Ridgewood Offering Free Parking During Holiday Season

Parking will be free on five Saturdays between Thanksgiving and Christmas after the council agreed to a proposal from the chamber of commerce and guild.

The council is catching some holiday cheer, taking up the Ridgewood business community's pitch to have free parking on the streets and lots during the year's most critical shopping period.

According to the plan – expected to pass unanimously in November – the village will be offering free parking on the five Saturdays between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Both the lots and street meters will be free, though the village won't exactly be shouting it from the rafters.

Citing an interest in capturing revenue from those unaware of the free parking, the village won't be covering the meters with bags. The financial losses to the village's coffers could be worth five figures.

But the discussion did lead to one larger question on Wednesday night.

"If you're saying meters stand in the way of business even in the busiest season, why use them at all?" Deputy Mayor Albert Pucciarelli asked.

So, residents, what do you think of the holiday parking gift? Good idea? Bad idea? Are parking meters even necessary?

Add your thoughts in the comments below.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

News Man October 25, 2012 at 10:43 AM
WOW! There goes the "Petty Cash" account..!!! But, Deputy Mayor Albert Pucciarelli is right "why have them at all".
Mikka H October 25, 2012 at 10:52 AM
after running a business downtown for many years this is a no brainer......there is no better wat to loose a customer than to have them get a ticket from the municipality whilst trying to business with me.....quite frankly it's an insult in this day and age....people will simply take there business elsewhere........
Moist Cake October 25, 2012 at 01:22 PM
ok, so get rid of the meters.... I guess businesses don't want customer turnover and you can bet the farm commuters would love to hog those spaces all day. The purpose of the meters isn't just to generate revenue, its to prevent space hogging and allow for customer turnover. It gives people more parking options. Just my 2 cents.
John S. October 25, 2012 at 01:25 PM
"Free parking" does not equal "available parking" I have lived in Ridgewood/Ho-Ho-Kus for the last 35 years and I avoid shopping/dining in Ridgewood because of the limited parking situation, not because I have to pay for parking. Free parking seems like a good idea but would actually backfire if it became permanent because people who are parked would never leave. This would deter people even more from shopping/dining in Ridgewood. Also, there would be no easy way to prevent commuters from parking all day. If the parking is free with a time limit (say 2 hours), I think that would lead to many court disputes over whether a ticket was valid in the first place. The real revenue to the village is not from the quarters thrown into the meters but rather is from the tickets issued. If I were a merchant, I would create my own "free parking" promotion by handing out a quarter to a buying customer.
Eugene J. Ferraro October 25, 2012 at 01:49 PM
I'm all for it. Get rid of the meters. Chalk the tires for repeat parkers and then ticket them. Glen Rock has no meters and I'm pretty sure thats the way they do it.
jp1 October 25, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Lived in town a good many years and a majority of the time i have had no problem parking in town. I also agree with Mr. Ferraro to chalk the tires which was done a good many years ago.
RidgewoodResident October 25, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Good idea, but we also need MORE parking space as well.
RdgwdGRock October 25, 2012 at 04:31 PM
there is plenty of parking on saturdays, you just need to know where to go and be willing ro walk a little bit. all too often, people want to park right by where they need to be. I see illegal parking all the time.
Mark Ruckhaus October 25, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Why are the meters there in the first place? To keep people from hogging spaces? Revenue? A combination? Something else? Before you answer, remember that it wasn't all that long ago when a quarter got you an hour in Ridgewood. Now, it's a half hour. So, that gives the "revenue" idea some credence. If Ridgewood really wants to get creative, they can make all street parking just like it is in NYC--one meter per block and any leftover time disappears when the car leaves, in essence, allowing double-dipping--two people paying for the same time. As far as what Ridgewood wants to do on those upcoming Saturdays--maybe they could roll back parking to a quarter an hour. That would be a nice gesture while still forcing people to pay for parking while discouraging long term parking. But that would likely require too much effort to reset each meter.
maureen October 25, 2012 at 04:59 PM
The parking authority runs at a $100,000 - $200,000 DEFICIT yearly . Why use the meters at all if it impedes business and costs the town money while doling out aggravation ? It's truly a no-brainer. There must be some agenda I am not privy to because these seems so obvious.
JM October 25, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Here's a thought. Have free parking all the time. This is why I'd rather stick needles in my eye than do any shopping in downtown Ridgewood. Between dodging jaywalking pedestrians and searching for quarters and dimes, it's easier (and cheaper) to shop at Paramus Park and the Fashion Center.
Eugene J. Ferraro October 25, 2012 at 05:36 PM
I agree with JM. Lose the meters. We might bring the shoppers back and see less vacant stores.
J.D. Luke October 25, 2012 at 05:40 PM
I don't like trying to find an available meter, and I don't like that sick feeling when I realize I don't have any change on me. That being said, a very valid point was made more than once in the comments above: The village does need to have turnover in parking, or else things will fill up in the morning and we'll still find ourselves without a place to park. There are a lot of complaints about unavailable parking, and I can't imagine that improving with the removal of meters. Absent very different and likely costly solutions (such as a local jitney service making regular rounds, which would be pretty nice to have especially if it covered the whole town) I'm not sure we can do much about this either. We want a thriving downtown, and yet we want to make sure we can find a convenient parking spot when we decide to go there.
News Man October 25, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Maureen, you are closer to a solution with the "$100,000 to $200,000 deficit yearly" comment you made. That account is nothing but an available PETTY CASH account to be used for convenience.
Moist Cake October 25, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Ok so we remove the meters, how do we stop parking space hogs? People can park in a spot at all times and forever how long they want. Poor turnover for a business is just as bad as having no customers.
elknu nek October 27, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Especially, When you have to go to the post office for 15 minute parking and when you go into the post office you see a long line. BTW the Ridgewood Post Office should fix the sign upon entering the Post Office doors. Whoever goes into the right door will get on the wrong line and then realize that the left line is is the correct line to get on line afterwards...Your 15 minutes should now be up....What do you do, feed the meter again or stay on line and hope you make it out on time?
elknu nek October 27, 2012 at 02:39 AM
GET RID OF THE METERS!!! Especially, When you have to go to the post office for 15 minute parking and when you go into the post office you see a long line. BTW the Ridgewood Post Office should fix the sign upon entering the Post Office doors. Whoever goes into the right door will get on the wrong line and then realize that the left line is is the correct line to get on line afterwards...Your 15 minutes should now be up....What do you do, feed the meter again or stay on line and hope you make it out on time?
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