NBPA enacts Saturday Meter Parking
As September came to a close, the New Brunswick Parking Authority (NBPA) distributed flyers informing the general public that meter parking will no longer be free on Saturdays between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
The change was brought about in an effort to curtail excessively long curbside parking on the weekends, so that more people would find parking and visit the many shops and restaurants in New Brunswick, according to the Raritan River Review.
"Limiting the (amount of cars) driving around looking for parking reduces traffic and accidents,” Harry Delgado, director of operations at NBPA, said in an interview with the Raritan River Review.
According to same article, many locals over-used and exploited the free parking on Saturdays, which resulted in lower car turn over, and less available parking for customers who may frequent an establishment downtown.
Kacie Hanley, a manager at World of Beer, a tavern in Downtown New Brunswick, told the Raritan River Review that parking is not just a problem for customers, but also for the many people who work in New Brunswick.
Metered parking costs $1.50 per hour for the first two hours. After the first two hours, the parking rates steadily increase, starting at $2.00 for the third hour and increasing by $1.00 for every subsequent hour. There is a maximum parking limit of eight hours Monday through Saturday, according to the NBPA website.
There are several parking decks throughout New Brunswick to accommodate individuals who need to park for longer periods of time. These include the Gateway Parking Garage operated by the NBPA near the train station.
A full list of available parking deck locations can be found on the NBPA official website.
Despite the positive impact that metered parking may have on local businesses, one demographic that may be negatively affected is the large population of the University's commuters who park in and around the Downtown New Brunswick area.
Being a university student can be expensive. Between textbooks, meal plans, tuition and other miscellaneous living costs, costs can become monstrous. For many, commuting becomes a major way to save money during their college years.
“It is unfair that we already pay a hefty amount simply for parking for a year whenever we need to be in school,” said Joel Rodrigues, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.
He noted that University students will need to pay extra if they need to use the College Avenue libraries on a Saturday in the future.
Commuter parking passes are issued by various parking zones, and range in price from $165 to $320 annually. These zones stipulate which specific lots are allowable to park in.
These passes only cover parking in the allotted parking areas, however, and do not include metered parking along College Avenue and other parts of New Brunswick, according to the Department of Transportation.
Students who buy an annual or semi-annual parking pass will still be able to park in their assigned lots during the day.
Prekshya Singh, Rutgers Business School junior, said that since she has a commuter pass, the new policies regarding curb-side parking should not really affect her.
Saturday parking is covered by the pass, but if she were required to pay additional fees to continue parking on the College Avenue campus, she would prefer to park on one of the other University campuses and take the Rutgers buses, she said.
“On the weekends I can park (in) commuter lots on any campus, and on weekdays I can do the same, but after 6 p.m.,” she said