The North Broad Street Neighborhood in Newark is a thriving residential area with a small retail district along Lower Broadway and a distinct Latino flavor. NJDOT's planning efforts in this neighborhood were originally focused on the rehabilitation of the structurally deficient and functionally obsolete Stickel Bridge connecting Rte. I-280 over the Passaic River with Harrison and replacing a ramp structure connecting Route 21 north to I -280 east. In a pioneering, context-sensitive approach, NJDOT created a project that not only satisfies the goal of improving the interchange between Rte. 280 and Rte. 21 while minimizing the negative impact of traffic and limiting through-traffic on residential streets, but also engages the community in a meaningful way to develop ideas for making the neighborhood a more livable and walkable place overall. PPS assisted NJDOT in developing a community vision for the neighborhood, through a series of collaborative workshops and visioning meetings with community groups and other major area stakeholders.
As a result of this community process a collective vision emerged for a transit-oriented neighborhood that is both walkable and well connected via transit and highway to Newark's Central Business District, Manhattan and other regional destinations. A strategy for bringing the area to its full potential as a destination and a transit-oriented place organically emerged from the vision concept. This strategy includes a modified traffic circulation plan for neighborhood streets, walkable and pedestrian-friendly streets and sidewalks featuring traffic calming measures and pedestrian amenities, enhanced transit stops, and enhanced connections to the growing transit-hub at Broad Street Station, a network of public spaces, and a mixed-use redevelopment plan for the vacant lots and decrepit properties on North Broad Street. These ideas for improvements are being summarized in a comprehensive report and presented graphically in a series of concepts including a vision plan, a traffic circulation plan, and a rendered axonometric drawing to be presented to the public in a final community and stakeholder meeting.
Transit is a component, but by no means the extent, of your experience at a station that is a place. Memorable and enjoyable stations and stops that create value for neighborhoods are perfectly attainable. In fact, a transit station or stop can serve much more than a transportation function; it can be a setting for community interaction, a place that fosters a diversity of activities.