To help preserve, protect, and nurture the economic and cultural vitality of downtown Caldwell through the creation of public and private partnerships.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Decades of Auto Centric Planning is Slowly Killing Downtown Caldwell-It's time to choose!

Click Poster to Enlarge

The presentation below is in response to Essex County's planned expansion of Bloomfield Avenue in Caldwell. The plan calls for a new signal at the Westville Avenue and Roseland Avenue intersection. We support this idea. However, Project Main Street believes that some of the changes being made are extremely detrimental to the economic and social fabric of downtown Caldwell. The proposed expansion of Bloomfield Avenue between Personette Street and Forest Avenue to five lanes and the elimination of 16 parking spaces, continues the outdated auto centric policies of the past.

We have an alternative vision of Caldwell that we shared with Mayor, Council, and Essex County Department of Public Works officials. The atmosphere was extremely positive and we were encouraged by the thoughtful questions asked by the Mayor and Council. The future of Caldwell is our hands. Do we add a lane of speeding traffic and lose 16 parking spaces in the process, or do we envision downtown Caldwell as a vibrant village, the heart of our community, a place we call home?

On Tuesday, March 23rd we made the following presentation on behalf of the citizens of Caldwell.

Please click on this link to view presentation

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Creating a Pedestrian Friendly Downtown Caldwell

We live in a auto centric society and this paradigm is destroying the social and economic fabric of small towns across America. We face this same threat in Caldwell today. Our vision of Caldwell as a pedestrain friendly center of community where people stroll downtown to shop, eat, and socialize is under attack by an archaic mindset that favors moving traffic through town as efficienty as possible at the expense of the vision of Caldwell as a village. Bloomfield Avenue is not Route 46. Caldwell residents are not concerned about the convience of poeple who are traveling through our downtown in order to get to work ten minutes quicker. We need a paradigm shift. Morristown for example has many mid block crosswalks that are clearly marked and the result is that a mother with two small children in tow, can cross the street in many places without the fear of being mowed down.
The images above were taken on South Street in Morristown. Notice, in the top image, how three cars stopped to let the pedestrian cross. I stopped to ask a policeman why and how Morristown set up all these mid-block cross walks. He told me,"it's important to the town to make Morristown pedestrian friendly, otherwise no one would come downtown", he continued, "and we give out tickets to drivers who violate a pedestrians right of way and it's a three point ticket at that, eventually people catch on". I was also informed that "there is a state grant available to pay police overtime to enforce compliance in the area of pedestrian safety." So, the next time you are trying to cross Bloomfield Avenue, imagine what our wonderful town could become with just a few small changes. Do we want to live in a village or on a highway? It's not about cars, it's about people.

Ridgewood is another successful downtown that has made many changes in order to maintain the small town character that is so important to residents. At Ridgewood High School the students produced a video entitled " Keep Kids Alive, Drive 25"

Just a modest decrease in motor vehicle speed can mean
a dramatic increase in survival rates in pedestrian-vehicle
crashes. For pedestrians, even drivers traveling beneath
the legal speed limit can present a lethal threat. If a
pedestrian is hit by a vehicle that is traveling 20 mph, the
pedestrian survival rate is 95 percent. This drops to 60
percent at 30 mph, and just 20 percent at 40 mph.

Research shows that wide, straight roads and long sight
distance encourage higher travel speeds and therefore
lead to increased fatalities and injuries. Yet traffic
engineering models tend to favor fast-moving roadways
over slower ones

Designing for Safe Streets
Narrower streets, street tress and mature tree canopy, on-street parking, buildings located close to
the sidewalk, raised crosswalks, and reducing the number and width of lanes can reduce traffic
speeds, and thus reduce crash rates and traffic fatalities. To improve the pedestrian environment,
many cities have embraced these design

Monday, March 1, 2010

Conversations on The Green-Anna Young's Report, Finding The Vision

Please read Landscape Architect Anna Young's report on how to approach the creation of a vision for our Green and Library expansion. For further reading please refer to other "Conversations on The Green" posts. Your comments are welcome and your feedback is essential.

Click below to read Anna's report
Finding the Vision-by Anna Young, LLC, CLA, Senior Landscape Architect at Dewberry