Towering over every other building, the tallest structure in the town looms as an unmistakable landmark to any Ridgewood resident and visitor. Taller than Ridgewood High School’s cupola, and visible from as far away as Veterans Field, the crane streaking across the otherwise empty sky sticks out from the normal charm of the Village of Ridgewood. It resembles something akin to a rezoning project in midtown Manhattan, or the construction of the Freedom Tower. Instead, the unseemly crane in Ridgewood is a part of the Hudson Street Parking Deck project.
Constructing this new parking garage has been a talking point in Ridgewood since 2015, and now it is quickly becoming a reality, with a regular parking lot evolving into a multi-story stone box in just a matter of a few short months. Many have opposed the idea, asserting that the garage is too big a project for the town, while others support the idea of hopefully making the streets less congested with traffic. However, the Hudson Street Parking Deck isn’t going to change much.
In isolation, this parking garage is a great idea: it would allow for more parking spaces, decrease the flow of cars in downtown Ridgewood especially on weekends, provide more revenue for the town, etc. But the Hudson Street Parking Deck isn’t the only thing being built in Ridgewood right now. How do three new apartment buildings sound for curbing downtown congestion? Not great, right? Well, that’s exactly what the Village of Ridgewood is doing. With an apartment building on Chestnut Street, another on Franklin Avenue, and a third on Broad Street (no more than 700 feet from the new garage), Ridgewood can expect a huge influx of residents in just a few short years.
Yes, each respective apartment building has plans for their own spaces dedicated for parking, but what happens when a family doesn’t want to walk all the way from the north side of Chestnut Street to the Bow Tie Cinemas Warner Theater, or to Renato’s Pizza, both of which are around 10-15 minute walks? They’ll drive into town and park somewhere—maybe in the new parking garage. It’s not as big of a deal for the Franklin Avenue and Broad Street apartments, which are a bit more central to downtown Ridgewood, but even still, there may be cases of people not wanting to walk a far distance, such as those with medical conditions that make it difficult to undertake a long walk just to eat out.
All this leaves the town of Ridgewood with is accommodation for expansion. The Hudson Street Parking Deck will merely absorb a larger amount of residents thanks to the three new apartment buildings in Ridgewood, preserving the amount of congestion we know today, and potentially making things even busier in the downtown area with more residents and visitors enjoying the wide offering of shops and restaurants. The parking deck is a good idea in theory, but with more people living in Ridgewood, it stands as a reactionary measure to expansion.
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Graphic: Luca Richman