The New Jersey Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects has recognized the Main Avenue Local Concept Development Study in the City of Passaic with a Merit Award.
The award was given to Passaic County, the City of Passaic, the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) and consultants Arterial and Sam Schwartz. The study, completed in 2021, was led by Passaic County in partnership with the City of Passaic, with funding from the NJTPA’s Local Capital Project Delivery Program. It explored ways to improve travel safety, traffic flow, access to transit, walkability and support economic development along the corridor from Monroe Street to Gregory Street. The study recommends converting a parking area in the middle of the corridor into green space.
“We’re honored to have the Main Avenue study recognized. This project is a great example of how counties and cities can work together with the NJTPA to use federal dollars to plan local infrastructure improvements,” said Passaic County Commissioner John W. Bartlett, Chair of the NJTPA Board of Trustees. “The vision this study presents will improve safety while supporting the local economy, which are goals of the NJTPA’s long-range transportation plan. Add in other initiatives, like new parks funded by state Green Acres and county Open Space funds, plus support and funding for businesses and schools, and studies like this one can catalyze the transformation of a community.”
Passaic City Mayor Hector Lora said, “Once this project is eventually completed it will be a game changer for our downtown business district. It will create a sense of place for visitors from all around.”
Concept development is the first phase of work in the Local Capital Project Delivery Program. Concept development studies review existing conditions and needs, and identify possible solutions to address them. Completing this initial phase of work allows the county to seek federal funding for additional work, including preliminary engineering and eventually construction.
The study included extensive public engagement. When the COVID-19 pandemic affected the ability to hold in-person meetings, they were shifted to virtual events, including a Facebook Live hosted by Mayor Lora.
“Transparency and community involvement are at the cornerstone of my administration. After I hosted multiple virtual and in-person meetings with residents and stakeholders, they recommended converting the parking area in the middle of Main Avenue into a promenade and adding reverse angle parking adjacent to the businesses, which was incorporated into the study,” Mayor Lora said.
The promenade would have shade trees, plantings, a walkway, and seating. This concept includes bicycle lanes and would reduce the road from two travel lanes in each direction to one to shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians. The study also recommends converting the intersection of Main Avenue, Pennington Avenue, State Street and River Drive into a modern roundabout to improve safety and the flow of traffic.
The project is expected to advance to the preliminary engineering phase when the NJTPA Board of Trustees votes on a new Transportation Improvement Program in September.