Will free parking boost Hoboken economy?

Letter: Hoboken residents and visitors deserve free parking

Hoboken council members Theresa Castellano and Michael Russo will be presenting a great idea at tonight’s city council meeting to stimulate the local economy – especially after Hurricane Sandy – and the failed Small Business Saturday.

Do you think this plan would work? Or does Mayor Dawn Zimmer need to keep stuffing city coffers so she can give out more pay raises to her friends in the administration during fledgling financial times?

Free parking in Hoboken during December

First Ward City Councilwoman Theresa Castellano, and Third Word Councilman Michael Russo tonight will ask the city administration to suspend on-street parking regulations, for the entire month of December.

Traditionally, the City provides free holiday parking in the weeks prior to Christmas, but the council members believe the gesture should be extended for the entire month in response to super storm Sandy in October.

“Businesses are hurting and we don’t expect PATH service in Hoboken to resume until possibly mid-December,” said Councilwoman Castellano, who owns and operates City Discount on Washington Street. “We need a month of free parking to lure consumers to come to our community and shop locally,” she said.

She noted that last weekend’s Small Business Saturday failed to generate increased citywide consumer spending, in part, due to the closure of the Hoboken PATH station. “We have customers from New York and Jersey City who rely on mass transportation.”

Councilman Russo noted that the loss of parking revenue could be offset by consumer spending by out-of-towners and City residents. “We need to get the message out that Hoboken is open for business. Our business owners have worked hard for the past month and this is a way to reward their efforts and perseverance. Our unique shops and restaurants are the economic backbone of our community,” he said.

The council members will ask their colleagues and the city administration to approve the measure at tonight’s City Council meeting.

22 Responses

  1. Alpuj says:

    Dumb, dumb, dumb. How will a car being able to be left on Washington for 23 hours straight help increase business? Do these people realize that by creating turnover in parking spaces by having people pay the meters helps to increase turnover of spots, which makes more parking available?? Free parking would be fine if you had sufficent number of spaces but we don’t. Making them free and not enforcing meter limits will reduce the number of spaces for consumers.

    If you want to make the parking garages free…thats another story.

    Also if you are worried about the lost business from “customers from New York and Jersey City who rely on mass transportation” how will free parking help? These people rely on mass transit because they don’t have cars. Parking is not a concern of these consumers.

    If you can afford to buy local, you can afford to pay the meter, or park in a parking spot, or find a 4 hour-non resident spot.

    • adamk says:

      It is discusting to see that this is how the city decided to make up their lost money during hurricane Sandy. This is not only insuting to me, who has lost everything during the hurricane, buy also sad and horrifying that not only I am staring from scratch I fear of getting a boot on my car. This is the last useless expense I need. Prior to Sandy, parking was relaxed and people felt more comfortable. Now all of a sudden, I have seen 4 boots yesterday and so far 3 today. Wow, seriously! Where is your dignity! People are still trying to get back on their feet! Businesses are still trying to make up for their losses! Stop putting boots on cars! This is one expense people really dont need! This is discusting! Zimmer if you are smart put a stop to this insult! Path is still not operationsl! Serisoulsy and this is how WE are paying for it????Parking should be free at all times! The town makes enough money as is, what do you need the extra cash for ? Raise? Vacation? You should be ashamed![quote comment=”218449″]Dumb, dumb, dumb. How will a car being able to be left on Washington for 23 hours straight help increase business? Do these people realize that by creating turnover in parking spaces by having people pay the meters helps to increase turnover of spots, which makes more parking available?? Free parking would be fine if you had sufficent number of spaces but we don’t. Making them free and not enforcing meter limits will reduce the number of spaces for consumers.If you want to make the parking garages free…thats another story.Also if you are worried about the lost business from “customers from New York and Jersey City who rely on mass transportation” how will free parking help? These people rely on mass transit because they don’t have cars. Parking is not a concern of these consumers.If you can afford to buy local, you can afford to pay the meter, or park in a parking spot, or find a 4 hour-non resident spot.[/quote]

  2. 9th Street says:

    Sure it would work, but also make parking in city garages free during business hours too.

    And maybe even extend into January, so people can return the overpriced crap they foolishly bought. 😉

  3. Civic66 says:

    How about they worry more about fixing the general problem with parking. I knew of the parking situation in Hoboken prior to buying a home here, but it’s a shame that as a resident it’s difficult to find free on-street parking in my own town.

