Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gavett Place resolution throws spotlight on train station neighborhood

Yellow outline denotes public plaza, blue are Cretella projects;
note volume of parking in public lot across 2nd Street (upper left corner).
Plainfield's City Council will take up a resolution Monday evening to enter into a public access agreement to allow public use of a landscaped plaza (yet to be developed) at one corner of
Gavett Place and East 2nd Street.

This is part of the planned development by Frank Cretella of the former Romond Jeep dealership building and the former Miron's furniture warehouse, both on East 2nd Street.

While the proposal for a landscaped plaza makes a nice amenity, a quick glance at the aerial Google map shown above reveals an obvious issue for development in the neighborhood: parking.

The aerial photo is taken in the daytime and shows the public parking lot at the top nearly fully (I count 4 vacant spots in the picture, two of which are in permit-only areas) occupied.

The lot on the other corner of Gavett Place and East 2nd, next to the Miron's building, is currently used for parking by the Muslim community that uses the former City Lights building at the corner of North Avenue and Gavett Place. To maximize the number of cars that can park in the cramped space, the groups uses a tandem parking plan where cars park behind each other in rows. This means, of course, that if you are in the front of the row, you can't get out until those behind you move their vehicles. The number of vehicles in this lot suggests the aerial photo may have been shot on a Friday.

In any event, parking is a real issue needing to be taken into account in planning development in this area.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

The City of Plainfield should do whatever is necessary to provide a positive atmosphere for this developer. Frank Cretella has a proven track record unlike those who have approached the city. Just look at the condo's and senior center project.

jim spear said...

The NJIT TOD Vision Study that was commissioned by the City, and included input from Residents, advocated for that East 2nd Street lot becoming a parking garage.

The feeling was that as the downtown gets redeveloped and the density increases there would be a greater demand for parking near the train station. New Jersey Transit has also projected increase demands for parking at Plainfield station.

The responsibility for a parking garage will ultimately fall on the City - remember, 'we build the roads'. The feeling is that as demands for parking increases a self-sustaining, (and hopefully profitable), parking authority would need to be created. This authority, similar to ones in New Brunswick and Summit, would bond to raise the funds needed to build the garage.

The theory is that during the day the spots in the garages would be used by shoppers and commuters. And at night by new residents of the downtown and by restaurant users. Attracting commuter parking from residents of Watchung and Warren could also bring revenue to the garage and support new shops and food vendors that would spring up in the area.

The new increased density, mixed-use zoning as advocated by the Vision Study was recently implemented by the Planning Board and approved by the City Council for the downtown area. The Board is currently working on the Netherwood Train Station area.

jim spear

Maria Pellum, Plainfield Resident said...

For what I remember this empty lot has been envisioned as a park for a long, long time by the Planning Department. I remember having a conversation about this when JWM was the boss and that the project had to be put aside because of her "other priorities". Now that there is a new sheriff in town that seems to support green spaces this project might be one of the ones that were waiting for the right supporting staff. The parking lot deck is still part of the plans and that is why it would be wise to follow the TOD proposal for downtown. All the papers are at the Planning Department and are public documents.