted into a single family home. Along Main Avenue, Mary’s place is now chock-full of volunteers’ cars and resident cars.

Yes, even after Labor Day, we can look west down the block and see no spots available on the south side of the street and some have even migrated onto Beach Avenue, making it a bit more challenging for the folks on Beach to find spaces in front of their own condo. So, while we have lost the Henry Richard’s parking challenges in the summer, we are now looking at folks finding spaces when we ordinarily could park without a single thought after Labor Day.

If we add to this the family on Main next to the old Henry Richard, we are now getting one or two of their fleet of cars now parking on Beach to add to our agita. Of course, that is the family and house that at time commandeers more than five or six spots on the south side of Main. The ritual of pulling out cars and replacing the space with motor bikes and schoolers is most entertaining on a summer’s day.

Ocean Grove has always been described as a “quirky” place. The owners of Mary’s Place along Main on the south side I do not think ever contacted or considered their new neighbors to be; instead, we saw the full use of those two building lots right to the very edge of the property lines.

It’s a done deal for a good cause, but those who objected to the aggressive use of that property were characterized as heartless and uncaring, and so it goes in Ocean Grove. Neighbors were worried about trucks, but what has happened is that parking in the usual Ocean Grove way has become a real issue for many.

All this, while there are spots galore on the north side in front of the convent and across the street in front of the Majestic, After all it is autumn in Ocean Grove and the streets are emptier as usual, but somehow, the big house that is Mary’s Place continues to add to our parking woes.

When will we get “residential” parking permits for people who pay taxes in Neptune and who pay the outrageous ground rents to a non-profit authority?

JESSE

Ocean Grove, N.J. Sept. 26, 2016.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:    Below is a quote  from our article about Mary’s Place dated September 19, 2014:

“When people walk by Mary’s Place, they won’t admire its beauty; instead they will ask, “Who was responsible for allowing this out-of-place building to be constructed in this quaint, historic, residential town? ” They will ask why two fine Victorian single family houses were not placed there instead, like we now have on the Pathway. And they will see the parking problems and congestion due to the 10 clients staying there, the staff who will be needed to maintain the place, the visitors, and the rest of the support team who teach yoga, etc. Then there will be the deliveries, laundry trucks, garbage pickups, etc.”

And yes, we did get hate mail  over our opposition to the Mary’s Place zoning decisions.  But we also received support from commenters to that editorial.

Here is a link to that 2014 piece:

https://blogfinger.net/2014/09/19/marys-controversy-whats-next/

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Which way are we heading in Ocean Grove. Dec. 2003. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Which way are we heading in Ocean Grove? Dec. 2003. Paul Goldfinger photo ©  Click to see better.

To the Editor:

The Township Committee established a, Parking Task Force in response to the O.G. Home Owner/ Condo Owner Assoc. suggestions on how to cure our parking problems.  The voting members of the task force will be the Stake Holders.

However, there are two sides to this Stake Holder coin, with each side of the coin having different aspirations of what the Task Force will recommend to the Committee.
On the head side of this coin is the Township and the OGCMA; with both having a financial stake in shoehorning more condo units into our small Historic District without parking,  where parking conditions were already bursting at the seams by the early 1980;s.

The Township, the OGCMA, and the OGHOA  do not want to solve our parking problems;  they just want to treat the symptoms.

On the tail side  of this coin are the rest of us, that just want to preserve Ocean Grove and have a place to park our cars, but we don’t get to vote.

I predict, when the task force flips this coin, it will always come up heads, on the side of making money—–over the historic preservation of our town.

A few months ago, at the public portion of a Committee Meeting, an attorney advised the Committee that “A historic district is a detriment to development.”

I can see where we are heading with all of this.

Jack Bredin

K.D. LANG with a Patsy Cline song:

 

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Sometimes it's hard to squeeze in.

