(ABOVE: Parking Dude photo)
While the store itself has an underground parking garage, as part of the Harlow complex, the traffic leading into it causes snarls at the bottom of the viaduct on the northern end of town. Further complicating that corner are a number of parking spots on the western side of Willow Street, which have been there for as long as residents can remember.
While a number of spots were initially sacrificed for Trader Joe’s, these spots remained for the use of uptown residents who are constantly struggling to find a place to park. However, as time went on, it became apparent that the impact these spots were having on traffic was too detrimental, thereby prompting the City Council to approve their removal back in April.
Six months later, it appears they’ve actually done it—but apparently that’s news to both the City and residents alike.
“City Council adopted a resolution on April 17 requesting that Hudson County reconfigure Willow Avenue between 14th St and 13th St to remove parking on the west side of the street between 14th St and 13th St to make way for a second southbound travel lane,” said Ryan Sharp, Director of Transportation & Parking for the City of Hoboken. “Hudson County took action to implement this on October 23 by restriping Willow Ave between 14th St and 13th St, which effectively converted space for approximately six parking spaces into space for the second southbound travel lane.”
Parking Dude, a Hoboken-based business that often finds itself at odds with the administration’s execution of parking policies, first reported on Monday that a number of cars were towed from that location over the week. Parking Dude’s Founder & CEO Andrew Impastato feels the City failed to adequately inform residents about the change.
“Even though high demand parking spots were eliminated, our users have mostly all agreed that those spots create an unnecessary and unsafe traffic bottle neck in the area during high volume times,” says Impastato. “However, the city administration once again fail in communicating, notifying, and alerting the masses of this immediate change. It is unfair and costly to those who were not aware who were towed. Whoever is in charge of communicating parking changes like this to the residents of Hoboken needs to do better.”
The City of Hoboken was unable to confirm how many cars were towed. Parking Dude says it was anywhere between two and five—one of which belonged to Melissa.
“I understand a ticket for me not looking at the signs,” admits Melissa, “but when you live across the street for three years you know when street cleaning is, and it was a weekend so I assumed all was fine as other cars were also parked there when I left it on Saturday.”
According to Director Sharp, “Signs were erected by Hudson County on the 23rd that say “No Stopping or Standing” on the west side of Willow Ave between 14th St and 13th St. It is my understanding that at least one car may have been towed since the changes were made on October 23, but that tow was not initiated by HPU (Hoboken Parking Utility).”
In response to Director Sharp’s statement, Melissa maintains that she, “got a call from the Hoboken City Hall when they were towing it, telling me it was them, so that’s interesting.”
Sharp also says that the City may now make the west side of Willow Ave between 14th St and 13th St a second southbound travel lane during peak hours and parking during off-peak hours/overnight. “This approach will help accommodate high traffic volumes during rush hour and high demand for parking during all other times” claims Sharp.
That might work, but communication with residents is an area that needs to be reconciled.
“At the end of the day it’s just frustrating as a resident who parks on the street,” says Melissa. “Again I get the ticket—it’s fine, I was irresponsible for not looking at the sign—but towing my car is a little ridiculous.”