January 22, 2013 at 7:00 AM
NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The New Providence Planning Board is scheduled to hold a hearing on Tuesday, March 5 regarding a proposed 7-Eleven to be constructed in the parking lot between Barth’s Market and Provident Bank. Several business owners and residents have expressed their displeasure with the proposed new business.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, several business owners and residents told The Alternative Press that the 7-Eleven will further exacerbate traffic problems on South Street and will also hinder the ability for people to park to shop at Barth’s Market and surrounding stores. Concerns have also been raised that longtime business, South Street Market, may be adversely impacted should the 7-Eleven be built.
Resident Marla Carleen told TheAlternativePress.com, “Our elected officials have the responsibility to reject this request. We have a similar business across the street, South Street Market, that has served the town residents’ needs for a fast convenience store for many years. To build the same type of store directly across the street is absurd.”
She continued, “At this point, we have enough traffic on South Street and significant parking issues in the new A and P reconfigured lot that any further congestion will create a hazard. In addition, there is no crosswalk or traffic light anywhere along that section and having more pedestrians crossing in the middle of South Street, including children, increases the likelihood of fatal accidents. If a crosswalk or traffic light were to be put there, the entire street would back up towards Springfield making turning onto South Street a nightmare.”
Carleen also expressed concern regarding the nature of the 7-Eleven itself and its impact on the borough. “New Providence, with the addition of a 7-Eleven, is turning into a highway strip mall," she said. "We have multiple nail salons, bagel stores, pizza places and banks. Lest we forget, we now are the lucky ones to have a Cash for Gold storefront on our main thoroughfare with garish moving signs. Where are our public officials? I know the students as well as adults would love to have a Starbucks, somewhere we could all go and have coffee, tea or whatever. Is a 7-Eleven the best we have to offer to residents and our high school students walking home?”
One business owner who is supportive of the 7-Eleven is longtime business owner Joe Savino. He told TheAlternativePress.com, “I am not specifically in favor of a 7-Eleven in our town. However, I do believe that all successful businesses bring people to shop in our community. Any and all customer traffic is vital for any business community to thrive.” He continued, “Although I would not have personally selected a 7-Eleven, I do believe that the development of a parking lot into a thriving business will be a benefit to our business community, help lower the residential tax rate, encourage other business property owners to improve their properties, and ultimately attract more and nicer businesses to our town.”
The Planning Board is scheduled to hear 7-Eleven’s application on March 5.