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Overnight Parking Regulations May be Scrapped

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are considering scrapping overnight parking regulations in the borough.

The hours it takes to enforce a ban on overnight parking might not be worth the effort, officials said recently. Current regulations require cars to be off most borough streets from 2 to 5 a.m. Residents who don’t have off-street parking or have too many vehicles to fit into driveways must apply for a paid permit for up to two vehicles per household.

All residents can call a county-run phone system to request overnight-street parking for themselves or guests seven nights a month. Police Chief John Banning said last week that officers working overnight must call the phone system and write down each request after 2 a.m., a task that usually takes the better part of an hour.

Once the information is recorded, officers then have about two hours to patrol the 2.5-square miles of Haddonfield to determine who is legally parked on the street and issue tickets to whoever is not.

The borough has issued 144 parking permits this year. It would lose up to $17,000 in revenue from tickets and permits yearly if the regulations were repealed. Haddonfield only receives $6.50 out of the $18 parking fine. The remainder is distributed to state-mandated funds, such as for body-armor replacement and autism. It collected $8,400 from permit fees.

Commissioner Ed Borden, one of three borough commissioners, oversees the police department as the director of public safety. He presented the issues of overnight parking last week to begin a public discussion of whether to keep current rules in place or to scrap them.

“The issues around overnight parking are thee single largest area of friction between our police and citizens,” Borden said. “There’s a constant series of people who are unhappy about tickets or can’t get permits to park overnight. The amount of time devoted to enforcement and issues related to overnight parking is very substantial.”

Borden said more time could be devoted to patrolling the borough if officers weren’t tied up with overnight-parking enforcement.

Commissioner Tish Colombi, the mayor, said she was not in favor of scraping overnight-parking restrictions.

“I would suggest you drive through Audubon, or one of the towns that allows parking all the time, and just the look of it is very different than what we see on the street here,” she said.

Colombi also said not having cars on the street could help police spot vehicles of individuals who may be committing a crime. Chief John Banning said police were able to arrest someone like that about 10 years ago, but that many recent burglaries in Haddonfield were being committed during the day. He said commercial burglaries often happen at night.

Seven people, including a fourth-grader completing a school assignment and her mother, attended the commissioner’s meeting Thursday during this discussion. Most who spoke were in favor of getting rid of overnight-parking regulations.

“I live on Lee Avenue, which is probably one of the smallest streets in Haddonfield,” said Art Bermudez, a resident. “Most of the houses have one-car driveways. Those of us who have families have two cars. I’m concerned that because of a look, we are getting penalized for it.”

Michelle Claffey, a resident of Windsor Avenue, said she sees both sides of the issue.

“I like having my street clear of cars at night,” she said. “But I don’t feel like ticket enforcement is universal throughout town. I see neighbors who park on my street all the time and they don’t get tickets. I can see both sides of the issue.”

Debate on what to do about overnight parking will continue at the next commissioners meeting on April 24, officials said.

 

