Transit Village Update

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July 2008
Volume 4, Number 2
Bloomfield Center Redevelopment

Bloomfield, a New Jersey Transit Village since 2003, continues to make progress on a comprehensive redevelopment plan for its town center, which includes the main rail station at Washington Street. Public meetings throughout the fall and winter set the stage for the current phase of redevelopment planning. Bloomfield officials are now working closely with Newwork, a Newark-based planning firm, and the Value Research Group LLC, of Livingston, to finalize the downtown plan. This marks a renewed undertaking by the community to revitalize its downtown; an earlier plan that centered around a proposal by developer Forest City Daly stalled when conflicts arose over the scope of the project and eminent domain issues.

More than 900 rail riders each weekday use the Bloomfield train station, a nationally and state-recognized historic site, which is served by NJ TRANSIT’s Montclair-Boonton line. The line serves both New York Penn Station and Hoboken Terminal. Direct service between Bloomfield and New York Penn, initiated in 2003, takes about 33 minutes, while the ride to Hoboken averages 26 minutes. A $1.3 million renovation of Bloomfield station was recently completed. Work included restoration of the boarding platforms and reconstruction of the inbound shelter which was damaged by fire in 1991.

The recent public workshops focused on community visioning, shaping the downtown, and interactive public design. Each of these sessions helped build consensus between residents, township officials and local stakeholders on the major emphases of the plan.  Bloomfield Avenue, Washington Street and Farrand Street, along with portions of Belleville Avenue, have been targeted as the primary improvement corridors.  A key concern voiced by all parties was the importance of creating a more walkable, shoppable downtown that retains the neighborhood’s essential character. In keeping with this ideal, a comprehensive vision plan for the area was presented in April.

In May, Value Research Group and Newwork presented the Design Guidelines and Redevelopment Plan to the community. The proposed guidelines and plan specify four districts in Bloomfield’s downtown, each with its own set of building specifications for use, height and form. Planners also developed a set of street typologies – commercial corridor, event street, residential street and mixed retail, each with its own characteristics. For example, a commercial corridor would be characterized by a four-lane roadway, on-street parking, bike signage and a comfortable 15-foot wide sidewalk. Five key intersections were noted.

BloomfieldStation
HistoricBloomfieldStation
c. 2008 NJ TRANSIT

Renovated Bloomfield
Platform and Station

Providing adequate parking in the station area was another area of resident concern.  As part of the overall downtown redevelopment effort, Bloomfield commissioned a parking study by Level G Associates, LLC to determine possible locations and the feasibility of a new parking deck to serve both the town center and the train station.  In a study completed earlier this year, Level G recommended the construction of a five-level parking structure on Lackawanna Place. The structure, which would be located across from the station, would replace existing parking and would satisfy the need to be a part of a larger redevelopment effort for the entire block. See the Bloomfield Parking Deck Study for more information.

Collingswood Moves Ahead with Station Area Plans

Collingswood Borough is taking a major step in its continuing efforts to redevelop near its transit station. In partnership with the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) and Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO), the borough this spring issued a request for qualifications and expressions of interest (RFQ/RFEI) for a master redeveloper of the Collingswood Station Transit Village. The transit village is a 9.1-acre site, an area designated as "in need of redevelopment," situated between Lees and Homestead avenues along Haddon Avenue, the borough’s main thoroughfare.

In 2007, the DRPA chose Collingswood to be the first stop along the PATCO High-Speed Line to redevelop its station area along TOD principles. The DRPA owns 7.6 acres of the site, including both the station and the adjacent surface parking lot. Other properties currently include commercial, retail and office uses (see map below).

On April 10th, more than 80 people attended an information session detailing the project. The borough received a total of 15 applications by the May 15th due date. Qualified firms will be asked to submit redevelopment proposals for the large surface parking lot and adjacent properties located north of the station.

The borough’s goal is to enhance its successful downtown district and to provide amenities to residents, commuters and visitors alike through additional services.  The DRPA and PATCO want to increase ridership and to add to passengers’ overall experience. To achieve these goals, proposals will need to provide new structured parking for 800 cars at the station.

This is the second project in Collingswood’s transit-oriented development program of intensive mixed-use development. The first project, The Lumber Yard, will ultimately consist of 119 residential and 19 commercial units. All 41 residences and 12 commercial units of that project’s first phase have been sold; most of the retail units are occupied. Phase two of the project is currently under construction with occupancy expected in early 2009. (See our May 2006 issue for more information.)

PATCO_Transit_Village_map
click for pdf

Source: Borough of Collingswood, NJ

 

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