    How about building municipal parking garages on areas that are already open-air parking lots. Such as the parking lot behind the Monroe Center (between 7th and 8th on Monroe Street) or the Shoprite parking lot.

  4. briank says:

    This won’t do anything. People don’t go online to a city website to see if there might be free parking to save themselves $1.50 as a determining factor to actually going to that town. The biggest factor here is the lack of PATH train service, not parking.

  5. tapertaper says:

    Cheaper parking = more cars looking to park. Is that really a good idea? Do we have so much extra parking space that we can give it away for free?

    More cars from out of town = more dangerous streets. Hoboken is a very difficult place to drive around in. Mostly because cars huddle up against the intersection (illegally) because…

    there’s not enough parking.

  6. AMG1055 says:

    I’d rather have a crowded city with shoppers looking for parking than a ghost town. The free parking would at the very least sway the drivers who’ve sworn off coming to Hoboken because of the parking racket. We need all the help we can get, and bitching about traffic when we need the commerce badly is stupid. Stop whining!

    • Alpuj says:

      Free parking does not create parking spaces! What good is free spots if there is no place to park. People are not discouraged from coming to Hoboken because it costs a few bucks to park, they don’t come because there isn’t any spots. Making it free is doing the opposite.[quote comment=”218454″]I’d rather have a crowded city with shoppers looking for parking than a ghost town. The free parking would at the very least sway the drivers who’ve sworn off coming to Hoboken because of the parking racket. We need all the help we can get, and bitching about traffic when we need the commerce badly is stupid. Stop whining![/quote]

      • AMG1055 says:

        So using your logic, making parking $10 an hour for December would work perfectly?[quote comment=”218455″]Free parking does not create parking spaces! What good is free spots if there is no place to park. People are not discouraged from coming to Hoboken because it costs a few bucks to park, they don’t come because there isn’t any spots. Making it free is doing the opposite.[/quote]

      • Alpuj says:

        No, there is a middle ground. Ideally the parking spaces in the metered spots should be 85% occupied. What cost would get that occupied %? Depends on the the day of the week and the time, but my guess is that it is pretty close to the $1/hr it is now.

        Again, if there is free parking residents/business owners who have no desire to move their car more than once a day will gobble up those premium spots and there will be no spots for these consumers. If there is some cost (like the $1/hr it is now) it discourages people from just sitting in spots, and allows a decent turnover of spaces.

        My guess is that the factors that keep people away from Hoboken shopping are:
        1. Traffic getting into Hoboken
        2. Finding parking in Hoboken
        3. Lack of stores/products they desire
        4. Prices of items in Hoboken stores vs. other “big box”/online stores
        5. Lack of knoweldge of what is available in Hoboken
        6. Cost of parking

        Cost of parking is probably the least of all of those concerns, and by making parking free you are actually making factors 1 & 2 worse.[quote comment=”218462″]So using your logic, making parking $10 an hour for December would work perfectly?[/quote]

  7. HomeTeam says:

    I would think the actual problem is the lack of stores of any interest. There really isn’t anything unique here that would make someone brave the traffic and the ticket nazis. Castalllanos place sells bags of tube socks etc, good for the poor and chronic masturbaters. Psuedo-Maggies Place, see Castallanos place. The Chinese Massage parlor, see Castallanos place, but for the lazy.

  8. Chow says:

    Russo also supports letting commercial trucks parking on residential streets overnight taking up valuable parking – not smart!!!

  9. Stella says:

    How will the loss of revenue to the City be offset by consumer spending by out of towners and residents? Businesses will benefit from any increase in sales but not a penny of it will go the city. All businesses (and bars) are subsidised by the City by getting free garbage collection and not having to pay for it. How about they refund customers their parking fees if they spend more than a certain amount?

  10. ohnoivotedforher says:

    I have an idea, free valet parking. You give me your keys, and I park your car for free.

    Pick-up your car at the Bayonne dock if it isn’t already on a ship on its way to South America

  11. Snip119 says:

    There is one other problem with Hoboken shopping not mentioned – the fact that almost all of Hudson County, with the EXCEPTION OF HOBOKEN, has the Enterprise Tax Rate of 3.5%. Since we got hit so hard with Sandy, why doesn’t Mayor Zimmer apply to the state for the reduced tax rate? Even if its temporary for the next year or two it would help recovering businesses and shoppers.

    If I was mayor I would be actively trying to recruit businesses that would pull shoppers in – such as a Trader Joe’s, a Whole Foods, or even a Target. One or two good stores will pull customers in and help the mom & pop stores in the area by attracting more customers into Hoboken.

