Who is more deserving of a parking spot – students or teachers?
Ridgewood Superintendent of Schools Daniel Fishbein is proposing a plan whereby students that had parked in the spots on Heermance Place would be booted so that their teachers can park a bit closer to school.
, Fishbein said there's a major crunch for parking at the lot on the hill for teachers. He believes adding 10 spots for teachers on the village-owned street would do the trick. Students currently park there on a first-come, first-serve basis, many waking up at 5:45 a.m. to nab a spot.
"This would authorize the issuance of permits for those twelve spaces from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday," said Village Manager Ken Gabbert Wednesday. The school board would handle the permits, according to the resolution.
Village Engineer Chris Rutishauser said it's not a unique request in Ridgewood.
"I think we have at least three or four sites around schools where we do have this type of permit parking on the municipal streets to assist the Board of Ed. This request is a continuation of an existing practice in the village code."
But many questions emerged Wednesday night at the council meeting from officials as well as residents.
- How many student permits are issued? How many teachers and non-teaching staff park on the site? Has the staff increased over the years at the high school?
- Why all the sudden is the number of spots at the lot insufficient?
- Couldn't the board see if Heermance or First Presbyterian Church – where students also park – could be restriped or reworked to add 10 more spots?
- Will the short-handed police department have to deal with enforcement?
Most notably, asked resident Boyd Loving, why should teachers' parking wishes supercede those of students?
"There are many traditions at Ridgewood High School – that is a tradition," Loving said to the council. "I'm sure you don't want to be the council that takes away that tradition. Think long and hard before you make a move to take free parking away from students at Heermance Place."
Officials said they'll seek to have those questions answered before moving forward in considering an amendment to the parking laws.