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Steve April 10, 2012 at 10:48 AM
I live near Haddonfield PATCO station. I think people could park their cars all night around my house w/o the parking regulations. The cars could even be left for days. Enough people who ride PATCO park around the house during the day, taking up spots that could be used by people who live in the neighborhood.
JS April 10, 2012 at 11:57 AM
I like having my street clear of cars at night and would like the parking regulations to remain in effect. It seems to me that the problems that have arisen could be solved without scrapping the parking regulations for the entire town. The onorous county phone system is not effective for the Haddonfield resident or the police. Therefore, that system should be changed. Perhaps we could return to the former procedure of notifying the Haddonfield police directly when cars need to remain overnight on the street. In today's world of technology, it is shocking to hear that an officer spends an hour writing down the vehicle information. There should be a way to confidentially put this information on the Haddonfield website, so the officers can check this as they patrol. Under certain circumstances, the regulations could be waived as they currently are. It appears that residents of Centre Street and Lee Avenue have the most problems, so those residents should decide if they would prefer legal overnight parking for their streets. As far as renters who are not allowed to park in the driveway of the property even if there is a driveway, clearly the driveway is not included in the rental. Therefore, they should be granted an overnight parking permit. If the whole town were to get rid of overnight parking, the town would become ugly and dirty. Some cars would rarely be moved off street.
Brad Linthicum April 10, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Lifting the parking ban would be great. I can buy an old street rod, block it up in front of my house and work on it over the next year. Also, I can park my boat in front of my neighbor's house as long as it is on a registered trailer. Registered trailers have the same parking rights as registered cars.
HaddonGirl April 10, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Perhaps we just need a more simplified way to handle things. Really large, more readily visible (dayglo?) overnight parking permits for those whose driveways/family car situations need them, that are displayed in the street-side dash, readily visible for officers patrolling, might be an easier way to recognize cars that are "ok" overnight. This would also let residents see that cars are "authorized" to be there. Streets which are generally free & clear of vehicles at night is a good thing, as previous comments have noted. There are certain properties and entire streets in town which do not lend themselves to 21st century lifestyles. Charming as their appearances are, people actually live there, and they need to be accommodated.
Tom Kenny April 10, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Crime in Haddonfield is at the highest levels that I have ever experienced in our over 20 years of living here! Timing for this is seriously questionable... Great points Brad! I could just see the car on cinderblocks now! Wouldn't that be special. Tom
Herb Hess April 10, 2012 at 02:36 PM
For years I have parked my car on the street without getting a ticket, except for Saturday evenings. The pattern of selectively enforcing the law leads me to believe that this law is not in effect on six of seven days anyway (at least in my area of town). Unfortunately, this pattern of selective enforcement is not unusual in Haddonfield. Instead of forcing an either / or choice of enforcement or abandonment, why not simply provide permit stickers for residents to add to their license tag allowing them to park in front of their own homes. These could be checked and still limit what is left in front of any home to an operating vehicle.
Brian Kelly April 10, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Herb, That's what is called a common sense solution. You could even limit it to one tag per residence if people are worried about too many cars on the street. We used to have one car too many for the driveway and the borough's advice was to park behind borough hall (inconvenient for us) or call the police station every night to clear it, which was very inconvenient for the police officers. JS has an interesting idea about checking in on the police web page but it still might just be easier to relax the law with a sticker and some sensible restrictions.
Bill Tourtellotte April 10, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Part 1 Aside from the obvious security issues, the overnight parking regulations have been an integral part of our lives in Haddonfield for many generations. There is no compelling reason to remove this time-tested ordinance because it is "inconvenient" for some. There is a mechanism in place for those with genuine hardship situations to get overnight permits. People need to take responsibility for storing their own vehicles. It is just that simple. I know of plenty of folks who already store cars that they do not actually need and park cars for relatives who are traveling elsewhere, etc. They will be storing their campers and boats in spaces that could otherwise be used for their daily cars, etc and those cars will be stored on our streets. That is NOT a hardship and we owe those folks no duty to store their vehicles on our public streets. There is no question that it will eventually be a mess and getting it back under control will be even more difficult than just saying no now. Simply put, people need to take “personal responsibility” for their vehicles.
Bill Tourtellotte April 10, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Part 2 I’m also not moved by complaints by leadership that the police officers are overly burdened by what generations of police before them have done. Particularly when technology surely can offer new solutions that should streamline the process. It seems that so many times when we need something enforced, we hear that the police do not have time for it. Frankly, I do not want to hear a “can’t do” approach. There are solutions and there are ways to avail ourselves of technology. Let’s hear solutions and not complaints. Scrapping the system is a total cop out (pun intended)….. Like most folks, I prefer that the streets to be clear at night, which logically means that they are FAR more likely to be less jammed up with vehicles during the day as well. I’m getting a little disillusioned with the tendency of some in leadership to shun the traditional time-tested practices that have led to the success and the differentiation of Haddonfield. Let’s just throw out the retail signage requirements, let’s just throw out the parking requirements. If any of our leaders end up concluding that these are good ideas, I can only conclude that they are of a lower caliber and have less vision than those generations of leaders that came before them who knew otherwise…..
