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.
“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.”
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.
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.”