By DON STINE
A proposal to allow Ocean Grove residents to bag their leaves for collection and another plan to institute alternate side of the street parking during one month in the spring and fall were presented to the Neptune Township Committee this sweek
The proposals were requested in an attempt to limit the amount of leaves and debris getting into the storm drainage system in the historic district. Certain sections of Ocean Grove have been prone to flooding in recent years, particularly at the eastern sections of Broadway, and streets are usually loaded with parked cars year-round.
“We are trying to come with ideas that will limit what is going into the storm drains,” Mayor Eric Houghtaling said.
Public Works Director Wayne Rode gave two suggestions to help keep the storm drains clean: allowing leaves to be bagged and implementing alternate side of the street parking for one month in both the spring and fall.
Rode said the township can require leaves in Ocean Grove to be bagged for collection rather than be raked directly into the streets along the curbs.
“I think it’s a good idea, will facilitate collection, and keep leaves out of the drainage system. Plus, once they are in the bags they are not going to blow around,” he said.
Residents will be able to use any type of bag they want to place leaves at the curb but paper bags are preferred since they can be recycled directly along with the leaves. Using plastic bags will require public works employees to open and dispose of them.
“But that is not a big issue to us,” Rode said.
The new policy could be implemented this fall and an effort would be made to inform and educate the public.
Township employees would also still vacuum streets because not all leaves will be bagged in certain areas.
Under a more controversial proposal, Rode recommended that alternate side of the street parking be implemented during certain time periods in Ocean Grove so the streets can be properly swept and cleaned, potholes can be filled, curbs and drains can be properly inspected, and trees trimmed.
If approved, the alternate side of the street parking would be in effect for the proposed months of October and May.
“Maybe this is something that is past due and it’s time for it to be done,” Rode said.
Under the proposal, east-west streets would have alternate side of the street parking for two weeks out of the month- one week for each side of the street. North-south streets would have the same requirements for the remaining two weeks of the month.
Rode said it will cost about $20,000 to pay for the estimated 690 signs that would need to be posted to enforce the new parking rules and about three months will be needed to install them, with two signs on each block.
“We could take care of the whole town that way,” he said.
The parking restrictions would be in place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m on weekdays only and could be suspended for special events.
“I think it is something we should consider so we can take care of Ocean Grove the way is should be taken care of. I think Ocean Grove will get a lot of bang for its buck then,” he said.
Alternate side of the street parking is already in effect on Main Avenue on certain days.
The way parking is in Ocean Grove now, all street sweepers can usually do is just go directly down the middle of the streets.
Committeeman Randy Bishop said that many people use Ocean Grove as a winter storage area for their cars, leaving them parked at the curb for months at a time and that alternate side of the street parking may allow for those cars to be towed and removed from the streets.
“I am all for it,” Committeewoman Mary Beth Jahn said.
Pictured above – Historic image of Ocean Grove when cars were not allowed in the town on Sunday.