About the Slide Show
I started with Lot 7, on East Seventh Street between Park & Watchung. Two churches rely on this lot for parking on Sundays and it may also serve a new state office building that is under construction at 110 East Fifth Street. Next is the long, narrow Lot 5 along the railroad tracks across from the Police Division. Lot 6 is behind Bill's Luncheonette, across East Second Street from the old Miron's warehouse (now aka "Luxury Condos"). Landmark Developers has purchased the Romond Jeep building across the street. Click here to read about his plans and his views on parking needs downtown, especially his opinion that a proposed six-story parking deck on Lot 6 is no longer needed.
Lot 1 is behind the former Strand Theater. The theater's last major use was to show Indian films, but the lot was very dark and lighting had to be added for the crowds that parked there. Eventually the shows stopped. A man who was walking his dog there told me a group of homeless men live under the nearby bridge over the Green Brook. On to Lot 8 across Watchung Avenue. This is a very busy lot behind stores and restaurants on the north side of the block between Somerset and Watchung. Edison Garcia, chairman of Latinos Promoting Plainfield, has received city permission to have the lot closed from noon to 7 p.m. (Correction: Saturday, Sept. 19 and Sunday, Sept. 20 - incorrect dates were on agenda-fixing session information) on Sept. 20 and 21 for the city's first "Downtown Fiesta Day" celebrating the independence of Central America. It's possible that people can park in Lot 1 those days either to go shopping or to go to the fiesta, although Lot 1 only has 14 metered spaces and 152 permit spaces.
Lot 4 is along the Green Brook between Somerset and Madison. Some of the spaces appear to be reserved for residents of Horizons at Plainfield, 75 apartments in the former Tepper's building. There is a memorial closer to the Madison Avenue side for a young man who was killed in the lot.
Moving along the Central and West Front, there is quite a large lot listed as having 113 permit spaces and 25 metered spaces. Most people know it as a gathering place for day laborers.
Across West Second Street, there is a newly-constructed lot alongside a very nice little park, with lovely landscaping and new playground equipment. It is Lot 2, but has no markings as such.
Going south and east to West Fourth Street, one comes up on Lot 10. The Parking Bureau building is adjacent to the lot, which spans the block to West Fifth Street.
There is no Lot 3 and Lot 8A is a small section off Lot 8. A chart in the Planning Division lists Madison Park and Cleveland & 4th as two other lots, but there is now a county office building on the Madison Park lot. A parking garage was also constructed, but it is not open to the public.
I may do a separate post on Cleveland & 4th, a small lot listed as having just 29 permit spaces, presumably attractive to commuters using the main train station.
When I first came to Plainfield, lots had booths with parking attendants. As I recall, there was a self-sustaining Parking Authority that was disbanded at some point. The Parking Bureau now issues permits and checks meters on the street. On a breakdown of revenues in the SFY 2009 budget, an item titled "Parking Meter Permits" is listed as bringing in $294,310.62, but is unclear whether it means all revenues from meters and permits, or something else.
Any parking fines would be lumped under the $1 million or so in miscellaneous fines and penalties collected by Municipal Court.
Among reasons why I looked into this subject, I was checking the Downtown Westfield Corporation web site and noticed that there was good information on where to park. Even though I been here 26 years and was a reporter for 16 years with assignments all over the city, I really had to wrack my brain to identify the Plainfield lots. Most are just a few steps off the main drags, but not obvious to visitors or even residents. About one-third of the spaces are metered and permits are currently required for the rest, except for a handful of handicap spaces.
I am hoping to get more information on the number of permits currently held and other data that would help illuminate the subject of Plainfield parking lots. Dating back to the days of razing for urban renewal, numerous parking studies were done. I am not advocating another formal study, just a commonsense look at what we have and how things are going.