With about 200 parking spots in the new softball complex, concerns with overflow parking along North Bay Avenue has led the council to consider an ordinance prohibiting parking along portions of the roadway.
The Township Council passed the ordinance tonight, prohibiting parking on stretches of North Bay Avenue in both directions near the softball complex.
Concerns came in from residents as well as police, who foresaw the potential for vehicles to use the grass and shoulder along North Bay Avenue for parking during tournament days.
The new law calls for no parking from about 250 feet in each direction from Whitty and North Bay, eastbound side, as well as 200 feet in each direction from Greenleaf Court and North Bay. On the westbound side of North Bay, parking would be prohibited from Priscilla Court to 3,350 feet south.
The ordinance passed last night allows for some parking on the west, or field side, of the road for an additional 50 spaces on the shoulder. This will increase the total from 200 spots, said Township Engineer Robert Chankalian.
At previous council meetings discussion ensued about resident and police public safety concerns about the road near the complex, that overflow might find the park visitors parking dangerously along North Bay Avenue or down residential side streets.
Chankalian said the ordinance sprang from a tournament issue, where about 12 teams converged on the complex at the same time, instead of scattered throughout the day, which quickly created a parking issue.
For those types of events, tournament organizers will be required to hire police and use other lots and bus people in, according to recently passed tournament rules.
Chankalian said the current amount of parking should be ample for everyday and regular weekend use, but he's looking to create additional parking that could add another 50 spots to the complex, near one of the fields.
"We are looking at an area inside the field where we can park an extra 50 cars. This will be in a grass area where there is no irrigation to damage," he said.
Chankalian said the existing parking is meeting demand, with some to spare.
"There's 50 spaces per field out there. That's a lot. That's way more than any of our other fields have," Chankalian said.
One resident however lives across from the softball complex and said he is seeing some dangerous driving and parking as a result of the new fields' use.
"People making U-Turns on North Bay, to park on the berm, even though the south end fields and parking was empty, why would anyone park in the parking lot and walk from the South end to where their Suzy is playing on the North end fields?," said resident Robert Bressman.
He said people are parking on the berm and shoulder closest to the field they'd like to use, regardless of if additional parking is available in the lot.
"Grass and trees were planted on the berm, I had no idea that the berm was actually part of the parking lot for overflow parking or if you needed to get closer to the field your kid was playing on," he said.
"People jumping out of their cars into on coming traffic, wall to wall cars in front of my home, and frankly when the town tells me they know this is going to bring a criminal element to where I live, when I had to go out, I was actually nervous about leaving my home, because there are 400 cars of people who I don't know that are parked across from my house," Bressman said. "This might be heaven for the League, for us who live here it's an eyesore and nightmare."
Chankalian said the ordinance does allow for some parking on the east side of the street, but on the side across from the complex parking is not allowed.
The idea is preventing people from walking across the street crossing traffic and instead trying to keep all visitors parking on the same side as the complex.
"We don't want people walking across the street," Chankalian said. "But this ordinance should open up 50 more spots on the east side, so now you're talking about 250 spots, 300 if we add the berm ones."