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Chamber Supports Parking Garage at Lot 7

The chamber's position is the opposite of the opinion of the neighborhood.

While Millburn Train Station neighbors have requested Lot 2, away from their neighborhood, be considered for a parking garage, the Millburn-Short Hills Chamber of Commerce endorses the garage be built on Lot 7.

Shayne Miller, chamber president, issued a statement to the township committee from the chamber supporting the garage on Lot 7, which is along Glen Avenue. The committee is analyzing the options of building the garage at Lot 7 or on Lot 2, which is at the corner of Lackwanna Place and Essex Street.

The chamber's two main concerns are freeing up space in Lot 2 currently used for valet and commuter parking to be used for diners and shoppers. Additionally, there is concern about the impact of area businesses during construction.

Residents at recent meetings on the topic of commuter parking have suggested Lot 2, citing how it would be a benefit to both commuters and the downtown businesses.

"The goal of the this project has nothing to do with the businesses," Miller said in an interview on Tuesday. "It would be most beneficial to the businesses to free up that lot ... We all would like a centrally-located lot, but that is not what this project is about."

Plus the project could have serious ramifications during construction, he said, because it would tie up the 300 parking spaces for 6-9 months.

"The damage on the businesses could be just as serious as what has happened during the (Millburn Avenue) bridge project and the businesses in that area," Miller said. "The businesses in that area rely on Lot 2."

The chamber's position also puts them at odds with the opinions of the train station neighbors on Glen Avenue and Cape Court. But Miller said chamber members have been to the site and don't think a garage would have a significant impact on the neighbors because of how set back from the area they are.

"If we felt this would truly impact (the neighbors), we wouldn't push this position," he said.

He said the garage could improve things for the neighbors by cutting down on the noise of the trains. He cited how township officials try to make things look aesthetically pleasing. He suggested township officials work with the arts committee to find ways to beautify a garage. "A parking garage doesn't have to be ugly," he said.

