RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — One Bergen County town has introduced a pilot program to deal with parking issues that have driven customers away.
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, Ridgewood is getting into the valet business.
Cathie Hamill has lived in Ridgewood for most of her life, but she doesn’t like to come to the downtown area anymore because it’s too difficult to find parking, and it’s not much easier when she does.
“I was getting tickets for being one minute over,” she said.
That’s the same sentiment shared by others on East Ridgewood Ave who were circling to find a spot.
“Oh, the parking situation has always been a situation as long as I can remember,” one resident said.
“During the day, not so bad, but evening, Friday, Saturday, it’s bad,” Deb Manheimer said.
Now, the village council has a new plan to alleviate the problem and boost business with a municipally run valet service from 6 p.m. to 1 a.am. on Fridays and Saturdays.
“By closing off a lot similar to this 35 spaces, and utilizing this as valet space by stacking the vehicles, this would allow us to more than double capacity,” Mayor Susan Knudsen said.
Two municipal lots will be used, costing $5 a vehicle. Some restaurants have agreed to validate tickets.
“We picked locations fairly accessible. One near restaurants, one closer to shops,” Knudsen said.
One restaurant owner was all for the idea if it means people won’t be late for their reservations.
“Friday, Saturday here, so busy. Busy town, valet parking is a great idea,” Omid Minoukadah said.
Several residents said they would prefer a parking deck.
“There are places in Ridgewood that could have a parking garage, and not cause the downtown area to look any different, that’s the concern,” one resident said.
The deputy mayor said that plan is still in play.
“Multifaceted approach because there’s obviously limited space and great demand, and trying to balance that is what we are working on,” Michael Sedon said.
The valet pilot program starts Friday, October 6, for three months through the holidays — a critical time for local businesses to make money in the fourth quarter.
Local business employees are encouraged to park in the Cottage Place lot next to the board of education building at a discounted rate to free up street parking for customers.