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Unaddressed Harrison NJ Parking Dilemma Continues to Plague Residents

Sep 25, 2023
Harrison Library Park Underground Parking Garage

In 2018, then Councilman Anselmo Millan identified the lack of Parking in Harrison NJ as the top issue for residents. Anselmo Millan suggested that the Town of Harrison build an underground parking garage at Library Park on Harrison Avenue like the underground parking garage at Military Park in the neighboring City of Newark, NJ.  Anselmo Millan ended up running for Mayor but lost to incumbent James Fife who won a close Democratic Primary Election in 2018 but has done nothing since to address the lack of parking in Harrison.  If Mayor Fife had moved into action with Councilman Millan’s idea there would be today an underground parking garage in place to relieve Harrison’s lack of parking crisis.

Lack of Parking Is About To Get Worse

Residents in the Town of Harrison avoid leaving their parking spaces at night.  Others who work late cannot find parking on the street and the very severe lack of parking has led to parking on corner yellow zones.  The Harrison Police Department, recognizing the severe lack of parking, has until recently allowed the use of yellow zones overnight as the safety valve for those arriving too late to find a parking spot on the street. An unwritten policy gave those who otherwise had no parking space a temporary space to get a few hours of sleep and then a quick outing before 8 a.m. to move their car to a non-yellow parking spot as fellow residents vacated parking spots in the morning on their way to work.  The lack of parking is not just a Town of Harrison issue.  The neighboring municipalities of the Borough of East Newark and the Town of Kearny also suffer from a lack of parking.  Kearny’s 1st and 2nd Wards border Harrison and suffer the same fate of lack of parking.

Harrison Police Issue Parking Tickets

The Harrison Police Department announced last week that the Harrison Fire Department Director, Harold Stahl, had formerly made the police department aware of safety concerns related to parked vehicles blocking access to fire hydrants and corner yellow zones. Parking vehicles in these areas, according to Director Stahl, prevents fire trucks from safely making turns and navigating the streets.  Blocking a fire hydrant is a clear safety risk that could prevent access to water needed to effectively combat a house fire.  But do vehicles at intersections prevent Harrison Fire Department Fire Engines and Ladder trucks from turning into a street?  A double-parked car is more of an impediment for a Fire Engine than a car parked in a yellow zone overnight.

In social media posts, the Harrison Police Department has asked residents to be aware of where they park their vehicles.  In addition, the Harrison Police Department announced that it would be stepping up enforcement of parking violations to avoid possible safety hazards.

The public statement stated, “We understand that parking is difficult, however, we ask that you join us in our efforts to maintain a safe community by ensuring that these areas remain clear and unobstructed.” Parking tickets have been issued for parking in a Yellow Zone. 

The Millan Underground Parking Garage

It is not clear whether the Mayor Fife is going to take up the Millan Underground Parking Garage plan and start the process of building the proposed garage.  An underground parking Garage in the center of Town does make a lot of sense.  The City of Newark built an underground garage at Military Park in Downtown Newark.  The landscape in Harrison is not much different than that of the City of Newark.  In the interim, what else can the Fife Administration do to alleviate the lack of parking in Harrison?

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