What’s Your Perception of Bloomfield Avenue? Take The Survey

BY  |  Monday, Jun 02, 2014 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (37)

bloomfield-avenue-in-montclairIf you’ve ever complained about Bloomfield Avenue (driving conditions, pedestrian safety issues), now you can weigh in to effect change.

Together North Jersey is partnering with Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, Montclair, Verona and Essex County to create a Bloomfield Avenue Corridor Plan.

Whether you are a driver, walker or cyclist who regularly uses the Bloomfield Ave. corridor through Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, Montclair or Verona, work in a local business, or live in the local area, take a few minutes now to provide your thoughts and perceptions about the corridor. Your input will help inform and guide development of a Complete Corridor Plan for improving Bloomfield Ave.

Take the survey and let us know your thoughts in comments.

37 Comments

  1. POSTED BY redrum  |  June 02, 2014 @ 9:09 am

    I’ve always felt that two things to improve the misery that Bloomfield Ave is, are:

    1. Eliminate all left hand turns unless there is a dedicated turn lane.
    2. Strictly enforce laws against double parking

  2. POSTED BY PAZ  |  June 02, 2014 @ 9:18 am

    Sounds good.
    Also, no jaywalking. I almost got rear-ended because I had a moment of weakness and let a jaywalker cross.
    I still vote for the tunnel and making Ave.B a green space.

  3. POSTED BY kay  |  June 02, 2014 @ 9:47 am

    Paz, I am still right behind you on the Tunnel and now think it ought to run all the way through to West Caldwell. Case in point, Hubby took my girl to the pediatrician on the Ave in Verona last Thursday for a 3:00 appointment and said by the time they left, Eastbound Bloomfield Ave was stopped dead and backed up all the way to Essex Fells. He does tend to exaggerate, but he said it took them a half hour just to get back to Montclair. (in this case, he’s probably right)

    So I also second redrum’s suggestion for left turns and double parking.

    I personally go to extreme lengths of detouring just to avoid the Avenue at all costs. I know lots of very peaceful back roads now!

    My request would be, for the love of God, can they please coordinate the danged signals?!?

    And the signal at the Church Street/Fullerton should be changed so that each direction of Fullerton gets its own green – one side, then the other. That’s just pure pandemonium over there!

    Every time I see those evacuation signs on The Ave, I laugh. Getting out and running for one’s life would be faster!

  4. POSTED BY Mrs Martta  |  June 02, 2014 @ 10:15 am

    Double parking/standing is at the top of my list. Some of the biggest offenders are trucks. If you have to make a delivery/pick up, do so in a designated space, not while you are double-parked!

    Then you have the “I am only running in for a minute” folks. The minute usually turns into 20 minutes or more. So not fair, especially on a road such as Bloomfield Avenue, which is already congested.

  5. POSTED BY frankgg  |  June 02, 2014 @ 10:16 am

    There are very difficult conditions to work with to try to solve the problems of Bloomfield Avenue…

    1) The increasingly heavy volume of traffic especially the traffic not destined for Montclair resulting that Bloomfield Avenue is also a Thruway…serving other towns.

    2) The slope that seems to induce vehicular speed and distracted drivers, going downhill (like a ski slope) Its also like a view corridor where drivers easily look ahead off to the distance rather than what lies directly ahead.

    3) a tunnel would make for a GREAT environmentally friendly solution… but not for Montclair Center because under the road surface, it is all bedrock and water….underground streams and underground tunnels at Bloomfield Avenue. (the tunnels are documented in public record) There are documented tunnels accross from the Stagecoach House owned by MKA… and then again at the point of the Hinck building.

    4) There is no real possibility for ring roads that would allow thru traffic to circumvent Bloomfield Avenue because of the adjacent residential neighborhoods and street configurations.

    My solution would be to work with what there is without increasing building volume as to not add more traffic volume (people in a suburban community like Montclair will ALWAYS opt to using their cars) and FINALLY perform a proper traffic study that would show just how much more growth is possible considering the street configureations that exist and cannot be altered because we are concerned with maintaining the characteristic vintage (historic) environmental quality of downtown Montclair (as stated in the current Master Plan proposal)

  6. POSTED BY pat gilleran  |  June 02, 2014 @ 10:34 am

    Bloomfield’s Town Council has decided that a large digital sign facing the traffic on Bloomfield Ave is the way to go- they aren’t taking into account that it will distract drivers- cost over $30,000 (are they kidding) and not give the exposure that having a good website would

    But it’s Bloomfield- where we can’t seem to fix anything without bonding and breaking the bank

  7. POSTED BY whippersnapper  |  June 02, 2014 @ 10:41 am

    All great ideas. I believe left turns should be limited from Bfld onto sou. park. The intersection at North/South Fullerton needs to be reevaluated as well. If the timing is revisited I think there is potential to allow left turns onto church/SF. I recall there being a survey on here a while back regarding parking and so forth in this area. Were those results ever presented? I think eliminating some parking lanes closer to intersections to allow a left turn lane to be created could be a quick patch. It would have to be thoroughly investigated though.

  8. POSTED BY Frank Rubacky  |  June 02, 2014 @ 11:46 am

    It may seem counter intuitive, but any “improvements” will fundamentally require slower traffic to allow a corresponding increase in consistent throughput speeds. Other tradeoffs will be required with parallel parking at the top of the list.

