By Liz Sheehan
SEA BRIGHT – Plans made two years ago to establish back-in angled parking in the downtown business section of the town were dropped by a unanimous vote of the Borough Council at its Nov. 13 meeting.
The council had passed a resolution in January 2015, that approved a New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) plan to install the parking, also known as head-out angled parking, from the southbound side of Ocean Avenue from Rumson Road, just south of the Sea Bright Rumson Bridge to Beach Street.
But in the resolution approved last month, the borough stated that it “has reviewed this plan, has met with the downtown business community, discussed it at several public meetings and has determined that the plan does not meet the Borough’s goals.”
Borough Administrator Joseph Verruni said Tuesday that when the streetscape project was completed in the business section of the town, with its addition of new street lights, planters and other changes, borough officials felt the back-in angled parking would not work with the new configuration of the downtown area.
He said introducing the new type of parking into the business area was “not the right place for an experiment at this time.”
Frank Bain, the owner of Bains Hardware, 1092 Ocean Ave., a popular business in the middle of the borough’s business district which also serves as the town’s post office, said Tuesday he was never in favor of the back-in angled parking.
“I am happy it is rescinded,” he said, “I was never for it.”
“The highway was not wide enough to have it,” he said, referring to Ocean Avenue, which is also State Highway 36. He said it was a safety issue.
Rich Tocci, the owner of the building where Bains is located said the proposal to put back-in angled parking in the business district was “the most ridiculous thing I ever heard of.”
Before the council rescinded the agreement to install the new parking system, a test of the configuration was carried out in front of Sea Bright Supermarket & Liquor, 1160 Ocean Ave., where new parking lines were painted in a few spaces and a sign said only back-in angled parking was permitted.
There was a large parking lot owned by the store directly across from the test area, and the test spaces were used infrequently. The markings of the spaces have now been changed to head-in angled parking as they had been before the test was begun.
Although the town has decided to reject the 2015 DOT parking plans, Verruni said the borough is still working on a bicycle path which was included in that same proposal. The path would run from Monmouth Beach to the northern end of the borough.
He said that it is now being determined if there would be room for two 4-foot-wide paths, one
going south and one north on Ocean Avenue.
If there is not enough space he said, one of the lanes could be a shared car and bicycle lane.
This article was first published in the Nov. 23-30, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.
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