Mayor Steven M. Fulop joins the Department of Infrastructure and the Department of Engineering to receive the award Municipal project of the year of the New Jersey Association of Municipal Engineers (NJSME) upon completion of the final stretch of the Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza construction.
The transformation gives “restaurant row” the sustainability it deserves, creating one of New Jersey’s premier destinations for shopping, dining and community events. The city held multiple community meetings to gather public input and incorporate feedback throughout the design.
“After careful consideration, in 2015 we jumped at the opportunity to create a safe space for pedestrians where we could foster community and boost our local economy. Receiving this award seven years later at the state level confirms once again that our vision has become a reality and a great success,” said Mayor Fulop. “This plaza permanence project included more tree plantings, ADA accessibility, built-in seating, bike racks, better lighting for better visibility, and steel bollards near active areas of the roadway to ensure pedestrian safety as part of Jersey City’s commitment to Vision Zero .”
“This was an important undertaking as we really wanted to make sure that within the design we met all the needs and wishes of the community, especially for our local businesses who will greatly benefit from the permanence project. We also did not want to disturb the active area during construction. After years of creating a place where residents and visitors know they can enjoy the outdoors, the restaurants, the shops and the overall atmosphere all year round, we are very proud to have realized this special project and won an award in the process is an added bonus that I’m thankful for,” added Paul Russo, Director of the Engineering Department.
The existing roadway is now being elevated to comply with the new trench drainage system, which also provides curb-less ADA accessibility to the plaza. Hydronic excavation was used for the foundation of the decorative posts, which support the programmable LED string lights that illuminate the plaza and leave a clear and welcoming impression on customers and passive users.
The Pedestrian Mall was first closed to vehicles in 2015 as a pilot program to limit traffic and create a pedestrian destination. The square was expanded to a second block in 2018. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the plaza was extended to Grove Street between Montgomery Street and Christopher Columbus Drive, as well as 1st Street and Newark Avenue. The expanded outdoor capacity helped restaurants and small businesses stay afloat and safely reopen more quickly.
“In a densely populated city like ours, pedestrian plazas and open spaces are critical public infrastructure to support not only economic vitality, but the overall health, well-being and resilience of our communities,” said Barkha Patel, director of the Infrastructure Department. “Following the success of the Newark Avenue pedestrian plaza, we have since added several other pedestrian plazas in other Jersey City areas to help our local restaurants and small businesses survive, especially during COVID, with expanded outdoor space to entice more people to shop locally. shop .”
The Municipal Project of the Year award, presented at this year’s New Jersey League of Municipalities in Atlantic City, was accepted by the Jersey City engineering team after years of careful planning to create a unique design that meets the needs of the community.
“On behalf of the Society, we commend Paul Russo, PE, for his outstanding work on the Newark Avenue Pedestrian Project and his first-place finish. The administration’s innovation has led to a transformation of the area, which now allows the community to enjoy more open space, provide ADA accessibility and pedestrian safety, all while providing an aesthetically pleasing plaza for the city,” said Matthew Halpin, Executive Director of NJSME said of Jersey City’s efforts.
In Jersey City, 2022 is the “Year of Open Space,” highlighting the community’s need for open space and the opportunity to innovate and create it.