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Commissioners Discuss Patch Poll on Overnight Parking

A Patch survey helps pace parking discussion.

Borough commissioners on Monday continued to discuss the future of overnight parking regulations.

Commissioner Tish Colombi, the mayor, cited a to make her case for continuing the prohibition of cars parked on the street after 2 a.m.

“This poll says people by more than 2-to-1 don’t have an appetite for doing away with overnight parking,” Colombi said during a commissioner’s work session.

As of Monday, 244 votes had been cast on for the survey question: Seventy percent said “No,” while 29 percent said “Yes.” Votes can still be cast.

"I think they feel it is more safe because someone would recognize a car that is not supposed to be there," Colombi said. "I can tell you I know most of the cars on my street. I would notice if there is a strange car out there."

Commissioner Ed Borden had questions about the Patch survey and keeping current overnight parking regulations.

"I've lived on my street longer than you," he said. "So I drive down the street and see a car I don't recognize. Do I call that in? This is a continuous process of issues coming up that the police have to deal with, endless disputes of who is entitled to a permit and not."

The commissioners and the police have studied the issues surrounding overnight-parking regulations for several months. Borden, the director of public safety, who oversees the police department, has led the discussion on the challenges of enforcing overnight-parking regulations.

Some of the challenges include an antiquated county phone system that requires officers to call in to write down requests for overnight parking. Residents get seven request per household per month. Police officials say it often takes the better part of an hour to accurately record the information after 2 a.m. when cars without a permit must be off the street.

The amount of request per household have to be recorded by other department personnel. There are fewer officers working overnight than during the day. After recording night-parking request, officers usually have a little over two hours to write tickets before 5 a.m., when street parking is allowed again.

Commissioners discussed how to implement a different overnight system that might use voice recognition technology to record the information and relay it to a police officer without taking him or her off the street. They also discussed requiring the request be filed via the Internet.

Any new system would likely come with new costs, which might be a challenge with a shrinking municipal budget and rising tax rates. The commissioners agreed to continue a discussion on overnight parking at their next regular meeting on Tuesday, April, 24.

What do you think? Tell us in comments below.

 

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Etheljean Deal April 17, 2012 at 02:12 PM
The overnight parking ban has cost me thousands of dollars over the 31 years I've lived in Haddonfield because my house does not have, and cannot support, a driveway. I was told initially to park in the municipal lot two blocks away. My husband and I both are physically handicapped, so that was out of the question. We tried renting a neighbor's garage, and soon after, my car was vandalized and the carburetor stolen. I think it is a gross misperception that allowing overnight parking will somehow ruin the look of our town. Honestly, who is "looking" at our town between 2 and 5 am? I can understand the desire to keep residential streets as clear as possible. However, in my circumstance, it is impossible and I resent being forced to pay a penalty for parking in front of my own home. This especially rankles because my neighbor, who parks across the sidewalk, is never penalized for this infraction. 70% of Haddonfield has spacious enough driveways and lawns to be able to say "What's wrong with a ban on overnight parking?" Those of us who are forced to pay these thousands of dollars would willingly explain the injustice of it.
No driveway April 17, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Keep the overnight parking ban. I too have lived in a house that has no driveway. During the week, our street is basically a parking lot for people who work in town or walk to the speedline. Meanwhile the municipal lot near our house sits empty with it's shiny new kiosks idle. If the ban is lifted on overnight parking, people will just leave their cars indefinitely on the residential streets and not use the municipal lots. The explanation about the time consuming process of the officers needing to write down the messages and plate numbers is ridiculous. Try doing some process improvement! It's 2012 for god sake. Everyone must do more with less including the police. Put it on a website; I know not everyone has a computer but the huge majority of people do. Let residents e-mail or text their overnight requests and the police can print them out!
Etheljean Deal April 17, 2012 at 04:02 PM
If the overnight parking is to remain in effect, at the very least stop charging for permits or ticketing those with such circumstances that have been mentioned here.
M Barr April 18, 2012 at 01:18 PM
I agree it is a waste of police time to listen to the tape of residents who need to phone in an overnight car parked in the street, but I find it hard to believe there are many calls each and every night. I recently commented on the Patch online survey that there might be a computerized phone system that would eliminate the time consuming message machine so a police officer would be able to quickly check approved registered cars against those to be ticketed. A resident would be able to go online to register a vehicle. I live on a narrow street in one of the neighborhoods where the property lines are quite close. I also have five drivers in my household with at least four cars in the driveway. Without the ban, I could conceivably park all four of my cars in the street overnight without penalty. My neighbors would probably hate me, but it would be within my rights. By the way, only one of those cars would fit in front of my own house. If all the families in the 20 houses on my block alone chose to park in the street overnight, there would be 34 to 36 total cars lining both sides of one block. Add to that the difficulty of getting an emergency vehicle such as a fire truck through this overcrowded condition. I live near the Centennial football field and tennis courts and cars are parked in front of mine and my neighbor’s houses all day every day for tennis and football. It is nice to have a little less clutter at the end of the day.
PG April 18, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Instead of the antiquated phone system, why not make a form online to request overnight parking? The form can have a cut-off time, and the police can print out a report. This would also allow a history of requests to be stored and retrieved later, for reporting purposes.

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