The big squeeze Congestion downtown leads to parking crunch

An ominous sign hangs in the entrance area of the Feelgood Restaurant and Lounge on Paterson Plan Road: WARNING: DO NOT PARK IN THE CVS PARKING LOT OR YOU WILL BE TOWED.

A few businesses in downtown Secaucus – including CVS, China Chef, and some banks – boast ample parking space for their customers. Yet most of these businesses do not share that space with, or even lease their parking lots to, other businesses that lack adequate parking.

And with a shortage of available street and metered parking in the Plaza area, downtown businesses and their customers often find themselves at odds with each other, and with local residents.

Population growth in Secaucus only exacerbates the problem.

“I’m in a residential neighborhood. I don’t understand why I should have to put up with people parking in front of my house, making noise at 2:30 in a the morning,” said Humboldt Street resident Barbara Napierski last month, referring to restaurant patrons who park on her street.

Feelgood owner Caesar Sanchez said last month that he opened his restaurant in the center of town partly because he was under the impression that a parking tower was eventually going to be built there.

However, plans for the proposed parking tower have not moved forward.

Redevelopment plans in the works

But the town recently hired special counsel to help it draft a redevelopment plan for the Plaza area.

Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell said he has asked Town Administrator David Drumeler to meet with the special counsel to come up with preliminary plans on ways Secaucus can redevelop the downtown district. These redevelopment plans would include an assessment of parking in the area.

Elwell said he expects a preliminary report on possible redevelopment plans by early fall. The mayor, who has received many parking related complaints from residents dating back at least five years, acknowledges that parking in the center of town is a concern that needs to be addressed.

“The downtown district has been very busy lately, and that is a good sign,” he said. “But you need to have parking that encourages people to come to Secaucus and do business in the downtown district.”

“Parking is an important component that would create more business opportunities for people downtown,” Elwell added. “It would also encourage local people to stay here and patronize local businesses rather than go somewhere else. When there’s no parking, people have a tendency to go to the malls because it’s easier to park.”


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