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Ridgewood starts downtown valet service using public lots


Nicholas Katzban, Staff Writer, @NicholasKatzban

Ridgewood Councilman Ramon Hache sees one downside to restaurant valet service as towns across North Jersey try to boost their central business districts.

“Valet parking is great because each car that pulls into a valet lot is a car that’s not driving around the block over and over,” Hache said. “But for other businesses, that customer is not walking past other retailers.”

On Monday, Hache visited businesses along East Ridgewood Avenue to gauge their interest in a municipally run downtown valet service, which will begin a three-month pilot program on Friday, running through the end of December.

With a municipally operated valet service, he said, people dining downtown can enjoy the convenience of valet parking without the downside of door-to-door privatized valets, which can reduce impulse shopping at other businesses. Instead, customers can walk a few blocks back to the village’s valet station, passing other shops and cafes.

Each Friday and Saturday night, the angled parking along the west side of Van Neste Square and the commuter lot on South Broad Street will be closed at 4:30 p.m. Then, from 6 p.m. until 1 a.m. the village will offer valet service to anyone shopping or dining downtown.