Bill Tourtellotte April 10, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Part 3 From the article, Tish seems to totally “get” this and Ed does not, and I am not sure where Jeff is on this. I’m hoping this is not heading to a result where when I drive the cluttered streets in future years I will be cursing them personally for what they have created by lack of respect for the past and vision for what is to come………..That will not be a good gift or legacy for the community. Just get some guts and say no now……Believe me that you will tick off the silent majority a whole lot more if you don’t…..
Sue Martin April 10, 2012 at 04:45 PM
No blanket overnight on-street parking!! Taking an hour a day to log overnight parking requests calls into question the skills of the person producing the log or the way that the info is retrieved from the system. If the system is that time consuming, its not working and should be fixed. We should use technology to make the log accessible to the police. With the rise in crime in Haddonfield, the last thing we need is any way for people with bad intentions to hide out. Who wants to have some strange car parked all night in front of their house? Seriously, I wonder about people who move into town and then complain about why its inconvenient for them. If you need a driveway, buy a house with a driveway. If you don't want trees, move to a treeless community. If you want new construction, move to a development. Haddonfield has been kept beautiful because residents who respect the history and environment live here. If all you want is a good address without respecting the culture and your neighbors, live elsewhere, please!
Muppet Man April 10, 2012 at 06:27 PM
[RE: Seriously, I wonder about people who move into town and then complain about why its inconvenient for them. If you need a driveway, buy a house with a driveway. If you don't want trees, move to a treeless community. If you want new construction, move to a development.] This is about as ignorant as it gets. When you buy a house, do you first consider the towns parking policies? There are many smaller homes in our community that have room for 1 car. Most families need 2 vehicles. Why should these people have to pay for the "privilege" to park in front of their own home? Remember, it is a small town with just as many small homes as large ones. I have an idea. If you don't like cars on the street, move to Mullica Hill! (right back at ya!)
Sue Martin April 10, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Hi Muppet Man! Thanks for your comment regarding my comment. But I have to disagree--if you move into a town that doesn't allow overnight, on-street parking, you shouldn't expect to park on the street overnight. I don't live in a fancy mansion by any means, and when we needed more parking space, we (ourselves) dug out an extension to the driveway and got a load of gravel in, applying and raking it out by hand. I am about as liberal as it is possible to get and not a reactionary Darwinist. But it is good to take into consideration your personal needs prior to making a huge investment, such as a house; i.e., if you need three bedrooms, why would you buy a house with two? Thus, why would you buy a house with a tiny or non-existent driveway if you have two cars? Anyhow, Mullica Hill to too far for me to commute!
Jeff H April 11, 2012 at 10:10 PM
EACH OFFICER HAS A LAPTOP IN THEIR VEHICLE. YOU COULD COME UP WITH A SIMPLE ELECTRONIC SOLUTION TO THIS. INSTEAD WE JUST SCRAP THE ORDINANCE. THAT DOESN'T APPEAR TO BE A CREATIVE WAY TO SOLVE THE ISSUE! CAN WE THINK CREATIVELY FOR A CHANGE???
Maryann Campling April 12, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Hi Muppet Man....I'm with you on this one. If parking is your main concern about a community, there are plenty of "house farms" in Voorhees, Marlton, Williamstown,etc. that will allow all of the parking spaces one could ever need, I live on Lee Avenue, driveways accommodate one car. For years I've paid to rent a garage for my second car. Big deal!
Katy April 16, 2012 at 11:14 PM
I am not opposed to the ban as long as they figure out a better way to allow those with a need to park on street to obtain a permit. I rent an apartment with no off-street parking, and while I would love to purchase a house with a driveway, that is in no way financially possible for me. Every year I pay $100 for a permit to park, and every year I feel that I am being penalized for not being a wealthy Haddonfield citizen. I am happy to contribute to the town I love, but I feel that the current procedures make the less wealthy among us feel unwelcome, which is unfortunate. Haddonfield is more diverse than people think - I believe that is a good thing - and I would like the town to embrace that and decide upon a more fair procedure.
Etheljean Deal April 17, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Some of you seem to be under the impression that the regulations are waived for those of us without driveways. They are not waived. Since the parking permits went into effect, I've had to pay thousands for the "privilege" of parking in front of my own home. And it's not a matter of "choosing" to live here; I'm a long-time resident, and had no problem calling in each night to get my car cleared. But I do resent paying to park on the street. I feel that if a house has no driveway and cannot support one, parking should be granted to the household, particularly when, as in my case, the drivers are physically disabled. I have no idea where this hyperbole of cars on blocks and boat trailers is coming from. If you cannot see the injustice of forcing people to either pay for overnight parking or consider an illogical or unreasonable alternative, shame on you.
Shana Marshall May 02, 2012 at 06:32 PM
We live on the first block of Centre (between Kings Court and Lincoln Ave) where there are about 19 homes without driveways. Our property includes a narrow brick path on the side of our house and a small yard behind our house. We don’t have a driveway and there is no room to add a driveway. We hesitated to buy a house without a driveway, but after talking to the homeowner and the borough we learned we could park on Centre all day and could purchase permits allowing us to park on Centre overnight. Buying our house was the best decision we’ve ever made. We love our house, our street, our neighbors, our community…our town. The only time not having a driveway is a problem is when commuters (PATCO riders or downtown/school employees) use Centre as an all-day parking lot instead of paying to park in the borough lots or the PATCO lot. When Centre St residents without driveways return home we frequently have to pay to park in the borough lot because there is no room on Centre. The same thing happens when we have visitors, babysitters, dog walkers, cleaning services, contractors, etc. We have been working with our neighbors and the borough to solve this problem. It’s an inconvenience, but not the end of the world! We would love to have restricted parking or “resident parking only”. If that can’t happen, we will continue living the wonderful life we have made in our wonderful town…knowing we chose to buy a house without a driveway.

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