Should Parking Meters Stay or Go in Downtown Toms River?
The parking meter issue is dividing business owners in downtown Toms River. While some support keeping meters as a way of generating customer turn-over, others feel having to pay for a spot is doing more harm than good.
Michael J. Schwartz, who owns a business by the same name on Washington Street, called the meters a nuisance. "We're paying meters to park on streets we already own is number one. And it's counterproductive to bringing businesses downtown because most of the metered parking is two-hour or three-hour parking," said Schwartz.
Schwartz is pushing for the meters to be removed. "You're constantly trying to either A: find a spot; or B: run downstairs to throw money in the meter, or move your car because actually the ordinance down here has you moving your cars every two or three hours," Schwartz said.
Leadership of the downtown Toms River Business Development Corporation (TRBDC), which oversees the Toms River Business Improvement District, stated they do not endorse any move to completely eliminate parking meters downtown. They also do not believe employees of businesses, or either business or residential tenants should park in metered-spaces designed for customers of downtown businesses and that allow for appropriate turn-over. "The TRBDC Board of Directors does endorse plans, such as the Robbins Street Streetscape and Parking Improvement Plan, that creates more readily accessible parking in the Downtown core, and continue to work with the proper authorities to bring that proposal and other accessibility improvements to fruition Downtown as expeditiously as possible," said Jody Alessandrine, Executive Director, Toms River Business Development Corporation.
Toms River Councilman Jeff Carr said most business owners generally want their employees to park a distance away. Although he agrees it's inconvenient to have to walk a block or two to get to work he says, "That's the nature of the beast."
Carr says the Township's ongoing discussions about parking issues include possible land-use changes downtown.