Friday, September 28, 2012

What's Up With Watsessing?

About two dozen Bloomfield residents got together at the Civic Center, last night, for what was billed as an "evening of brainstorming and strategizing to create a plan for land use, pedestrian mobility, traffic calming and redevelopment" in the area surrounding Watsessing RR Station. They were encouraged to take advantage of a recently awarded $50,000 Smart Future Planning Grant from from the state’s Division of Community Affairs. During the initial brainstorming session,  a consensus developed that new apartment projects should be avoided with a preference for commercial or light manufacturing developments. Ben Morse pointed out that RR tracks that cross Bloomfield avenue near Grove could become an asset:
"I asked about the train line that runs past Hartz Mt, and whether it hooks up with the Newark Port.They are expanding the port, so having a container line going to the port could be attractive. The shale gas boom is for real and will facilitate trade to those areas that have logistic capabilities. Not to export gas but finished products."

Attendees were shown slides of visual options for street layout and building types for residents to select their picks for aesthetic and practical preferences. Some of them seemed like visual "push polling"(would you prefer an intersection with more visible or less visible crosswalks?)

Pictured is one of several breakout sessions where map overlays were used to design a better flow of auto and foot traffic. Town engineer, Paul Lasek (r) monitored their progress.

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