-Post by Councilwoman Amy Rudley
I oversee Public Safety in town and have for 2016, 2017, and now 2018. Parking enforcement falls within the Police Department, which of course, falls within Public Safety.
I have been researching the possibility of allowing for some on-street parking for the better part of two years now. I have looked at Collingswood, Haddonfield, and Glassboro’s ordinances as possible models, as well as researched some case law regarding legalities of housing restrictions and parking, in addition to discussing the issue with our solicitor. I have brought this issue up at least six times at Borough Council meetings and residents (on both sides of the issue) have brought it up a few more times. I have personally inspected the Borough lots where overnight parking is allowed and have explored all the Grove Alleyways that used to provide for good access to the parking behind the houses on the exterior Grove streets, but have fallen into some disrepair.
We have a few complicating factors regarding overnight parking in town. First, many of our streets are narrow. In some areas where the parking is at the shortest supply/highest premium, they are also the same streets that are extremely narrow. I consulted with the Board of Fire Engineers and the two Fire Department Chiefs regarding any concerns they have as to cars on the roads overnight and they provided me with a list of streets that they thought could never support overnight parking due to narrow access for their Fire Trucks and other emergency access. When many of the streets were planned, they provided for horse and buggy access and then buggy parking. This gives us a framework of streets that are tighter than many “new development” towns.
In addition, I consulted with the Pitman Police Department regarding any concerns they may have. They were most concerned with enforcement (overnight parking vehicles would have to have a very obvious sticker for easy identification) as well as the fact that they use the clear streets for better crime prevention and detection. I spoke with our Public Works liaison, as we have a very large investment in the trash cans that are collected by the mechanical arm on the truck. If we did allow overnight parking, even by permit, I expect a great uptick in issues involving blocked trash cans and slowed trash pickup.
In the meantime, we have Glassboro continuing to limit overnight parking and a sudden influx of Rowan students renting in Pitman. The overnight parking restriction is currently our only protection from this influx of students who could rent a 4-bedroom house, have 4 students and 4 cars (or more if they share rooms). While I love the proximity to Rowan for a number of reasons, I do not want Pitman to suffer the negative impacts that so many Glassboro neighborhoods have suffered. As it stands, on the nights that our own Police Department suspends overnight parking enforcement for holiday weeks and weekends, residents on Monroe Avenue – on the Glassboro side, park their cars on Adams and the Pitman portion of Madison to avoid overnight ticketing in Glassboro. They have now taken to commenting on some of the Pitman PD posts on Facebook to further spread the word that “you can park in Pitman tonight.”
All that being said, I am continuing to explore a method of on-street overnight parking permits which could allow us the greatest protections that our ordinance gives us, while also giving homeowners the ability to have cars parking on the street when necessary. If any residents ever wanted to meet or talk on the phone to discuss how this impacts you or any ideas or thoughts you might have, I would be happy to listen. You may contact me to set up a time for a meeting or phone call via my Borough email Amy.Rudley@Pitman.org