RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — Pomander Walk in Ridgewood will remain an oasis of serenity, free of parked cars, after the Village Council defeated an ordinance Wednesday.
Residents, some of whose properties abut the Red Cross building on Godwin Avenue, have enjoyed a parking prohibition from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
All seven days of the week. Down the entire length of the cul-de-sac.
But then Ordinance 3556 came down the pike.
It would have restored two-hour parking on Pomander, just on the north side, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. all days except Sundays and holidays.
Pomander Walk residents showed up, en masse, in protest.
They cited safety concerns and the potential to hamper emergency vehicles from using the street.
One by one, they made statements.
“One of the reasons we bought houses on Pomander Walk was because of the convenience of walking to the train, the bus, the barbershop, grocery stores, all the services Ridgewood has to offer,” said resident Andy Koontz.
“It is not and must not be an overflow parking lot for the local businesses,” he added. “Nor should it be a staging area for local delivery services.”
After four years of advocacy on the part of residents, Koontz said, the last council passed an ordinance putting the prohibition in place.
The move, he added, restored peace and safety to the street.
Wednesday, the council voted 4-1, with Mayor Susan Knudsen dissenting, not to restore any parking.
But the issue opened a discussion about the need for a master plan for traffic and parking on all streets in and around the central business district.
“In my opinion, when the (original) ordinance went into effect, it was flawed because no one ever thought about or studied what would happen to Sherman Place,” said Councilwoman Bernadette Walsh.
Pomander Walk runs northward to Godwin Avenue. Across Godwin is Sherman Place, where two-hour parking is allowed from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“Now we’re having some big challenges on Sherman that we are trying to fix,” Walsh explained.
But, by fixing those, she added, more problems will be relayed elsewhere.
She likened passing ordinances changing parking conditions on individual streets to putting a bandage on a larger problem.
In dissenting, Mayor Knudsen noted that parking prohibitions don’t necessarily stop a driver from zipping around a cul-de-sac and creating the very safety problem they are designed to prevent.
“We all have this. It’s common throughout the village,” Knudsen said. “So the question is, how do we all share this burden? How do we all relieve each other and all shoulder at least some of the responsibility?”
Councilman Ramon Hache said the time to work on a comprehensive plan is now, before a tragedy takes place.
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