Together North Jersey today announced the release of the final report for the “Connecting Community Corridors” Local Demonstration Project!
The “Connecting Community Corridors” project has developed a strategic plan for the regional transportation corridors shared by Asbury Park, Bradley Beach, and Neptune Township: North Jersey Coast Line with stations in Asbury Park and Bradley Beach, and the parallel Main Street-Memorial Drive north-south road system.
The plan was developed by representatives from Together North Jersey, New Jersey Transit, Monmouth County, the City of Asbury Park, the Borough of Bradley Beach, Neptune Township, Interfaith Neighbors, and included extensive input from area stakeholder and public workshops.
“We were happy to be included in the creation of this plan,” said Patrick Durkin, Director of Development at Interfaith Neighbors. “The planning process brought a diverse group of representatives to the table and truly took resident input into account.”
The final plan provides specific recommendations for the corridor, centered on several themes:
Creating a gateway to Springwood Avenue, Cookman Avenue, & Ocean Grove from the Asbury Park Transit Center. This strategy calls for a renovated train station with “front doors” on both Memorial Drive and Main Street to improve the experience of arriving by transit. It also calls for improved public green space, bus shelters, and parking.
- Reconnecting Bradley Beach and Bradley Park in Neptune around the Bradley Beach Train Station. The top priority for this district is to bring people back into downtown through new residential development and retail uses that attract both residents and visitors.
- Increasing local mobility options with enhanced shuttle service. Many community members expressed interest in expanding the shuttle beyond the summer peak season to a year-round and full-week service. The shuttle route could also expand to include destinations such as markets, schools and jobs.
- Calming traffic through the corridor. There are many pedestrians in the area, especially in the summer months. By instituting traffic calming measures the area would become safer and encourage more pedestrian activity. Bike improvements, such as “share the road” signs and increased bike parking, could also be added to the corridor.
- Creating strategies for economic development for Main Street. Strategies to promote economic development would focus on the many assets that the area already has, including a vibrant shopping and restaurant scene, but more could be done to market these desirable assets and improve nearby public space. Urban gardens could be used to fill vacant land, building on the success of the Asbury Park Rain Garden at the Transit Center and the Asbury Park Community Garden behind the municipal building.
“We hope that by implementing these recommendations, we will encourage increased pedestrian and bike activity,” said Donald Sammet, Director of Planning and Development for the City of Asbury Park. “This will help mitigate parking concerns and bring more foot traffic to local businesses.”
The final report includes actions to implement these strategies as well as strategies included in past planning initiatives. In fact, some implementation efforts are already underway.
Supported by a grant from the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority’s Local Safety Program, the towns and county are conducting studies of traffic calming and potential lane or width reduction on Memorial Drive. The New Jersey Department of Transportation is also exploring changes to Main Street including travel lane reductions, bicycles lanes, and a bi-directional turn lane.
- The City of Asbury Park has designated Interfaith Neighbors and Michaels Development as redevelopers for Springwood Avenue and plans are advancing in the design phase for mixed-use infill and cultural facilities.
- The towns are reviewing codes and conducting master plan reexaminations including changes to promote streetscape enhancements and mixed use infill and adaptive reuse in the Study Area.
The full report is now available to download on the project webpage.