Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Increased Frontier Airlines flights at Trenton Mercer Airport (KTTN) cause parking problems

EWING — Overloaded parking lots and a number of tickets on the windshields of illegally parked vehicles at the Trenton-Mercer Airport prompted the county freeholders last night to ask the administration to move quickly to come up with an ordinance for parking at the airport.

In recent weeks, as the airport’s only commercial carrier Frontier Airlines has expanded service to 10 destinations with an an average of five flights each day, county officials say parking at the facility has become an issue. Even with the freshly paved auxiliary lot and an additional long-term parking lot, spaces are few and far between.

“People are finding ingenious ways to park at this point,” Freeholder Andrew Koontz said. “Some of them are not legal. They are all over the place.”

Koontz reminded County Administrator Andrew Mair that the administration has said in the past that it would present a parking ordinance to the freeholders that could include such measures as parking enforcement and fees at the airport. No such measure has been drafted, Mair said. County officials have said there needs to be more parking built to accommodate the volume of cars for passengers on Frontier flights.

“We have talked to consultants about technologies for the operations of the lot,” Mair said. “This is a large project and it is going to take a while to materialize.”

Freeholder Lucylle Walter suggested that the administration should consider a short-term ordinance that could be implemented while the details of what to do with the parking problem long-term is still being considered.

“I think at this point, we are not looking at a permanent solution, but something that would stand up to the situation there is now,” said Freeholder Anthony Carabelli.

Freeholder Samuel Frisby suggested that before the county spends money on any electronics or equipment to regulate how long cars are in the lot or a fee structure for the lots, there might be a time limit implemented that could be enforced with something as simple as chalk marks on the tires of cars to monitor how long they have been parked.

Frisby said Frontier is marketing the airport as one with cheap parking that is close to the terminal, and if people return from their vacations in Florida or elsewhere to a parking ticket on their car, as some have recently, parking becomes a negative for the airport, rather than a draw.

“You want to do this right, you want to look at all the options,” he said. “You don’t want to create negatives.”

Mair said he would report back to the board on the status of a parking ordinance during their meeting later this month.

Last night, the board also gave preliminary approval to an ordinance that would lower the speed limit along Broad Street and Louellen Street in Hopewell Borough where increased pedestrian and vehicle traffic has caused problems.

If passed, the ordinance would allow for the installation of digital signs along the roadways that would alert drivers to how fast they are driving. The ordinance also would lower the speed limit from 35 mph to 30 mph from West Broad Street to Louellen Street and again from Princeton Avenue to Elm Street, with an area from Louellen Street to Princeton Avenue lowered to 25 mph.

The ordinance was proposed after 11-year-old Sabrina Russo was hit by a car as she was crossing the street on her bike last fall. Russo suffered minor cuts and bruises but the accident raised concerns with her neighbors, her father Sam Russo said.

Hopewell Borough officials said the ultimate goal is to lower the speed limit throughout the borough to 25 mph.

The ordinance will be up for a final vote later this month.

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