The New Jersey Society of Municipal Engineers named Jersey City’s Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza Municipal Project of the Year.
From John Heinis/Hudson County View
“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,” NJSME Executive Director Matthew Halpin said in a statement.
“The administration’s innovation has resulted in a transformation of the area that now allows the community to enjoy more open space, provide ADA accessibility and pedestrian safety, while providing the city with an aesthetically pleasing space.”
The $6.7 million renovation, which cut the ribbon in July, raised the existing roadway to accommodate the new ditch drainage system, which also provides curb-free ADA access to the plaza.
Hydraulic excavation was used for the foundations of the decorative poles that support the programmable LED strings of lights that illuminate the plaza, making a distinct and welcoming impression on customers and passive users.
“In 2015, after careful consideration, we took the opportunity to create a safe place for pedestrians where we could nurture community and boost our local economy. Receiving this state-level award seven years later is further validation that our vision has become a reality and a great success,” added Mayor Steven Fulop.
“This plaza permanence project included more tree planting, ADA accessibility, built-in seating, bike racks, better lighting for improved visibility, and steel bollards near active portions of the roadway to ensure pedestrian safety as part of Jersey City’s commitment to Vision Zero .”
The Pedestrian Mall was first closed to vehicles in 2015 as a pilot program to limit traffic and create a destination for pedestrians. The square was expanded by a second block in 2018.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the space between Montgomery Street and Christopher Columbus Drive and 1st Street and Newark Avenue was extended to Grove Street.
The expanded outdoor capacity helped restaurants and small businesses stay afloat and safely reopen sooner.
“This was a significant undertaking as we really wanted to ensure we were meeting all of the community’s needs and desires within the design, particularly for our local businesses who will benefit greatly from the permanence project. Also, we didn’t want to disturb the active area during construction,” adds Russo.
“After years of creating a place where residents and visitors know they can enjoy the outdoors, the restaurants, the shops and the overall ambiance all year round, we are very proud to have completed this special project and continue with it To have taken home the award in this process is an added bonus for which I am grateful.”
The Jersey City engineering team accepted the Municipal Project of the Year award presented at this year’s New Jersey League of Municipalities in Atlantic City.