Bayonne Cancels Free Holiday Parking, Draws Staten Island into War of Words

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Broadway in Bayonne is a mere two-block walk from the light rail station. Photo by Caren Lissner/Jersey Digs.

Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis said on Wednesday that the town has canceled, for this year, a program in which non-commercial vehicles could park in municipal lots for free in December, to encourage holiday shopping. (Note that parking anywhere in Bayonne is fairly inexpensive anyway, up to $3 per day at light rail stations and up to $5 daily at municipal lots.)

In a story on NJ.com, Bayonne officials complained that people from Staten Island would drive across the Bayonne Bridge, park in the Bayonne lots, and then take the light rail into Manhattan — in other words, they drove from New York City to New Jersey to head back into New York City.

Maybe the Big Apple ought to hurry up with that subway line from Staten Island to Manhattan? (Or get moving on the light rail from Staten Island to Bayonne, perhaps.)

“The free parking policy was supposed to encourage shopping in Bayonne. Unfortunately, the free parking policy turned many spaces in the Parking Utility lots into free, daylong commuter parking for people who are not Bayonne residents,” Davis said, in a release. “As a result, we decided not to offer free parking in the lots this year for the month of December. There will still be free parking on Sundays, and on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.”

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Broadway in Bayonne, seen from the Perk Up Cafe at the corner of 15th and Broadway. Photo by Caren Lissner/Jersey Digs.

City spokesman Joe Ryan added later, “It was unfortunate that some people abused the system.”

Parking in Bayonne, a 5.8-square-mile town, is inexpensive anyway. NJ.com noted that parking at light rail stations at 22nd and 34th streets is only $3 per day, while parking in the municipal lot is 25 cents per half hour and a maximum of $5 per day. The main streets have metered parking.

For those who don’t want to park at all, the city has four light rail stops, providing easy access to Broadway and parallel streets with shopping. The light rail is only $2.75 no matter how far one takes it, with stops in Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken, North Bergen, and Union City. Hoboken and several Jersey City stops connect with the PATH train into Manhattan.

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A New York City Councilman representing Staten Island did not take kindly to Bayonne officials’ blaming Staten Island commuters for “abusing” a parking promotion meant to increase holiday shopping. Via Twitter.

Staten Island officials didn’t take kindly to being blamed.

Never-quiet New York City Councilman Joe Borelli, who represents part of Staten Island, Tweeted, “We need to do the same! It’s unfair our [free] lots get filled by jersey boys.”

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Does Joe Borelli really think NJ residents are driving into Staten Island and parking to take 2-hour express buses into the city and then driving back to NJ at night? The commute from Staten Island is one of the longest and this makes no sense. Bayonne light rail to PATH is so much quicker.

    • Actually I think they are saying people are parking in the municipal lots near the light rail station. There’s a few municipal lots with very short walks to the light rail. I don’t see it as an issue either way. If they want to give the free parking or not who cares parking in Bayonne is very cheap anyway. I don’t mind missing out on free parking it doesn’t save me a enough money to actually care.

  2. I don’t get it…can’t you just make some sort of zoning changes so you either have to have a car registered in NJ / Bayonne? Unless I’m missing something…

  3. The Staten Island reasoning doesn’t make sense. The tolls/fares on the Bayonne bridge would be $20, then $5 for light rail and then $5.50 for Path, at total of $30.50 a day. Parking at the Staten Island ferry is $8.00 a day, the ferry is free and the subway is $3.50 for a total of $11.50 a day. What makes sense is suburban New Jersey residents abusing the free parkiing. But, based on Journal Square parking, one would save only $3.00 a day. Sounds more like Bayonne city gov just wants the addition one month of revenue and they’ve made up this lame excuse (while permits would solve the problem or just allowing Jersey plates).

  4. c’mon, it’s all about the $$$ . Jimmy’s greedy. they need to do SOMETHING to make money with all the damn abatments going out in the “city on the rise” that is looking like a city on the decline.

  5. The city should give out stickers to Bayonne residents to put in the windshield of their cars. Then, the city should hire temporary holiday parking guards for the parking lots. If a car comes with the sticker, let them in to park free. If no sticker, charge them $10-$20 to park.

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