Damian February 08, 2011 at 07:20 PM
Shayne, I've never been unable to find a parking spot downtown-ever. We don't have a parking problem, we have a walking problem. The Taylor Street lot always has spots, Lot 2 always has spots, the lot between Dunkin Donuts and Town Hall always has spots. People should just be fine with making a two minute walk to their favorite downtown store. The best solution; restripe our commuter lots in Short Hills and Millburn and we'll be just fine. Cutting trees in Short Hills or a concrete box in downtown are both affronts to township residents.
frustrated resident February 08, 2011 at 07:24 PM
People currently drive along Glen Avenue as if it is a freeway and putting a parking deck there will make the problem exponentially worse. There are dozens of children that live in the area and their safety is not being considered at all. I have heard stronger arguments made for the well being of the trees than the children. Not to mention the crime that the parking garage is sure to bring with it. We are so caught up in where we should build this garage and we should focus on the fact that there is no real need for it. I am a daily commuter and there is plenty of parking and people LOVE the valet.
J S Beckerman February 08, 2011 at 07:46 PM
Amy: Why should the town pay for any portion of the valet service? Shouldn't there be a commensurate charge to defray costs...or charge a greater fee for the valet lot.
Damian February 08, 2011 at 08:18 PM
The first sentence of this article is incorrect. No one is 'requesting' a garage on Lot 2, it's just the less repulsive option of two proposed. Whatever benefits the Chamber of Commerce members will be matched by loss of property values near the proposed concrete box. In this economy, where more and more people telecommute, this is ill advised and will be a blight rather than an answer.
Damian February 08, 2011 at 08:19 PM
It's user based, the entire cost of valet parking is paid from commuter parking revenues-the town doesn't pay a cent.
Jennifer Connic February 08, 2011 at 08:19 PM
They've requested the committee consider Lot 2, not Lot 7, and drop any plans for Lot 7.
Jennifer Connic February 08, 2011 at 08:21 PM
I clarified it just for you, Damian. :)
Damian February 08, 2011 at 08:26 PM
That's clear Jen, but as written it makes it appear they're asking for a garage to be built. I'm sure they're saying 'if it has to be built put it farther away from our homes and children.' I don't think there is a groundswell of support from any downtown homeowners for a garage at all.
Noreen Brunini February 08, 2011 at 09:01 PM
Jen: Any chance you could post a map with the Parking Lot #'s indicated? I'm assuming lot # 7 is the one near the first aid squad, is that correct?
Jennifer Connic February 08, 2011 at 09:05 PM
You are correct. I struggle with labeling the locations because if I say the corner of Glen and Lackawanna, I could also mean the library lot. And I added a photo (available on the DMDA website) showing a map of parking downtown. Hope that helps.
J S Beckerman February 08, 2011 at 09:16 PM
"I don't think there is a groundswell of support from any downtown homeowners for a garage at all." Of course....NIMBY philosophy at work. The lot has to be near the downtown as that's the business center in town.
Damian February 08, 2011 at 09:48 PM
There is more than adequate parking for people shopping downtown as is. The proposed concrete box will be dedicated to M-F commuter parkers, of which the argument has yet to be made that it's needed. jsb, re:NIMBY- would you want something in your neighborhood which would make it more polluted, less safe for you and your children, and reduce your property values? How fast was the petition formed to oppose the coal chute expansion, lol. Restriping both the Short Hills and Millburn parking lots will at least buy a few years, leaving plenty of time to do a thorough examination of the actual need, if any.
J S Beckerman February 08, 2011 at 09:53 PM
Residents on Glen cannot be shocked as they live immediately adjacent to the commercial district which was there when they bought their houses...as were the commuter lots. Restriping might work...but the high school restriped and anyone with a car wider than a Mini Cooper has a tight fit.
Damian February 08, 2011 at 10:03 PM
Residents near Chatham Road cannot be shocked as they live immediately adjacent to the commercial district which was there when they bought their houses ...as were the commuter lots. So I guess you don't oppose the Summit Medical Group plans to expand their site on the corner of Woodland and Chatham?
J S Beckerman February 08, 2011 at 10:07 PM
The Chatham Road commercial district is relatively minute, so please stop insulting my intelligence by comparing raisins to watermelons. I do not object to the SMGs plans for a satellite office.
J S Beckerman February 08, 2011 at 10:10 PM
I also want a Stop + Shop at the old Saks and was thrilled that someone moved into the old Lord + Taylor site after Whole Foods bolted.
Damian February 08, 2011 at 10:15 PM
So your point is that because people bought near a parking lot they should have to bear an increase in pollution, have their property devalued, and the safety of their family lessened? Short Hills residents jumped all over the coal chute/SMG expansion plans for all of the same reasons.
J S Beckerman February 08, 2011 at 10:21 PM
"So your point is that because people bought near a parking lot they should have to bear an increase in pollution, have their property devalued, and the safety of their family lessened?" Of course not, as that is a biased question. They should understand that the character of their neighborhood is and has been quasi-commercial and the inherent risk therein is encroachment and magnification of collateral infrastructure. To think otherwise is akin to burying your head in the sand. Why must you continually misconstrue my position and proffer disingenuous arguments?
Damian February 08, 2011 at 11:25 PM
Your argument about living in a quasi-commercial area equalling taking a risk that unwanted structures are part of the deal-well, the argument sure doesn't work for the residents near the SMG site, now does it? In fact, the northbound side of the Millburn Station train tracks is just parking and the First Aid Squad, while Chatham Road has a gas station, retail, a busy Post Office, commercial businesses on the back side of the strip mall, a large and soon to be larger office building, as well as a large rental apartment complex. On the facts, the Short Hills Station area is much more 'quasi-commercial' than the northside train track/Glen Avenue area.
MarkDS February 08, 2011 at 11:34 PM
jsb, Commuter parking permit fees fully cover the cost of the valet. As they would for any deck built.
Noreen Brunini February 09, 2011 at 12:23 AM
Thank you! Wondering what happened to the phantom lots which are missing numbers...
Charles February 09, 2011 at 02:43 AM
Hey kids, anyone wander around the Millburn commuter lots yet and see if the proportion of commuter-permit stickers is the same as at the Short Hills commuter lots ( about 10%)? Or if the proportion of cars showing no stickers at all is the same (about 20%)? Until we get some decent hard facts, it seems like this is just a playground food fight. Enforcement is the issue, until proven otherwise.
Edward Garbade February 09, 2011 at 03:18 AM
As I remember the tax collector at town hall telling me, lots 3, 8, 10, 11, 13 and 14 are at the Short Hills train station. Two of the lots (either 10 and 11 or 13 and 14) are the two rail head lots, two are the lots across the street from the train station, and one is the coal dump lot. I know I'm missing one lot in that list, but I can't recall what.
Jennifer Connic February 09, 2011 at 03:20 AM
I'm pretty sure 14 is the lot behind the stores on the Short Hills end of Millburn Avenue.
Edward Garbade February 09, 2011 at 03:25 AM
I found another map on the town website that lists a bunch. But not lots 17 and 18 are missing :S


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