The Parking Committee of the Ocean Grove Homeowners Association has recommended ways to alleviate the parking situation in the historic district which include metered parking along the east side of Ocean Avenue and on Broadway between Ocean and Central Avenues, a shuttle service from one of the Neptune schools and establshing a three-hour parking limit in the central business district between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
All the members of the committee live in Ocean Grove and spent many hours over the last several months putting together the recommendations. The committee also researched parking ordinances of other communities and read through 250 suggestions from homeowners gathered through a survey.
The recommendations were discussed at a standing-room only meeting April 9. They will be forwarded to the Township Committee for review.
OGHOA President Ann Horan introduced the members of the Parking Committee – Joyce Klein, Ken Buckley, Barbara Burns, Teri Cheki, Billy Faccidomo, Julie Hekker, David Phillips, and Richard Williams
In her presentation, Parking Committee Chair Joyce Klein said, “Ocean Grove parking does not meet the needs of the homeowners, businesses, visitors, and property tax payers, as they are increasingly frustrated by the inability to park close to home. Fewer parking spaces are available to Ocean Grove residents, as spaces are being taken by Asbury Park visitors and employees of that city. They are taking free parking spaces in Ocean Grove.”
While Ocean Grove enjoys seeing the Asbury Park renaissance, this is not a favorable situation, as far as parking in this community is concerned. Klein said, “I see folks cruising the streets, trying to find parking.”
The lack of parking adversely affects attendance at the Ocean Grove Auditorium programs and worship services, as attendees have to walk, sometimes many, blocks to park their cars. “This situation is difficult for the elderly”, she said.
Some of the survey suggestions included building a parking garage at the north end.
The Camp Meeting Association owns the North End property. It would cost between $13,000 -$18,000 per parking space to construct a garage at that location. “As this would be run as a seasonal operation, it would be hard to do and would not be economically feasible”, she said.
Under review is angled parking, such as the current spaces along the Main Avenue business district. This is a grandfathered usage, and any new angled parking would require room for fire truck passage and a backup lane.
Some of Ocean Grove’s wide streets could possibly have angled parking on one side and curb parking on the other side. Klein showed a slide of Asbury Park’s Mattison Avenue, which has this parking arrangement. However, Mattison Avenue is 41 feet wide, while the widest streets in Ocean Grove are 37-38 feet wide. Klein said, “At this point, we cannot recommend this type of parking; it is under further investigation.”
Another suggestion by the Parking Committee was adding parking by Wesley Lake, in a loop around Fireman’s Park by Central Avenue and Pilgrim Pathway.
The recommendations from the Parking Committee include:
> Property tax residents would get a free permit to park one car by their homes. The snow emergency sides of the streets – the south and east sides – would be designated for permit parking. Parking would be permitted for all vehicles on the north and west sides of the streets. Parking permits would not be issued for properties that have a driveway. Permit parking would be effective year-round, except for snow emergencies.
> Neptune Township and the Camp Meeting Association should cooperate with a shuttle service to transport beach visitors and Auditorium program attendees to and from these areas to designated parking at the Neptune schools.
Establish metered parking along the east side of Ocean Avenue, and on Broadway between Ocean Avenue and Central Avenue, with usage between May 15 and September 15.
> The Ocean Grove inns and bed & breakfast establishments would be issued five parking permits at a cost of $50.00 each.
> Maximize the North End and South End parking usage.
> The central business district would have 3-hour parking limits between 8 am- 8 pm. This would prevent beach patrons from parking their cars in this area for the day. The parking spaces between the Ocean Grove Post Office and Ocean Grove Hardware would have 15-minute limits.
“This is an opportunity for Neptune Township to finance change and for the Camp Meeting Association to provide parking for its programs. The Parking Committee felt that the beach patrons and CMA program attendees should have parking at the Neptune schools with high-frequency shuttle service to/from those locations. Both Neptune Township and the Camp Meeting Association must be involved to make this a reality”, Klein said.
Klein urged the OGHOA members to bring up the above parking issues and recommendations to the Neptune Township Committee and to the Camp Meeting Association. They should stress that people using the Asbury Park and Bradley Beach beaches, both of which have metered parking, are parking for free in Ocean Grove.
The Parking Committee recommended that a variance be requested by the CMA to use the North End and South End lots as paid parking facilities, at least until the North End is developed. “If the lots cannot be metered, they should be used for permit parking”, Klein said.
The Parking Committee recommends the immediate enforcement of the ordinance that prohibits parking of construction vehicles in Ocean Grove between 7 pm and 7 am. “These incidents should be reported to the Neptune Township Police”, Klein said.
When a resident asked, “What is the frequency of ticketing and towing?” Klein said the Township lists statistics of this nature on its Face Book page. Neptune Township Committee member Randy Bishop said, “It is impossible to tow cars in the summer without destroying cars.”
Ocean Grove resident Connie Ogden said, “Someone needs to staff the South End. On summer Sundays cones are put up and folks from Bradley Beach park there. We need a more efficient parking practice.”
In response to a resident who said he felt that the $50 parking permit fees for the inns and bed & breakfast establishments seemed too low, Klein said “The inns are struggling; we wanted to keep the fee low.”
A resident spoke of the process for floating questions through the Neptune Township Committee and said he did not expect them to be positive. Klein said, “We met with the Township administrators, and they were receptive, but non-committal. We will deliver our recommendations, if approved, to the Township Committee, present them at a Township Committee workshop meeting, and then present them at Township Committee meetings until something is done.”
By a 64 to 5 vote, the OGHOA membership in attendance voted to accept the recommendations of the Parking Committee.