Home » LTE: Restore Lost Parking to Support West Broad Street Businesses

LTE: Restore Lost Parking to Support West Broad Street Businesses

by Community Contributor

To the Editor:

What has been public parking for 12+ years on West Broad Street in front of the Old School Baptist Meetinghouse is unexpectedly in dispute. As merchants and residents, we are bewildered and extremely frustrated to have recently lost a significant portion of our available parking.

In February, a new “No Parking” sign mysteriously appeared on West Broad Street that removed 100 feet of parking from the front of the Old School Baptist Meetinghouse. Several weeks later, the Meetinghouse board submitted a request to the Borough Council to keep the new sign and thereby reinstate a long-defunct* parking restriction in front of their building. We can only assume that their request is somehow being supported, because on the morning of May 22 several residents received parking tickets.

For merchants, parking is essential to survival. The new sign has already been economically damaging, and it hurts us more every day that it remains. Visitors frequently pass through town on their way toward Lambertville and New Hope, and often they see our shops and want to stop, but only if they can readily park. Otherwise, these potential new customers drive on without stopping. We are dependent on these visitors–who often become regular customers–for our small businesses to succeed, and for our town to thrive.

The Mayor and Borough Council claim they want to support small local merchants and attract new business to our town, so the official response to this issue has been baffling. We have been told that they do not know who authorized the sign, that they are “looking into it,” and that we “just need to have patience.” But after 3 months we are no closer to resolution, and the sign remains. We hope that by shining light on this issue, we will now be met with transparency, and our elected officials will respond.

Please join us in urging the Borough Council to take IMMEDIATE action to remove the No Parking sign in front of the Old School Baptist Meetinghouse.

There is no precedent in Hopewell Borough to allow any building, regardless of status, to “claim” the public street area in front of their establishment. Be assured that we all look forward to the preservation of this historic structure and to welcoming the Meetinghouse as an active part of our community here on West Broad Street.

Respectfully,

Howard Cohen, HowCo Mgmt, Property Manager, 45 W Broad St.
Bobbie Fishman, Owner, The Bear and the Books, 45 W Broad St.
Carol Kehoe, Owner, Hopewell Antiques, 47 W Broad St.
Kimberly Miller-Steinman, Resident, W Broad St.
Ruth Morpeth, Owner, Morpeth Contemporary, 43 W Broad St.
Bill Piper, Resident, W Broad St.
Shannon Schafer, Owner, Gym & Sensory Play, 47 W Broad St.
David Steinman, Resident, W Broad St.
Heidi Wilenius, Owner, dandelion wishes, 45 W Broad St.

*It is important to note that this restriction was changed from 200 ft to 100 ft over 10 years ago when the crosswalk was painted. This was done to compensate for the parking spaces lost by the new crosswalk. At that time, the signage and curb striping was updated, but the code was not updated properly.

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