Margate doubles contactless parking time on Amherst Avenue

Sea Isle City is also implementing contactless parking fees during the summer months.

By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY

MARGATE — Despite changing its ordinance to double the time limit for paid parking on Amherst Avenue, residents and business owners have expressed dismay at the idea of ​​paying for parking in Margate.

The Board of Commissioners on Thursday, May 5, held a public hearing into the new ordinance establishing a virtual parking area along the promenade overlooking the bay on Amherst Avenue. The order, which was presented at the last meeting of commissioners, included a “minor amendment” to increase the parking time limit to 24 hours from the original 12 hour period.

“We believe this can accommodate people using area docks and boats,” Police Chief Matthew Hankinson said. “It’s a minor change that will be of great help in this area.”

Motorists will pay $1 per hour to park in the angled parking spots along the parkway using the ParkMobile virtual app. ParkMobile is a contactless parking payment system used in Philadelphia, Ventnor, Ocean City and Atlantic City. Parking fees come into effect on May 27 and will be payable during the summer months.

The fine for violation is $35.

Many residents, marina business owners and boaters spoke out against the ordinance and asked commissioners to table parking fee implementation for a year so they can fully investigate, said they stated.

Charter boat operator Steve Bent said it will now cost customers extra money on the 150 days of the year it comes out. He said he would be willing to purchase parking permits for himself and a client.

“If we had to pay for the parking meters…I would be willing to buy a parking permit,” he said.

Sal Calabrese, owner of Blue Water Marina which has 47 boat launches, said individual and charter boats often spend more than 24 hours when heading into the Canyon for deep sea fishing and would be the most affected. He said neighbors who live in townhouses, restaurants, the water park and marinas are all competing for space.

“Lay it down for at least a year until you can do a better study,” he said.

Barry Blum, who moors his boat at Blue Water, said people will try to avoid paying parking fees and park on residential side streets if they go fishing all weekend to avoid paying 75 $ for parking.

“You penalize a small percentage of people,” he said.

Longport’s Len Geria also asked the commissioners to drop the order because it is unfair to boat captains.

“It is unfair that charter boat captains, marina owners and customers have to pay on top of what they pay to go fishing,” he said. “Consider other options.”

Mary Friel, whose mother lives a block away on Monmouth Avenue, said she was already struggling to find a parking spot.

“We can’t even park now,” she said. “Residents would like you to build a multi-storey parking lot somewhere that would be better for everyone,” she said.

Amherst Avenue resident Jodi Singer said she’s seen many changes in the neighborhood over the years, and residents are already being “crowded out” by the water park.

“We get a place and everyone has two cars. We have to jockey so much to even make a run,” she said. “We have to find a solution that the inhabitants like, so that we are not trapped. There is nowhere to go on this street.

Madison Avenue resident Debbie Phillips, which has three off-street parking spaces for herself and her tenants, said she also felt trapped in her home.

“I’m parking on the street on Wednesday, so maybe I’ll have a spot for future visitors,” she said. “I feel trapped in my house.”

Builder Jim Leeds said the city had improved the area and wondered how the ordinance would be enforced.

Hankinson explained that police will have a companion app that lets them know when the time is up.

“The officers on patrol will check that everyone who has a place is paid,” he said.

Commissioner Maury Blumberg explained that the city was not trying to make money on parking, but simply to help businesses in the Marina District.

“For me, the driving force is to see the spaces transform,” he said.

Commissioner John Amodeo said Margate had spent more than $2 million upgrading the area for the public, rebuilding the bulkhead, building a promenade, creating a cycle path and the town had become a “very desirable place” over the course of 10 weeks of summer.

“Now we will have more turnover with the parking spaces, especially near the water park,” he said.

The three commissioners said they made the decision to support the businesses.

Amodeo suggested people park at the city-owned lot at Decatur and Monmouth Avenues, which has 20 free parking spaces.

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