I agree with the last comment. We also left several years ago, forced out by a job loss and increase in taxes. Lived through the Valley Expansion debacle and glad it was defeated. With all this development and that travesty of the parking garage Ridgewood will become another Montclair. It was hard to leave but with all that has happened in the past few years since our departure, I’m certain it was the right thing to do. And yes, that Town Garage has been an eyesore and issue of controversy for years. Make the speculators who bought it pay for clean up. It is not the responsibility of the tax payers but sadly it will probably end up as such
photo courtesy of RH
First, the parking garage; next, the Jehovah’s witnesses loitering the parameters. Here is my conspiracy: we are entering what is most comparable to what was seen on Handmaids tale… we are all under surveillance, and as a woman, I have fear for what’s to come for our humble village. Will there be any saving grace for our town. What is this tower? Why are there four cameras and tinted windows? Why hasn’t anyone told us what it is for? Why do we need a parking garage when we also have the Mount Carmel parking? Why are Jehovah’s witnesses than ever? Is our country under attack without our knowledge… tbd.
The garage loses about a million dollars a year for the life of the garage. Rate increases everywhere are not up for debate- they are the only way to come close to paying for the garage. Wait until the math wizards who voted ‘yes’ see that the garage rate will have to be lower than the street rate just to spur demand for the garage. This is just the start of the self imposed retail implosion from liberals, wait until they get the minimum wage hikes they want. What do you think $15/hr does to the CBD where the stores are tiny and the required revenue per square foot is already sky high to pay the rent? A rent that the village council wants to nearly double which was the whole reason to build the garage, increase the tax haul from the CBD. Only the ‘no’ voters did the math.
file photo by Boyd Loving
The increased parking fees are to pay for the new garage, pure and simple. No other explanation for them. The new parking garage is to cater to the new housing projects and restaurant owners who want the taxpayers to bail them out of their otherwise poor investments. Council never should have built the garage, shouldn’t raise our taxes and parking fees to do so and shouldn’t pander to the real estate interests.
file photo by Boyd Loving
The key questions for garage or no garage need clear answers.
1. What is the real situation with supply and demand of parking in downtown Ridgewood? There has been an abundance of sound and fury about how there is no shortage of parking and just as much about how often there are no parking spaces for consumers. We seem to have nothing more than anecdotal “evidence”. How about actual analysis?
2. How is parking used right now? How much of the parking is used by patrons of Rwood businesses, how much by commuters (resident and non resident), how much by employees of Rwood businesses?
3. How are the current parking spots allocated? Does the current allocation of dedicated employee parking work or is much of that parking going unused, putting a squeeze on available parking for consumers?
4. Which businesses could reasonably be expected to succeed or even grow in downtown Rwood? Will the trend toward restaurants and away from shopping continue?
5. Would a garage end up serving non-residents more than residents? If a garage were built, how could/should the parking fees and rules assure that the main benefit of the parking would go to Rwood taxpayers?
6. Bottom line – Is a garage needed or should the village reconfigure the existing parking?
7. What are the costs and benefits of running the current parking fee system? How much, if any, money is generated? Would Rwood be better off with free downtown parking (a system used by many surrounding towns)?
In my 24 years in Rwood, the village has spent huge sums studying the parking garage situation, without ever fixing anything. The money spent on studies over that time probably exceed the cost of building a parking structure. What a waste.
A decision to go with resident only parking is not elitist. It is based in simple economics. If Ridgewood taxpayer funds are used for the parking structures and for the lots and on-street parking, why shouldn’t the people who pay those taxes have preferential access to that parking? They have already contributed to the costs. I commuted by train for a while. Parking in Ridgewood anywhere near the station was almost impossible, but it was very easy to park in the HHK lot (not so easy now). Why would we give preference to non-residents? If they pay the same parking fee but do not pay Ridgewood taxes that support the parking, then they pay less for the same usage. That would be unfair to residents.
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, And when you dig in to the Walker Report 2015 , it gets worse. In 2017, the village hiked annual parking pass rates 25%. That money went right into the general fund for the village. The village has already accounted for and already spends that new $ and every other dime of parking fees it collects and still taxes rise. So if the current intake of taxpayer dollars and parking fees can’t support the village expenses, how would the additional $1.4 million dollars/year in garage expenses for the next 30 years get paid when the next round of proposed parking rake hikes only adds up to $325k a year?
