Dozens of broken parking meters causing headaches in Montclair
Business owners, customers and residents of Montclair are dealing with a parking headache because there aren’t enough functional parking meters in town.
While it may not be very difficult to find a parking spot on the street, paying for that spot to park legally has become a challenge because of the number of broken meters.
“Nothing makes the town look worse than going home with a parking ticket with Montclair on it,” says Mike Guerriero, owner of Guerriero Gelato.
Guerriero is also on the parking committee for the Montclair Business Improvement District. He says that just last week he got a ticket when parked at a broken meter, even though he paid to park using an online app.
“Everyone said, ‘Use the mobile app. It’s great.’ And we paid it and still got a ticket,” Guerriero says.
It is illegal to park at a broken meter.
BID conducted a recent count and found that anywhere from 50% to 80% of parking meters are not working – depending on the day and the part of town. Some of the meters are not working because they are using outdated cellular technology. Others have been vandalized or broken in other ways.
It is leaving some people in Montclair confused about how to go forward.
Kristen Zachares, owner of the Eclectic Chic Boutique, says that the town’s lack of information about what to do is driving some customers away, just as the holiday shopping season kicks off.
“I heard a lot of my old customers - they’ll come into town, circle around and leave because they can’t find any parking,” Zachares says. “It’s going to have a domino effect in the long run, and it makes me question whether I want to stay in Montclair if this doesn’t get resolved in a meaningful way.”
The mayor and most of the town council were away at the New Jersey League of Municipalities this week and were not available for comment.
Attempts to remove the broken meter policy and start free holiday parking early were both recently voted down.
The town says it is looking to repair or replace the broken meters by the end of the year.
According to the mayor’s office, there are 1,039 parking meters in Montclair. Currently, 296 of those meters do not work.
The city will be implementing free holiday parking at 2-hour spots Nov. 2 through Dec. 26.