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.