Mayor Fulop and the Municipal Council announced on February 9th that Jersey City‘s Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza would undergo a $6.7 million upgrade. The design includes several public meetings to incorporate community input and was an open public bid. On April 26th, the City announced that the renovations have begun — with a goal to create a “premier New Jersey business corridor,” per their press release. Read on to learn more about the plans to upgrade Jersey City’s Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza.
The Renovation Plans
The upgrades include granite pavers to replace the green painted asphalt and elevate the street level to match the sidewalk for a “more cohesive structure” with a greater stroller and wheelchair accessibility. Decorative trench drains will line the existing curb, rain garden tree planters will be installed, and café lighting will be added for improved visibility. A stage area will also be constructed for community events, according to the press release.
What City Officials Are Saying
“The creation of the Pedestrian Plaza was a risk our administration took when first elected as there was significant pushback, but I think over time it has become clear to everyone that the changes we made there have attracted more people, allowed more businesses to open, and created a destination spot for visitors and residents,” Mayor Fulop said via the press release.
“This is a great move on the Mayor’s part. This is a win-win for all involved, and the quicker we start, the better,” said Rachel Sieg, Executive Director of the Historic Downtown Special Improvement District. “We’re looking forward to construction start, with the pandemic this is only going to help our local businesses. I’m thankful that the Mayor pushed this through so that our struggling restaurants and businesses can benefit and recover more quickly.”
The Evolution of The Pedestrian Plaza
The evolution of The Pedestrian Plaza began in 2015 as a pilot program to allow locals a safe space to walk and eat. After much success, The Plaza was expanded to an additional block in 2018. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was then expanded further to Grove Street between Montgomery Street and Christopher Columbus Drive as well as 1st Street and Newark Avenue.
Other Major Upgrades Happening in Jersey City Neighborhoods
The Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza upgrade comes after two other major projects throughout Jersey City on Central Avenue and West Side Avenue. The Central Avenue improvement project includes a 400-spot parking deck along with a 10,000 square foot pedestrian plaza, promoting efforts to revitalize the commercial corridor and develop open public space for community events. This project will include curb ramp reconstruction at all corners, curb extensions, ADA-compliant ramps, new sidewalks, new lighting, drainage improvements, and signage upgrades. Other miscellaneous enhancements include installing iron benches and trash receptacles, and additional tree plantings, the press release stated.
The West Side Avenue improvement project includes new underground sewer infrastructure to reduce pollution in our local waterways and alleviate localized flooding. On the ground level, the streetscape design will get a significant facelift spanning from Broadway to Sip Avenue with additional tree plantings and various green infrastructure installations for stormwater absorption and beautification throughout the shopping district. Future phases of the project will extend the improvements further south into Ward A.