(TRENTON) – Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Princeton) is calling on NJ Transit to address the lack of adequate non-permit commuter parking for individuals using mass transit along the Northeast Corridor's busiest train stations. And if they cannot keep up with the demand for parking spaces, the Assemblyman says, "They shouldn't punish riders who park where they can.
"With the demand for non-permit commuter parking far exceeding that which is available, desperate drivers are forced to park on private property or circle several times around a congested parking lot in hopes of finding available spaces. This is no way to encourage commuters to take mass transit."
Gusciora learned first hand the lack of non-permit parking spaces at the Princeton Junction NJ Transit station in West Windsor, when he recently tried to catch a 5 p.m. train to New York to see a concert. Since there were no available non-permit spaces available and it was at the time the work day was about to end, he parked in the permit area – only to receive a $60 ticket by West Windsor police.
"I would have gladly paid for the use of the permit parking space if that was an option. However, there were no parking spaces available for non-permit commuters," said Gusciora. "Merely penalizing such commuters for parking in permit spaces ‘after hours' due to a lack of spaces demonstrates a lack of foresight by NJ Transit and creates a chilling effect on the occasional rider from using NJ Transit."
Assemblyman Gusicora, after receiving his ticket at the West Windsor parking authority – and paying for the ticket –, is concerned that NJDOT is not keeping up with the demands for adequate parking and has shown little creativity in addressing the problem. Gusciora is also drafting legislation that would prohibit the issuance of parking tickets in the event non-permit spaces are not readily available.
"Otherwise there is little incentive for the Transit Authority to keep up with commuter demands," he said. "If the state wants to encourage people to use mass transit as well as cut auto emissions, it should be their responsibility to see that NJ Transit is a good alternative without giving the commuter headaches or hassles," he concluded.
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