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Urban Designer to Council: Commercial District Will Look Great This Summer

David Lustberg from Aterial Design presented plans to the township council for a more attractive and refined commercial district by summer 2012


David Lustberg from the Montclair-based urban design firm, Arterial, made a presentation to the township council at Monday's meeting on the status of upgrades proposed for this summer in the North Center business district.  

To bring attendees at the meeting up to speed, Lustberg noted that the first phase of design started in August with new light fixtures that were installed in the commercial district, followed by an outreach project at the Bloomfield Public Library in October that introduced design concepts to members of the community. 

Shwoing the council a map of the business district, Lustberg said the area to be upgraded is along Broad Street starting at James Street and extending north to Brookside Park.

Improvements in Phase 1 are focused on intersections, he said, meaning gateways, crosswalks and “bump-outs” that calm traffic patterns, and more orderly signage along the street and parking areas.  Aesthetically pleasing “furniture” such as park benches, trash receptacles and bike racks will be added, aong with temporary sidewalk extensions that allow for an improved pedestrian experience.

As part of the planned renovations, the Pitt Street parking lot will also be improved.

Lustberg stressed that the sidewalk extensions, called “parklets,” are an effective and inexpensive way for merchants and restaurant owners to utilize the space outside their stores, particularly to encourage outdoor dining.  The parklets will extend the narrow, 6’ wide sidewalks to about 12 feet in width, "which is ideal", he said.

Most council members seemed to respond favorably to Lustberg's presentaion, though Councilman Bernard Hamilton questioned the safety of having outdoor dining in such close proximity to the street.

Township Administrator Yoshe Manale responded that, as a safety measure, the idea of “temporary barriers” were being discussed with the township engineer.

Lustberg concluded, “The budget that was allocated for Phase 1 was $350,000.  Optimistically we’re targeting summer 2012 for these improvements.”  He added that he was working to achieve the highest cost benefit and impact to make sure the township gets “the best bang for buck.”

Angela Ohanian April 27, 2012 at 03:46 AM
Oh these guys kill me. The township is having Metra, a construction company work on the water pipes, the front of my house is a disaster, my driveway is totally messed up, the front of my house on Belleville Avenue and Forest Drive looks like a garbage dump, and no one told us anything about the project and they are bragging that the town center will look good this summer? What about the disgusting old train station, what about the disgusting area around Washington Street? What about the derelicts sleeping and peeing on Bloomfield Avenue outside the recruiting office? Give me a break. They are all full of it, and the Mayor needs to tell his merry men when there is going to be construction outside people's homes so we can prepare for it. I almost set a date for my driveway to be paved and if I had done it, it would have been a waste of money! This town sucks, big time. We pay $13,00 a year in real estate taxes on one house, and $12,00 a year on our house next door, and no one tells us anything about replacing water pipes? And this is supposed to go on until the summer? I am furious! The town looks crappy and will continue to look crappy as long as people are slobs and how do I know? The front of my house on Belleville Avenue is constantly littered with bottles, cans, coffee cups and dog poop - people are pigs - people make ghettos, not the government. They need to be trained on how to be civilized!
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