While widening McCarter Highway (Rte 21.), a major truck and commuter highway that runs along the Passaic River into Newark's Central Business District, NJDOT initiated a process to build consensus among local stakeholders for enhancing pedestrian access along and across the highway, and especially at the main site of a future Passaic Riverfront park. NJDOT asked Project for Public Spaces to facilitate a public outreach program - the Newark Waterfront Community Access Study.
The Newark Waterfront Community Access Study has been a team effort, in which PPS worked closely with NJDOT, and Edwards & Kelcey, as well as with major stakeholders to generate a common vision. A series of public workshops, placemaking exercises, and stakeholder meetings resulted in a concept plan for Newark's waterfront and its necessary pedestrian linkages across a widened Rte.21. PPS developed a series of resources to facilitate and build the stakeholders' vision including an interactive website; a number of powerpoint presentations; a preliminary idea poster; an interim report; concept renderings and a final report all available for public preview and comment on the interactive web-site.
Leading NJDOT's consultant team in the visioning process, PPS worked closely with major stakeholders such as the City of Newark, NJ Transit and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), to synthesize input from the Placemaking workshops into a concept for an accessible and active waterfront. This vision proposes ideas for amenities and programming in the future park, as well as suggestions for improving existing nearby public spaces such as NJPAC's Symphony Garden and Arrival Court. A crucial element of the vision is providing a safe and dynamic pedestrian connection from downtown Newark and NJPAC to the future park via the new light-rail station, and across and over an expanded McCarter Highway. Several alternatives were developed including both a safe at grade pedestrian crossing, and a pedestrian bridge linking the park's proposed attractions to NJPAC's future expansion structure.