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Traffic Study Seeks to 'Work With Human Nature'

Planner presented early findings of study, which could eventually lead to changes on where cars and commercial vehicles can park around the Epstein Redevelopment Area.

Have you ever just needed to run into Starbucks—for, like, a minute, I swear!—grab a cup of coffee and get out? No parking? Did you—ahem—make your own parking space?

Such appears to be a common theme based on preliminary results of a traffic study conducted by the town and Jonathan Rose Companies planner Phil Abramson, who presented a study on the traffic habits on Market and DeHart streets at Tuesday night's council meeting.

Calling the presentation "the beginning of the conversation," Abramson pointed to persistent issues with not only illegal parking by cars running in for a quick cuppa, but commercial vehicles parking illegally as they make their rounds loading and unloading for a myriad of businesses.

Abramson said the intention of the study, and any potential changes that may come from it, is an attempt "to work with human nature." For example, that space cars park in illegally for coffee? That's the approved commercial loading zone, which almost never gets used for that purpose. Instead, commercial vehicles are finding other areas on the two one-way streets around the Epstein's Redevelopment Area to do their business.

"I see this almost everyday," he said. What he doesn't see, however, are many signs informing drivers of where they can and cannot park. Nor does he see painted areas that clearly state the same.

One of Abramson's proposed ideas to help alleviate the problem is to reconfigure parking and commercial loading spaces to meld closer with how the vehicles are already parking. That would include changing that underutilized commercial loading zone into short term parking and creating convert-able loading spaces in some areas from 6 to 11 a.m., which would allow more space for that purpose at a time when cars are not there as much.

All changes are subject, however, to state Department of Transportation approval as both Market Street (Route 202) and around the Green and South Street (Route 124) are county roads.

Councilwoman Allison Deeb asked why Starbucks was being singled out and wondered if it was preferential treatment that their customers could see easier parking options should the changes be implemented.

Abramson said those were the habits of drivers based on their findings. "That's the loading zone, they are going to go there," he said. "They're going to park there anyway."

Deeb also questioned whether 6 to 11 a.m. for a convert-able loading zone on DeHart Street would be an impediment for anyone utilizing the nearby banks earlier in the morning. Both councilwoman Raline Smith-Reid and council president Michelle Dupree Harris also chimed in, noting they both need to go to those banks during earlier hours.

"The largest backup of trucks happen on DeHart Street," Mayor Tim Dougherty said. "It becomes very tight and congested ... we're trying to make this better."

In the meantime, council vice president Rebecca Feldman pointed out another option for people should they be parking for an extended period of time in that area. "The DeHart Street Parking Garage is right there," she said.

Abramson also said a "photo violation meter" had been suggested by the Morristown Parking Authority as a way to help curb abuse by vehicles parking in short-term parking spots longer than is permitted. Plus, a present New Jersey law notes that vehicle idling is subject to a $250 fine and is "something we could enforce tomorrow," he said.

Everything, however, is still in its earliest stages, the planner said, noting additional presentations are scheduled later this month by the Morristown Partnership for businesses and by some residents at 40 Park. The presentation also will soon be available for viewing on the town website, Abramson said.

