Cape May Parking Problems Creative Solutions

Cape May Parking Problems Need Creative Solutions

Admitting Cape May has parking problems is the fist step to a solution.  Cape May parking problems are not going away overnight.  It’s unusual for this blog to write about a negative topic on Cape May. A respectable freelance writer once said, “writing about the good and bad would give my blog more credibility.” I think she was right.

City Council introduced an ordinance last week, to keep parking meters operating around the Washington Street Mall in the off-season. The intent is to preserve parking for mall patrons.

It’s my belief, that either Councilwoman Bea Pessagno misspoke or was mis-quoted in one of her statements. “The reason and rationale (for keeping the meters active) is there are no parking places available for the merchants themselves or their customers during this time of year,” she said, referring to the reason the meters should remain on.

To me, parking on Carpenter Lane and Lyle Lane should be for customers of the mall. Cape May parking problems exist all year, once meters get turned off in October, they get worse.

Off Season Cape May Parking Problems

This is a photograph of Carpenter Lane around October 28th with the meters still on. It’s early in the morning, yet it will remain like this until shoppers arrive.

This is a shot of the same street a few days later with the meters off. Cape May parking problems start to surface long before the shops on the mall open. In Exit Zero’s ramblings this week Jack Wright wrote: “Secondly (assuming it is employees taking the majority of these spots, which were not convinced about) why should merchants be any more entitled to parking spots that their employees?”

He’s Wright and wrong. By human nature people will park where it is most convenient for them.

The majority of mall shops don’t open until 10 AM or later. So, who IS taking up all the spaces? I do agree with Wright, able-bodied employees could park along Beach Avenue and walk a block or two to work.

Personally I’m not a stakeholder in this problem. That is, until parking becomes so congested that people ask for spare spaces if available. Fortunately the centrally located Victorian Motel provides parking for our guests. We literally have one space per room.

When physically possible I try to say yes. When I have to draw the line, I say so. Cape May parking problems are real and getting worse. Cape May parking problems need creative solutions.

Leaving the meters active on Carpenter and Lyle Lane won’t thwart people from shopping in Cape May, if spun correctly. Look at the ACME parking lot. Easter weekend and this weekend, charging to park, and the lot was full both weekends. People want to be here.

Another solution being vetted is a parking garage. Two areas I hear considered are the ACME parking lot area and the area behind the Marquis de Lafayette Hotel. Both have access to major thoroughfares.

This Monday April 16th the City will host a master plan open house. The 10 year vision for the City of Cape May will be discussed. This will be a time to discuss Cape May parking problems and proposed solutions.

No, we won’t pave paradise and put up a parking lot. But we need solutions. What do you propose?


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  1. Ann
    April 15, 2018 / 9:33 am

    I am not certain of course, but I’ll bet Cape May residents who live nearby are taking advantage of the free spots on Carpenter’s Lane in the late fall and winter. I don’t blame them. I would, too. It’s no fun walking several blocks in the cold, especially if you are older.

  2. Hugh Murray
    April 15, 2018 / 10:08 am

    Cape May’s continued popularity has created an ongoing problem; that’s both a good and a bad thing. But the solution will not be easy. It’s probably doable but will not make everyone happy. Good luck Cape May.

  3. Cathy
    April 15, 2018 / 11:17 am

    Well as a shopper if I can’t find a spot I will leave I am the one doing the buying so the employee will continue to have the job so if employees get the spot I will go elsewhere. I also am an employee and if parking was so bad I would ride a bike

  4. Megan
    April 15, 2018 / 11:55 am

    I have a couple of ideas for the in-season. One idea is off-island parking with shuttle busses to take people onto the island and get them from place-to-place when they get there. The other idea is to charge cars to come onto the island and use that money to provide more parking and, again, shuttle buses to get people to where they want to go. In fact, just using shuttle busses alone would keep visitor’s cars at the place they are staying and free up parking spaces at the mall, boardwalk and restaurants. Traffic and parking really impacts my enjoyment of Cape May and makes me avaid it in the summer. It is a small island; it only has room for just so many cars.
    As for the off-season, it looks like leaving the meters on is a solution.

  5. Marlene Adair
    August 6, 2018 / 10:55 pm

    Rockport, Massachusetts has a parking area just before you get into the heart of the town where there is plenty of parking and a shuttle (I can’t remember if the charge was $1 per person but know that it was inexpensive) that runs the short distance to the waterfront shopping area and back to the parking lot all day long. I think it’s great and seems to work. Maybe Cape May should contact them to get the details and perhaps that type of system could work in Cape May.