Sometimes it’s hard to squeeze in.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

At the June 13, 2016  Township Committee meeting, there was this item in the minutes about a man who went to the microphone for his 5 minutes in front of the Town fourfathers and one mother:

“Ray DeFaria, 12 New York Avenue, applauded the Committee for their thoroughness in addressing some issues with the parking. He stated Ocean Grove’s history is a Christian retreat and people come from all over and it is buyer beware when you come in.

“He stated people come in to worship and it is a form of discrimination if you are going to charge people to come in to church. He stated the impact in Ocean Grove is minimal and the composite of Ocean Grove has changed and everyone has cars. He stated there should be planning when contemplating moving into Ocean Grove.”

Editor’s note:  It isn’t exactly clear as to what Ray is saying, but it does illustrate that his is one of a number of factions in town which have their own unique agendas regarding parking. That, of course, will complicate the work of the new Parking Task Force which has members from the CMA, the Police Dept, the Township Comedy, the Engineering Dept., the Chamber of Commercials, The Home Groaners Assoc., and the public at large  (no reference to the overweight.)

This past July 4 and during Bridgefest, we had a state of crowding where every available parking space in town seemed to be taken. Only someone leaving to go to the hospital with a cardiac arrest would have moved their car.  Prospective parkers were driving around aimlessly, wild-eyed, and with a high degree of frustration.

You may recall that last year, the mayor of Belmar had to close his town during a seafood festival because of traffic overload.  This is what he said, “They would have come into town driving their car with no place to park, no place really to drive and they probably would not have made either the beach or the seafood festival anyway,” he told NBC 4 New York. Sound familiar?

Well now we know that Ocean Grove sometimes reaches capacity, and it often comes close. And when that happens, the lives of those who live here are adversely affected.

So the current idea that we can solve the parking problems in Ocean Grove by appointing  a task force which will try to re-shuffle the deck in a variety of ways, will not work,  especially whenever the number of cars becomes nearly the same as  the number of spaces, and that is not unusual.  And even if there are enough spaces for each car wanting to park, the sheer aggravation and stress  of trying to find a space is toxic to the lifestyles of residents in the Grove.   And even if it is just on weekends from  May through October, that is a substantial per cent of the time when residents have to wrestle with parking issues.

This is what an OG nurse had to say yesterday: “When I work 14 hours I am not happy about leaving my car at the hospital and paying for a cab home, let alone watching my 91 year old neighbor who leaves to visit his wife at Manor by the Sea and ends up walking home with his walker. As a native born Grover, I don’t expect a space in front of my house, but the cars and occupancy now associated with summer rentals have gotten out of control.”

As much as I, a homeowner, want  a reserved space sticker, that plan will cause the number of spaces for those without stickers to decline.  If renters are given stickers, as some have suggested, that plan will be hopeless.   If we remove dumpsters and pods, it will create a trivial number of extra spaces.

And trying to reduce demand by closing the bridges to AP will not help; nor will parking meters.  Hiring a parking engineer won’t work because he has nothing to work with.

So, we have a fixed number of spaces, and according to the laws of physics,  two cars  cannot occupy the same space at the same time.  On top of that, Ocean Grove is becoming more popular each year, so the numbers of cars continue to rise, and unlike other popular Shore towns, we cannot seek refuge in our garages and driveways, so it is tougher here.

Therefore, given the conflicting factions and the near capacity parking availability,  the Task Force is essentially doomed in its mission except for some cosmetic changes,  and they might as well return to their usual state of denial regarding the real causes of the mess.

The inevitable conclusion is that we now need a new paradigm for the town of Ocean Grove.

The solution  is to recognize that we have reached a turning point in this town:  supersaturation —-more cars than spaces.  Even though that state doesn’t always exist, parking difficulties happen often enough to cause distress for residents and it is always hanging over our heads like a black cloud that comes and goes.  Something extraordinary needs to be done instead of the usual talk therapy:

Mayor McMillan should immediately declare that all future attempts to increase density will be  rejected out of hand, and that we will never allow another condominium  (such as #60 Main Avenue) or Mary’s-sort-of-Place to be built here without off-street parking, something which we can’t have, so just re-zone the entire town to single family Victorian houses, with no exceptions,  except for the North End which should be re-zoned for a public park.  Since the CMA has waited too long and dithered mindlessly for years, to the detriment of the town, now the zoning should say that they can only have  a park. Maybe Green Acres will pay for it.  It is the will of the people who pay the taxes and who live here.

