proposed garage says town is already too congested
RED BANK — The prospect of a downtown parking garage did not go away. Neither did Al LaRotonda.
The activist and parking garage protestor is back, speaking out against construction of the garage, and the potential development and congestion it could bring.
A homemade sign reading, "No Taj Garage," which debuted on the front lawn of LaRotonda’s Spring Street residence more than two years ago, was reposted this week.
In the past few days, LaRotonda said he has fielded quite a few phone calls from other parking garage protesters.
"Mayor Edward McKenna has repeatedly talked to newspapers about a private developer building a parking garage in Red Bank," LaRotonda said.
"I think he’s overstepping his authority. Residents do not feel like they have any rights … that’s why I put the sign back up," he said.
LaRotonda, an assistant college professor who has resided in the borough for 10 years, said a parking garage in Red Bank is a completely unnecessary endeavor that would generate funding woes, be an eyesore and add congestion — especially with the construction of the K. Hovnanian headquarters on Front Street and the proposed condominium on Monmouth Street.
"As it is, it is almost impossible to get in and out of town in a speedy manner." The only parking solution, he said, is a "moratorium for development and redevelopment, until there is a master plan for parking."
But McKenna, who described LaRotonda as a "chronic malcontent" who has "no idea what he’s talking about," said there is no current plan for a parking garage.
"It is only a possibility. There is nothing before anyone at this time. If and when any property comes forth, there will be a public hearing, and everyone will have the opportunity to be heard," he said.
While residents came out in force in 2000, shooting down a borough-funded parking garage proposal, McKenna said the hypothetical new plan would be run by a private developer — at no cost to the taxpayers.
LaRotonda, however, isn’t buying it.
"I am thoroughly disgusted with McKenna’s job performance and his position on development."
Residents need to form a group or unite with other resident groups, he said. "It’s a waste of time to open your mouth unless you have people that agree with you. Otherwise they (township officials) brush you off."