Live in Morristown January 09, 2013 at 04:20 PM
I would urge Morristown to be thoughtful about where they add new spaces. People who "create" a parking spot in front of Starbucks on South Street as well as the trucks that park on the right side of Dehart make it tough and dangerous for cars to come around the corner of Dehart St and out of the parking garage, respectfully.
Live in Morristown January 09, 2013 at 04:20 PM
I would urge Morristown to be thoughtful about where they add new spaces. People who "create" a parking spot in front of Starbucks on South Street as well as the trucks that park on the right side of Dehart make it tough and dangerous for cars to come around the corner of Market St and out of the parking garage, respectfully.
MIKE SANDERS January 09, 2013 at 04:21 PM
NO IDLING???? WTF
MIKE SANDERS January 09, 2013 at 04:28 PM
YOUR DAY WILL COME MAN!!!!
Chris January 09, 2013 at 06:14 PM
This is a good start. Traffic Studies should also be done on Spring Street, Speedwell and South Street. There is always traffic in these area's and I think adjustments need to be made to the timing of the traffic lights. It always seems that the lights are really quick letting only 3-4 cars through in one direction, then the light turns red for what seems to be 2:30- 3+ minutes, but very few cars flow through the intersection in the other direction with the green light. The traffic lights need sensors so the lights can realize that nobody is driving though the green light, and it can change to let the line of cars sitting at the red light go through.
Back in Mo'town January 09, 2013 at 09:15 PM
There should be a cop right outside Starbucks - no better inside - so when someone parks illegally he can ticket them immediately. It has been more than one time I have seen near accidents there because of illegal parking.
Cletus January 09, 2013 at 10:33 PM
Shhh!
The Mud Lady January 10, 2013 at 02:15 AM
You can park illegally all day in front of Starbucks, but God forbid you pee in a bush.
Dick Tighe January 10, 2013 at 03:08 PM
Where's your brain?
Donna Lohmeyer January 10, 2013 at 03:26 PM
Amen! The light at Lafayette Ave. and Morris Street sometimes does not let ONE car through onto Pine Street before it turns yellow. Then the red is excessively long.
BiggDogg January 10, 2013 at 03:45 PM
Starbucks area is the worst because you got the typical Morris-county yuppies who think they are more important than everyone else, So they just illegally park with their hazards on and run in to only wait in line for 5 mins.
Matt Giordano January 10, 2013 at 05:25 PM
Morristown's traffic on Washington Street, around the Green, Morris Street, Speedwell (especially in the "Hispanic area") are all in need of better traffic flow. Think 20 years out...not just "try to fix with patchwork solutions" the current situation. As for cameras, there are already too many being used in the role of "Big Brother." To me the "No Idle" law is ridiculous if the vehicle is non-commercial and has at least 1 person inside.
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk January 10, 2013 at 08:02 PM
These people are just crying for a Nazi regime. OMG! fine us for this, don't let us do this, we should be able to do this. Give me a break!
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk January 10, 2013 at 08:06 PM
Message to Jersey bagel's on south street. I used to come in there and pick up a coffee and bagel every morning. One morning I didn't have 25 cents change to put in the meter, i chanced it and went in. I got a 40 dollar ticket. I have not been back to your business since. that has been 4 years ago. 5 dollars times 1000 days. that is what you didn't make from me. There are more like me out there.
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk January 10, 2013 at 08:57 PM
You can actually burn more fuel during a start up cycle than leaving it idle. Also during a start up you don't burn the fuel efficiently and you pollute more. Just more things these do gooders don't think about before doing. Let reverse the trend of this total control by the government. Look, we can't even cross the street anymore with out government cones being layed around town. God knows what we used to do in the old days. We used to look both ways then cross. Now you just go walk right into the street and everyone is supposed to stop.
Doug January 10, 2013 at 09:05 PM
^John I had the same exact issue but my fine was $168 and I was in and out in less than 2 minutes.
Doug January 10, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Speedwell Avenue is the absolute worst with the crosswalks. The hispanics think they own the place and have no respect for traffic. There have been a few fatalities on that road over the past few years. The city needs to rezone the crosswalks to only intersections with traffic lights like any other modern city.
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk January 10, 2013 at 09:24 PM
you can never get enough cops walking around doleing out tickets willy nilly.
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk January 10, 2013 at 09:28 PM
Yeah, I have been meaning to research the origin of this NJ cone cross walk debacle. There is so much wrong and dangerous about it, that it shocks me. I am not surprised people are being killed. I nearly hit someone too, and i am an excellent driver. In fact I think if it was anyone else in driving my car at the time there would have been one dead person. This is a town law suit waiting to happen.
Cletus January 10, 2013 at 09:32 PM
Soooo...you're all upset with the bagel business because the town gave the ticket you deserved?
Cletus January 10, 2013 at 09:34 PM
And maybe, while they're at it, the city should erect statues honoring Caucasians who never, ever jaywalk, run red lights or behave as if "they own the place".
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk January 10, 2013 at 09:44 PM
No cletus, you morron. I am just notifying jersey bagels the reason they have not got my business was because of Morristown government. I am actually closing my HSBC account because of the "fine" city they are located in.
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk January 10, 2013 at 09:52 PM
Cletus, believe it or not i did get a jay walking ticket in morristown many years ago. I will never forget it. it was very cold day, i was on the square and i wanted to short cut across to the photo shop, when a cop pulled up jumped out of his car and shouted "Stop right there!". i looked at him and quickly dove against the wall and look behind me. the way he was acting I thought there was a bank robbery going on behind me. Well he ended up that he was talking to me. he wrote me a j walking ticket. Unbelievable. The guy watch way too many starsky and hutch shows.
CSS January 10, 2013 at 09:55 PM
john, so glad you're telling it like it is. That anger is all well-placed. Everyone should be this pissed off all the time. The government and the hispanyics are all out to get whitey, because whitey is oppressed, downtrodden and slowly becoming extinct. Good for you, change the world by closing bank accounts, not eating bagels (I think jews make those, they're better than hispanics though), and posting stuff on the internet. It's a plan that CANNOT FAIL. Me, I'm going into the parking consultant business.
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk January 10, 2013 at 10:44 PM
CSS. what is your racial beef? I never said anything about any race. I am talking government meddling and unintended consequences. You see, government put up those silly cones in the middle of the road to help people cross the road safely. Yet they are actually getting people killed. I don't know what your motive is bringing up racial issues. You are a complete moron.
Cletus January 10, 2013 at 10:58 PM
John, there's nothing more delicious than being called a moron by someone who can't spell the word. Thank you!
Cletus January 10, 2013 at 11:00 PM
Lots of morons in your world, eh, John? My grandpa used to say, if you run into an a$$hole in the morning, you ran into an a$$hole, if you run into a$$holes all day, YOU'RE the a$$hole.
Chris Jansen April 02, 2013 at 01:43 PM
To idle or not to idle, that is the question.... Frequent restarting has little impact on engine components like the battery and the starter motor. Component wear caused by restarting the engine is estimated to add $10 per year to the cost of driving, money that will likely be recovered several times over in fuel savings from reduced idling. The bottom line is that more than ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the engine.

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