Keith Kaplan and Jim Dunleavy: A forward looking view to addressing parking in Teaneck

A resident wrote me, stating commuters are constantly blocking her street and asked what I thought could be done to address Teaneck’s parking needs.
(If you have an issue you’d like to hear my views on, please click here to write me)

We need to address our parking needs in Teaneck. Hardly a council meeting goes by without a request from a portion of Town to create some kind of parking restrictions, typically to deal with commuters crowding streets or leaving cars around businesses.  On my block (which is near FDU, bus stops, parks and Rt. 4), congestion problems led to parking being is prohibited (except for Sundays and holidays).  But the problem didn’t go away — it moved to the next block (which now has parking restrictions for 2 hours a day to deter commuters).  This pattern repeats itself throughout the township and these restrictions create annoyances for the average resident, who just wants to park in front of their home.

We hear it on streets that are near bus stops.
We hear it at the apartments.
We hear it during snow emergencies.

There is a lack of adequate parking…  but only at certain times.

Some Townships have resorted to old-fashioned solutions — parking decks or meters.  They are inefficient and costly.  Parking decks take up space that can be put to better use and disincentivize people from patronizing our shopping districts.

Are there better options?

Yes!  Other towns are harnessing the power of technology to try a new and better way to handle parking shortages.  In 2016, Summit, NJ was facing similar parking questions.

Specifically, Summit faced a decision as to whether they should build a new parking lot for $10 million? Instead the municipality teamed up with Uber to create a pilot program for commuters.

The Uber pilot program would:

  • Let commuters sign up for a monthly fee (equivalent to monthly commuter lot fees)
  • Entitled commuters to a ride to and from mass transit each day.
  • Commuters could take a subsidized trip for $2 to business districts in town (the subsidy is paid directly to Uber)

This cooperative arrangement cost Summit approximately $167,000 a year.  They can run that program for about 60 years for the cost of the new parking lot (and that’s before the interest on the bonding).

The program has been successful (they now team with Lyft instead of Uber).  It allows for spots to be left empty, creating an efficient use of space for shoppers.  They even allow you to sign up electronically.

Teaneck can benefit from these kinds of programs.  We should be meeting with Uber and Lyft to coordinate rides to and from our business districts, the Rodda Center and commuting areas.

Demographic trends have already changed how younger people commute and move about.  As new apartments come online and create demand, homes open up.  As people downsize, this trend will continue.

The need for parking spaces has changed, but we have not changed with the times.

If elected, I would propose this type of pilot program for Teaneck’s commuters and seniors.  If it’s as successful as it has been elsewhere, we can then expand it to shopping districts.  We can create a shuttle program to help seniors and others make their way around the Township.

Together, we can begin to change the way we move within the Township.

Keith Kaplan and Jim Dunleavy: A New Vision For Smarter Development

8 thoughts on “Keith Kaplan and Jim Dunleavy: A forward looking view to addressing parking in Teaneck”

  1. keith,
    there are parking restrictions near the teaneck armory that impact englewood residents that want to take the teaneck rd busses. How does your plan address this. By the way no one parks on those restricted streets. seems quite unfair and unneighborly. A mild version of Leonias traffic restrictions

    1. If this program proves successful (as it has been elsewhere), I would hope that we could get buy-in from neighboring municipalities. It’s in everyone’s best interests to solve traffic and parking problems.

      Once commuters’ needs are sufficiently addressed, anyone can use those spots to shop or visit locations nearby.

  2. Summit’s Mass transit Commuters primarily travel to and from NYC from one central location- the train station. The situation is quite different in Teaneck, whose commuters board buses at numerous locations, usually within a walking distance. A profit making solution to parking might be for Teaneck to consider issuing a residency parking sticker program, with an option for out-of-towners to purchase a monthly daytime parking permit a reasonable fee.

    I think transit options such as an around town shuttle service would greatly benefit both the community and local businesses.

    1. I’m not discounting any of these options. We need to take all of these ideas into account when look for solutions. When we enable parking restrictions on a particular street due to commuters, we don’t actually address the underlying issues. We merely play whack-a-mole as drivers move to the next block in search of parking options as they commute.

      We currently have commuter lots where this would be a viable options. We also have space (e.g. near the Glenpointe) where we could organize ride-shares. This can certainly be an option we consider for neighboring municipalities to contact with as well. And while each of these mini-programs wouldn’t solve the parking problems on their own, they would work with each other in a collaborative way, to address the larger issues. At that point, we can fine tune the programs to fit our needs.

      I look forward to getting feedback from residents, such as yourself so we can make this work in Teaneck.

  3. Keith: Do the restrictions on roads get applied equally or are residents of those roads exempt? And if there are no exemptions, do you think there should be?

    1. Restrictions are currently applied across the board. In areas where residents only may park and decals are issued, the decals can be obtained by all residents.

      While it’s possible to limit the Township parking by ward (as is done in areas such as New Brunswick), it requires additional enforcement and head counts are what drive costs. I would not be opposed to looking into possibilities which limit parking if the problems are pervasive, but my ultimate goal here is to curb behavior in a way that’s beneficial for everyone.

  4. Decals for residents, what about new homeowners who have not changed their licenses and vehicles to NJ, and after one year they still have NY plates?

    Residents decals: proof you live in the town !!’

  5. Kevin you bring up a good point. Keith and I have discussed the expansion of the shuttle service to get around town as a way to increase access to our business areas. Of course every idea does have monies associated with it. We are looking at ways to increase revenues without increasing property taxes while looking for opportunities for more cost efficient township services is very important to us. Other options such as trying to partner with UBER and Lyft to make them cost effective for use around town is another way to increase access to our businesses and be a valued added service to our residents is another area we want to pursue.

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