Now, a 55-space garage is planned for 11 East 25th Street, just off Broadway’s busiest intersection, and another garage is planned for the parking lot next to the Polish American Community Home on 22nd Street and Delmonte Drive behind a residential building under construction on Broadway.
The two garages will be private, available to the public only as metered parking; other spaces in the garages will be reserved for residents of new apartment buildings currently under construction. The rates of the garages will be determined by the buildings’ developers.
“We always said that we want to revitalize Broadway, and people don’t want to come if they can’t park,” said Bayonne City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski. “So, we’re trying to help out the merchants there.”
The 22nd Street garage is not designed yet, but Bayonne Business Administrator Joe DeMarco said, “It’s a building you can skin. It’s a panelized skin you can put around it and do whatever you want with. The desire is to make it blend in with the Polish-American Home and the buildings surrounding it.”
The city council has been looking for solutions to the city’s parking shortage for years. With the anticipation of a population rise as new residential buildings are constructed, those efforts have accelerated.
“We always said that we want to revitalize Broadway, and people don’t want to come if they can’t park.” – Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski
“The number one complaint in town has always been parking, so we’re still looking at additional places where we can do the same sort of arrangements,” said Ashe-Nadrowski. “We can start to build up with our density and build these garages to keep cars off the streets.”
In the spring, the council made it legal for residents to block their own driveways. The city’s rationale was to free up more parking for residents who do not have their own parking spaces. Bayonne’s influx of vehicles has been a long-term trend that is now beginning to wane as Bayonne’s municipal government has encouraged dense development in much of the city and nearby light rail stations. With dense development, residents tend to walk, bike, or take public transit.
“The truth is that when we were kids, we didn’t have two, three cars in the family,” said Ashe-Nadrowski in an April interview. “People used to share cars, although many people are going back to fewer cars, especially near the light rails.”
Cities like Bayonne were never designed to accommodate so many cars. Since 1960, U.S. population rose by about 180 percent, while the number of cars rose by more than 350 percent, according U.S. Census and Department of Transportation data. A simultaneous increase in the supply of cars and decrease in park-able space results in parking scarcity, which brings the city to the current moment.
Not only did most families generally have only one car, but family members could park it on the street, in front of the house, in alleys behind the house, on the side of the house, in a detached garage, in front of the driveway—basically in any space not used by pedestrians.
Rory Pasquariello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.