This Village has to wake up to the math. A $9mm garage that increases parking by 140 spaces cost about $64,000 per space. If one were to assume that every one of those incremental spaces (because incremental space is what we are paying for) was filled 256 day per year, (360 less weekends), it would take about 10 years at $25 per space per day just to cover the $9mm construction cost. This is a wild ass assumption in its own right. A few other items to think about- i) we can’t build outdoor bathrooms without going over budget so that $9mm figure is a wish, ii) the math mentioned above does not take into consideration financing, operating and capital costs and iii) the Village should not underestimate the external costs associated with increased traffic in an already congested business district. I would guess that when those costs are realistically added in, this project will create significant deficits that would be funded by the tax payers. Hey, let’s go for it assuming we all know how much the pretty building will cost us and who really benefits from another white elephant.
file photo by Boyd Loving
An open letter to the Village Council re tonight’s VC Meeting. I cannot attend as I am on a business trip, but have written an open letter to the members of the Council. Please attend if you can, whether you agree with me or not. The key thing is for the Ridgewood Residents to be aware of all that is going on at the Council level and for their views to become known.
Dear VC Members:
I am traveling on business and so cannot attend. If there I would have made the following points:
1. Schedler: I would not spend a red cent on the Schedler house until you have some idea as to what we will be doing with it long-term. At what cost and for what use? What cost of operation and maintenance? As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, put together a committee of people knowledgeable about house restorations to advise if the house is worth saving. All this talk of a nationally recognized historic home is nonsense. What is the age of the house and what will it be restored as? Plus since Mayor Knudsen’s father lives across the street from the house, she should recuse herself from any consideration.
2. Parking garage: Has the VC no shame or sense of intellectual integrity? When will you get going on the Hudson St. Parking Deck? The idea of Mr. Sedon leading another study is laughable. Has he read the 10’s of thousands of pages of studies already undertaken, or are you using this as an excuse to do nothing? Shameful political cowardice!
3. Mayor Susan Knudsen’s new FB Page. Is this an official Village of Ridgewood page or the start of the Knudsen/Sedon 2018 reelection campaign. I would appreciate Mr. Matt Rogers’ input since the page uses the Village of Ridgewood logo.
This is being copied to the press and to Facebook. Let the sun shine in!
RE: October 4th,the Ridgewood Planning Board will be discussing the Conflict of Interest complaint
Get out and speak up. No, get out and shout. If the Aronsohn projects go through, our downtown may never recover and the Aronsohn blight will spread through town over the next decade. We’ve all spent a lot of tax dollars to maintain this town, let’s not give it up to a handful of land speculators who have to be laughing gleefully at the stupidity of the Aronsohn council majority.
More importantly, the conflict issue raised by these citizens calls out to all of us. Is this how we want our local government to be run? If these allegations are true, we need to put that truth into the light of fay and take appropriate action. If we don’t, what message do we tell the next generation? Just as importantly,, what message do we send to the next round of land speculators who want to take over another section of town for their own profit? Do we want that message to be: “Sure, get some friends placed on our planning board and walk all over us.”
So,email or call your planning board representatives. Show up at the meeting. Write tot he town council, especially those we just elected and tell them you want action.
Please also consider sending the following note to the Planning Board and our Mayor via email:
Dear Mayor Knudsen, Chairman Joel and Planning Board Members,
I am aware that a group of concerned residents delivered a Motion of Complaint to the Ridgewood Planning Board, under By Law Sections 2.13 and 7.21, dated September 16th. Their motion brings to light a series of conflicts of interest and unacceptable mistakes that impacted the high density housing votes. It spotlights the truly defective process by which these highly unpopular ordinances (3489, 3490, 3491 and 3493) were passed. It is not right for Ridgewood residents to have such important decisions made, and the future of our village impacted, by a forum influenced by potential personal conflicts and/or mistakes. Preventing such actions is clearly the intent of the Planning Board’s own By Laws.
Therefore, I fully support the motion made by these residents. I ask that the Board stop all current high density site plan reviews and promptly begin a complete review of the residents’ complaints. Should any conflicts or mistakes be found, the Ordinance votes and Ordinances themselves should be rescinded and reevaluated via a proper and untainted process.
Secretary Cafarelli, please forward/print this email to all Planning Board members.
Thanks for considering this request.