    • joey maxim says:

      shop in Hoboken? your kidding..These stores are over priced and silly…Not one bargin store for odds and ends.. The mall is your best bet..but but..it’s one’s choice..enjoy .[quote comment=”218466″]There is one other problem with Hoboken shopping not mentioned – the fact that almost all of Hudson County, with the EXCEPTION OF HOBOKEN, has the Enterprise Tax Rate of 3.5%. Since we got hit so hard with Sandy, why doesn’t Mayor Zimmer apply to the state for the reduced tax rate? Even if its temporary for the next year or two it would help recovering businesses and shoppers.If I was mayor I would be actively trying to recruit businesses that would pull shoppers in – such as a Trader Joe’s, a Whole Foods, or even a Target. One or two good stores will pull customers in and help the mom & pop stores in the area by attracting more customers into Hoboken.[/quote]

    • HeidiP says:

      I understand your thought here, but putting something like a Target is exactly what will push the mom & pop stores out.
      [quote comment=”218466″]There is one other problem with Hoboken shopping not mentioned – the fact that almost all of Hudson County, with the EXCEPTION OF HOBOKEN, has the Enterprise Tax Rate of 3.5%. Since we got hit so hard with Sandy, why doesn’t Mayor Zimmer apply to the state for the reduced tax rate? Even if its temporary for the next year or two it would help recovering businesses and shoppers.If I was mayor I would be actively trying to recruit businesses that would pull shoppers in – such as a Trader Joe’s, a Whole Foods, or even a Target. One or two good stores will pull customers in and help the mom & pop stores in the area by attracting more customers into Hoboken.[/quote]

    • homeworld says:

      There’s a Target about 500 feet from the Hoboken already. You seriously think they’d put a second one?[quote comment=”218466″]There is one other problem with Hoboken shopping not mentioned – the fact that almost all of Hudson County, with the EXCEPTION OF HOBOKEN, has the Enterprise Tax Rate of 3.5%. Since we got hit so hard with Sandy, why doesn’t Mayor Zimmer apply to the state for the reduced tax rate? Even if its temporary for the next year or two it would help recovering businesses and shoppers.If I was mayor I would be actively trying to recruit businesses that would pull shoppers in – such as a Trader Joe’s, a Whole Foods, or even a Target. One or two good stores will pull customers in and help the mom & pop stores in the area by attracting more customers into Hoboken.[/quote]

  12. Krill says:

    Did they vote for free parking?

  13. OpenEyes says:

    How about apply to the state for no TAXES on goods for the month to help the town recover

  14. Snip119 says:

    The distance isn’t necessarily a problem. Look at Tonnelle Avenue up in North Bergen where Home Depot and Lowes are right next to each other, with another home improvement center on the next block. Up in Secaucus the Walmart and Sam’s Club came in and look at how it opened up the area (Home Goods, pet store, AC Moore crafts, Sports Authority etc. all opened up in the area). We need some kind of destination shopping. And the comment about having no odds and ends store is spot-on. I miss having an old style five and dime store like the old McCorys. We unfortunately have the wrong mix of stores, and how does one make money with the kind of rents these stores have to pay?

    • Alpuj says:

      Well I don’t consider any of the big box stores “destination shopping”. I mean why would anyone come to Hoboken to go to a Target (for example) when their own town plus 5 other towns they drive past have the exact same thing. Hoboken is just not a great retail market, but thats a similar problem with any downtown. Mom & Pop shops have been dying out for 50 years across the US. Hoboken is no different. Chains can afford the higher rent because of their corporate backing, and they can afford the cheaper prices because they are buying in bulk. Mom and Pop can only exist if the local community will support them. I am a big fan of buying local, I just don’t think its something you can just sit and hope and wish it to be a success.[quote comment=”218497″]The distance isn’t necessarily a problem. Look at Tonnelle Avenue up in North Bergen where Home Depot and Lowes are right next to each other, with another home improvement center on the next block. Up in Secaucus the Walmart and Sam’s Club came in and look at how it opened up the area (Home Goods, pet store, AC Moore crafts, Sports Authority etc. all opened up in the area). We need some kind of destination shopping. And the comment about having no odds and ends store is spot-on. I miss having an old style five and dime store like the old McCorys. We unfortunately have the wrong mix of stores, and how does one make money with the kind of rents these stores have to pay?[/quote]

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