Opinion contributed by Bob Hespe |
As to its parking needs, Red Bank is a 19th century town with a 20th century problem in search of 21st century solution. The solution isn’t building an enormous garage on White Street. The tens of millions of dollars that would be spent are only part of the problem. The core of the downtown is made up of narrow streets which are already appallingly congested. A parking garage would exponentially worsen this problem. It would pull hundreds of additional cars into this tight area, turning a congestion nightmare into a gridlock nightmare. Red Bank needs to realize that the goal isn’t to jam more cars in. Rather, it’s to get more people in.
The solution lies a few minutes west of Broad Street at the train station parking lots. These lots are easily accessible from the major entrances to Red Bank – Route 35 South and Front Street. They have unused spaces during the day, are empty in the evening, and are free after 11 a.m. So, bring the cars to these lots and then bring the people to Broad Street. The Borough (or the business association, it doesn’t matter) needs to run free jitneys from the train station. They would run on a continuous loop up Monmouth Street, over to Front Street, and back to the station. Passengers would wait a few minutes for a jitney and then the ride would be a few minutes more. This would be cheaper, faster and more pleasant than fighting through the snarl of traffic to White Street, paying for the garage, finding a space, and then trekking back down to the street.
If this solution is adopted – and vigorously publicized and promoted – it will be successful. Red Bank needs to realize that malls are dying and cities are thriving. Get out of your car and join the 21st century!
This article was first published in the Sept. 7-14, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.
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