Since we will not have any new parking spaces, count the number of current spaces in the Grove, post traffic directors at the two entrances, and only allow that number in, minus 300 for wiggle room, with residents and their friends having priority.  Make the rest wait in a line until a space opens up.  This will help the lifestyles of those who actually live in this town by creating some breathing room.      And we should give a discount on beach badges to anyone who walks or bikes into the Grove.

It won’t work?  OK, use the idea of supersaturation  (too many cars)  and come up with something else that recognizes the law of supply and demand and places the residents of the Grove at the top of the priority list.

If parking lots are offered at nearby schools on weekends and then tourists get bused  into town, each of those will pay for parking.  This will ease the car numbers to some extent.

And then we should allow only three mega-events per year because most of those smother and  devour the town—taking much without giving much back.   There would be one flea market and a craft market. The CMA has control over the number of mega-events on the Pathway.

The third mega-event which must be allowed  is the 4th of July parade.  That is the only huge event in OG which is for everyone—it brings happiness, laughter, entertainment, culture, knowledge, cheers for volunteers,  and a grand sense of community for all.  It is a gift which keeps on giving.   We will suffer with the parking for July 4, but buses and out of town parking must be provided.

All other mega-events should be disqualified for bringing nothing to town other than self interest and smothering crowds of cars and people.  The CMA’s large events like Bridgefest are special cases and must be considered separately.

And as for Ray DeFaria’s plea,  we all have our favorite causes, and if the Grove ever has pay-to- park, then it would be discriminatory to charge some but not charge others.

So we must, as stated before, ask the question, “Whom is the town for?”  Let the discussion begin.

BOBBY DARIN

“Somewhere beyond the sea
She’s there watching for me
If I could fly like birds on high
Then straight to her arms
I’d go sailing…..because I can’t give up my parking spot in Ocean Grove.”

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Ocean Grove 2011. Parking was being served up for discussion 5 years ago. This issue never goes away. Blogfinger photo.

Ocean Grove 2011. Parking was being served up for discussion 5 years ago. This issue never goes away. Blogfinger photo.

img814 (1)

A parking task force is being organized by Neptune Township.  It was announced at the last Neptune Committee meeting when the OGHOA plan was ignored, and the citizens weren’t able to speak. So when that happened, the HOA basically raised the white flag and said, “Yes, Sir!.”

Now the new task force will have representatives from the Committee, Chamber of Commerce, HOA, CMA, and residents.  We don’t know how the last category was chosen. The plan will be announced at the June 27  committee meeting.

But even though the HOA will be part of the new task force, they evidently are skeptical that anything definitive will come out of it, so they want to add a little persuasive citizen muscle to the situation by getting residents to sign a petition “demanding” that “concrete improvements to the parking situation” will be implemented before May, 2017.

They quote the Mayor, who is promising that the Committee will not “run away from this problem,” so the petition takes that quote and turns it into an “obligation to the residents of Ocean Grove.”

Harsh petition talk from the HOA, but where was that tough talk when the Committee threw the HOA  parking plan under the bus?  The Committee must think of OG citizens as a bunch of patsies.

Members of the HOA are circulating this petition.  If you are not asked, but want to join the throng, check their web site for more info.  OGHOA web site.     And you can’t use your anonymous BF names. 

So what do our readers think of the planned process to make something happen with parking?  Will the various factions actually find solutions in common?  Click the comment button below.

As for the HOA Parking Plan which was produced with considerable effort by the Parking Committee, it is unclear as to what will occur because the task force needs to organize and create some sort of statement as to what its procedures will be.   Hopefully its efforts will be transparent. Will their meetings be open to the public?

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

RAY CHARLES  “What’d I Say?”

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