Good sense prevails in Newark: Meters prevent illegal parking and save bike lane

June 26, 2015

Michael Andersen, Green Lane Project staff writer


Newark’s stopgap solution to a parking shortage was to allow parking in the bike lane. Now it’s found a more sensible option: meters. (Photo: WalkBikeJersey)

Three months after Newark drew national attention for considering removal of its state’s only protected bike lane in order to allow illegal double-parking, it’s found a different solution.

Instead of designing its commercial strip around letting people park their cars two rows deep along the curb, the district is installing parking meters.

“Simply by adding parking meters and limiting parking to two hours, legal parking spots are now freed up for shoppers, rather than being occupied for hours or days at a time by residents and shop owners,” reports the New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition. “As a result, bike riders regained access to New Jersey’s first parking-protected bike lane, and newly-enacted street parking regulations will ensure that there is an ample supply of parking for customers of businesses along Mt. Prospect Avenue.”

There’s no question that people get value out of auto parking, or that adequate nearby parking is important to most retail businesses. But you don’t have to be a small business owner to understand that when you can’t fill all your customers’ orders, it’s probably time to raise your prices a bit. That’s exactly what the North Ward just did with its on-street parking spaces.

As for the protected bike lane itself: As any commercial district gets busier and more prosperous, it needs to gradually free itself from complete dependence on auto parking by making it easy and appealing for some customers to get there by other means. Kudos to Newark for finding a way to do that for its businesses.

Interested in the conflicts between car parking and bike lanes? Newark’s decision to charge what on-street parking is worth is No. 6 on our list of 10 ways to convert parking space to movement space.

The Green Lane Project helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets. You can follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook or sign up for our weekly news digest about protected bike lanes. Story tip? Write [email protected]

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