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Ridgewood Voters Reject Parking Deck

A voter at Benjamin Franklin Middle School Tuesday. Photo Credit: DAILY VOICE
A voter signs in at Benjamin Franklin Middle School Tuesday. Photo Credit: DAILY VOICE

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — Ridgewood voters overwhelmingly defeated a proposed $11.5 million Hudson Street parking deck at the polls Tuesday.

A total of 2,671 voters rejected the plan, while 1,425 supported it.

The results mean an $11.5 million bonding ordinance passed by the Village Council last March will die and a new council will decide the issue. On July 1, three newly elected people — Ramon Hache, Jeff Voigt, and Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh — will be sworn to office on the five-member Village Council.

“We thank the voters for trusting the incoming council and letting them take care of our parking solutions,” said Lorraine Reynolds, cofounder of ITS2BIG, the group responsible for putting the issue to a second binding referendum Tuesday.

Last November, 65 percent of voters supported the deck in a nonbinding referendum.

ITS2BIG favors pursuing a comprehensive parking alleviation plan but opposes so-called Design D, a 325-space deck on Hudson Street. The group believes it’s just too large.

For decades the village has agreed that parking is a problem in the downtown business district, particularly on the west end where some 1,500 commuters use the train station on weekdays.

There’s been agreement, too, on placing a parking deck at the corner of Hudson and South Broad streets, where there is now a 77-space parking lot.

Literature on the village website, now the subject of a lawsuit because of its alleged bias, states plainly Tuesday’s referendum was only about cost and location of the deck. Not its size. Not its shape. Not its style.

But members of ITS2BIG thought otherwise.

“I believe we are voting for a particular design of garage because $11.5 million is the number that is associated with Design D,” said Reynolds, who cofounded ITS2BIG with Gail McCarthy.

According to the group, Design D is large enough that it spreads five feet over the existing footprint of the Hudson Street parking lot.

“That will narrow Hudson Street by five feet, which will reduce the number of lanes on Hudson Street to two,” Reynolds said.

Currently, Hudson has three lanes — one through lane, two parking lanes.

In an 11-minute video on the village website urging voters to support the referendum, Mayor Paul Aronsohn said the deck could take eight months to build.

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