Capital Improvement Projects
The award-winning Central Avenue streetscape project was the first major capital improvement project to be completed by a special improvement district in a New Jersey Urban Enterprise Zone. The elements of the streetscape – decorative sidewalk edging, antique-style street lamps, street trees, benches, trash receptacles, banner poles and a community bulletin board – serve the needs of a modern urban main street while complimenting Central Avenue’s historic architecture and charm.
The CASID began laying the groundwork for the streetscape improvement project in 1994 by funding a $70,000 master plan process that was implemented by architecture firm Miceli, Kulik, Williams and Associates. The resulting $1.5 million project, conceptualized in the above sketch, was then turned over to the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation, which used Urban Enterprise Zone funds to complete construction during 1995-96. The project was dedicated on October 30, 1996 and won an Honorable Mention in Downtown New Jersey’s 1997 Excellence in Downtown Awards.
Central Avenue Intersection Improvement Project
Between 2012 and 2013, the City of Jersey City began their Central Avenue Intersection Improvement Project.
The project calls for improvements to 21 intersections along Central Avenue (Waverly Street to North Street) including the replacement of existing handicapped curb ramps with a cast in place detectable warning surface, the replacement of traffic striping and signs, and the installation of new countdown pedestrian heads and ¾ inch thick polymer slurry surface (PCSS) crosswalks at selected street intersections.
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The first step in the streetscape improvement project was the installation of new sidewalks. These sidewalks feature red concrete pavers that edge the curbs and create the decorative effect of bricks. However, they are less likely than bricks to shift and create an uneven surface that could pose a hazard to pedestrians. The high-traffic areas of the sidewalks are paved with durable concrete slabs.
In cooperation with electricity provider PSE&G, the CASID selected 88 antique acorn street lamps for the Avenue. The balance of high, bright poles and low, antique poles creates a well-lit nighttime atmosphere while also giving the Avenue an historic main street feel.
After researching numerous tree species known for performing well in urban environments, the CASID selected male Ginkgo biloba trees for planting on Central Avenue. The roots of these slow-growing trees extend vertically down into the ground, preventing sidewalks and pavement from cracking. Ginkgo trees also have widely-placed branches that green the Avenue and offer shade without blocking business signs or reducing visibility for drivers. 115 iron grates were installed over the tree pits to protect the trees and keep the sidewalk surface even for pedestrians.
Fourteen black steel-woven benches with center arms were installed along the Avenue to offer shoppers and public transit users convenient places to sit and rest.
To reduce litter on the Avenue, 43 cast-iron trash cans were installed. Along with the CASID Street Maintenance Operation, these trash cans make a big difference in keeping the Avenue clean.
Three sets of banner poles were installed shortly after the main streetscape improvement project was completed. The banners hung near Manhattan Avenue and North Street welcome visitors to the Central Avenue business district, and the poles near Bowers Street are used to hang banners that announce special community events and initiatives.
The three-paneled community bulletin board is located at the entrance to the municipal parking lot located between Bowers and Griffith Streets. The CASID and local residents use the board to advertise public notices and announce special events and meetings. Community members can drop off notices to be posted on the board at the CASID office (366 Central Avenue, Suite 201).
The Future of the Streetscape
The CASID continues to perform upkeep of the Central Avenue streetscape by managing the Streetscape Maintenance Operation, identifying needed upgrades and repairs, and engaging the assistance of public agencies and private businesses responsible for the upkeep of specific elements of the streetscape. Avenue businesses and patrons are encouraged to help keep the streetscape looking like new by disposing of trash and gum in appropriate receptacles and reporting any damaged streetscape elements to the CASID. Together, we can keep Central Avenue a vibrant and beautiful main street for many years to come.