the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, the Ridgewood blog staff translates Jeff Voigt’s recent pro garage letter to the editor .
One of the initiatives important to Ridgewood council members elected last year is to build a garage on Hudson Street, an area close to the train station. Prime users are rail commuters during the day and restaurant goers at night. NOPE – the taxpayers do not need to spend a fortune just so commuters can park in an ugly garage and restaurants can pad their wallets.
In this three block area, there are 50 restaurants with close to 3,000 seats. Ordinances that deal with such intensity of use issues generally call for one parking space for every two to three restaurant seats or; approximately 1,250 parking spaces needed for the restaurants alone. There is a supply of 655 parking spaces in this area. This is total bullshit. At any given time there are more empty spaces in Ridgewood than you can count. Just walk a block or two before sitting down to your meal. This is some funky math that our elected official is playing with.
Add to this, that on any given night approximately 280 of these spaces are taken up by restaurant employees. In other words, the supply is actually 375 spaces for restaurants goers or; a shortage of 875 spaces. In my conversations with restaurant owners, they’ve told me during the first seating for the Thursday through Saturday high-demand times, their customers are able to find a parking space. However, at the second seating many out-of-towners will drive around for 15-20 minutes in frustration, not find a parking space and then leave. This obviously hurts our village’s businesses. The central valet may solve this. Or they can park on Cottage place and walk two blocks, just like you would do in the city. Come on people…..walk a little, or spend millions and millions of dollars on an ugly garage?
Back in 2015, a non-binding referendum for a garage on Hudson Street was voted 2-1 in favor for building a garage by voters. So why can’t the Village Council move forward on this? Voigt conveniently fails to mention that in 2016 there were TWO referendums that reversed this, one of which was binding. And he conveniently fails to mention that the 2015 referendum was flawed because Aronsohn and company gave false information to the voters who thought they were just voting for “more parking.” Furthermore, Voigt neglects to mention that he signed the two VOTE NO TO THE GARAGE petitions, he collected signatures himself for these, he solicited people to sign, he made a video encouraging people to sign, and his wife and daughter signed.
In early February, a subcommittee was formed to figure out how best to move forward in building the garage. The mayor and one other council member volunteered quickly for the committee, preventing other council members from serving. Due to public meeting laws, no more than two council members can be present at any one time on official business. The Mayor said on October 4 at the Village Counci meeting that no such subcommittee was ever formed, she is therefore obviously not on it, and other members of the council all agreed publicly at the meeting that they are not on it and it does not exist. Voigt was conveniently (and inexplicably) not in attendance at the meeting on October 4.
I believe the mayor needs to be taken off the garage subcommittee and replaced by a council member who wants the garage built. Why she is on it, is a mystery to me. She has never come out publicly in support of the Hudson Street garage. The Mayor cannot be taken off a subcommittee that exists only in the fantasy corners of Voigt’s corrupted brain. Furthermore, the Mayor did in fact publicly support the Hudson Street garage, voting in favor of it while stating that it needed to be smaller. Another FACT that Voigt gets wrong.
Information coming out of the garage sub-committee has been virtually non-existent. Even as a council person, I often first hear about the Hudson Street garage at public meetings. There is no garage subcommittee. Got it Jeff? It does not exist.
The public has a right to know about such issues as building a garage. It is their money that will be spent. The public has a right to know that Councilman Voigt spews lies with every breath he exhales.
Ridgewood, Sept. 24
The writer is a soon-to-be-former Ridgewood councilman.