A comprehensive parking study in Ocean Grove is expected to be completed by the fall, officials said.
“Ocean Grove is still saturated with parking this year and the study should be just as viable as if the Covid19 pandemic were not here,” Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association President Michael Badger said earlier this week.
The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association initiated the parking study earlier this year and it is expected it will be completed by the fall. Parking shortages in Ocean Grove have been a long-standing problem.
The national firm Kimley-Horn, with local offices in Princeton and Hoboken, has been hired by the OGCMA and will identify issues and develop workable parking options informed by field observation and industry best practices.
The goal of the study is to provide recommendations for the development of potential parking programs and policies of the type and magnitude to meet the diverse parking requirements of Ocean Grove.
Badger said a number of factors related to Covid-19 are affecting the parking study
“But the full study will be just as viable as if the Covid-19 was not a factor,” he said.
He said there is less parking now at the northern end of Ocean Grove because Asbury Park’s bars and restaurants are not open, except for outside dining. People would park in Ocean Grove and walk into Asbury Park to avoid paying to park in the city.
However, those unused parking spaces are now occupied by the cars of residents with summer homes who have decided to shelter in place in Ocean Grove rather than in their year-round house.
“The parking there is filled to capacity. They came down early this year and have stayed here. The number of New York license plates in Ocean Grove is through the roof,” Badger said.
Summer rentals in Ocean Grove also have to be for at least 31 days and that, in turn, brought more cars to Ocean Grove.
“More people are here for the long-term than they were before,” Badger said.
Badger said that the number of people coming to the beach has also increased dramatically this year.
“There are few other options for entertainment or religious meetings so we have been selling out of beach badges just about every day. We have a highly-congested community right now. The study should still provide representative data that will be applicable in later years,” he said.