    Our master plan calls for more density around this corridor, more mass transit – both local and regional, and bike lanes. The adjacent towns also call for similar increased density along this corridor.

    Yes, more left turn lanes, turn restrictions, signal synchronization, and traffic enforcement are the easiest to implement – but, they also have the lowest impact and will actually add some bottlenecks. Discarding the bike lane goal seems like an easy decision. Making Glenridge Avenue 1-way Eastbound (down the hill) will go a long way in mitigating the 6 Corners issue. Highly unlikely, but objectively an obvious & low cost circulation option.

    There is one more near-term option to consider -again, counter-intuitive – making parking spots on Bloomfield Ave in the Montclair Center Core long-term parking and move short term and loading zones to the side streets and surface lots. This will significantly reduce the occurrences of temporary traffic impediments during peak hours.

    In the long term, I think one side of Bloomfield Ave has to loose the parallel parking. Yes, another unlikely concession. So, I vote to leave it as is for now because it is not nearly bad enough for each of the particular stakeholders to make concessions.

  9. POSTED BY State Street Pete  |  June 02, 2014 @ 12:20 pm

    double parkers need to be ticketed and flogged, in no particular order.

  10. POSTED BY willjames  |  June 02, 2014 @ 12:27 pm

    The paradox is that making Bloomfield Avenue look narrower and more like an urban corridor would improve its safety, at least in the Montclair stretch. A recent study about this issue:

    http://jpl.sagepub.com/content/23/4/347.abstract

    “less-“forgiving” design treatments—such as narrow lanes, traffic-calming measures, and street trees close to the roadway—appear to enhance a roadway’s safety performance when compared to more conventional roadway designs. The reason for this apparent anomaly may be that less-forgiving designs provide drivers with clear information on safe and appropriate operating speeds.”

  11. POSTED BY nonfatwithwhip  |  June 02, 2014 @ 12:43 pm

    Bloomfield Ave narrows in the Caldwells, and it can get nerve-wracking with the way some people drive. I always feel as if I am the only person left on this planet that is capable of handling the curvature of the lanes as you descend into Montclair. Out of town drivers invariably barrel through and either drive into oncoming lanes or ignore the left turning lane for Upper Mountain and make a sudden stop and without signaling, proceed to attempt a left turn onto Upper Mountain.

  12. POSTED BY willjames  |  June 02, 2014 @ 12:56 pm

    And by the way, because it has come up yet again in this thread, NO ONE is saying that increased density around transportation sites and town centers will attract people who don’t own cars. That’s just silly. INSTEAD, the idea is that people that live there will drive a lot less than other people. It’s that simple.

    The metric that shifts when communities support increased density is “trip generation”–otherwise known as the number of times a person gets into their car and drives it somewhere to do something. In communities that include well-planned density around transportation nodes and around essential clusters of services and shops, the overall “trip generation” rate drops. That’s because the people who choose to live in those buildings hop in the car HALF as often as their fellow townspeople who live in neighborhoods more than half a mile from one of those centers.

    Source: http://www.epa.gov/dced/mxd_tripgeneration.html

  13. POSTED BY frankgg  |  June 02, 2014 @ 1:02 pm

    You may have noticed that west of Montclair, there are frequent traffic jams on Bloomfield Avenue but the traffic has more of a flow. When they were building Bloomfield Ave circa 1810… most of the roads in Newark, Bloomfield and West Bloomfield (Montclair) were already established, but further west in Verona, Caldwell and West Caldwell they could do some planningso they staggered the intersecting roads at Bloomfield Ave, as not to create dirrect intersections, thinking that farm wagons full of produce would not collide with busy thru traffic on the “Turnpike” (Bloomfield Avenue)

    On a another subject….. although the DOT is promoting schemes for communities to adopt the planning of mass transit and transit hubs. I SINCERELY doublt that any of these schemes would be accepted by the characteristicly free thinking (and priviledge minded) Montclair community. The DOT suggestions may be fine for Anywhere USA, but in my opinion, will never work for the Montclair community…..it would just be another…wrong turn.

  14. POSTED BY Frank Rubacky  |  June 02, 2014 @ 1:54 pm

    Actually, it is not that simple. ‘Overall’ trip generation is misleading and the link suggests the weakness of the predicative capabilities – especially when applied to an Urban Principal Arterial like Bloomfield Ave. For instance, there are distinct and siginificant imbalance in peak volumes by direction of travel.

    If our land use strategy for Montclair is to increase the proportion of commercial ratables in existing commercial zones (with Bloomfield Ave envisioned to have the greatest increase), then the trip generation impact of residential development will be a small part of the congestion solution.

    Furthermore, Montclair Center’s primary growth strategy is one of attracting regional patrons. As the closest East/West Urban Primary Arterials are Eagle Rock Ave to the South and Bradford Avenue and Rt 46 to the North, Bloomfield will remain the arterial of choice.

    My point being is that any long term strategy for Bloomfield Avenue, as an Urban Primary Arterial reaching capacity, will have to include moving parking off to the side streets. It is just a question of when.

  15. POSTED BY willjames  |  June 02, 2014 @ 2:20 pm

    Frankgg, “mass transit” exists in Montclair already. We have six train stations. One of those stations (Bay St) already has mixed-use, high-density development established right next to it. I have no idea what you’re talking about when you claim that “schemes” like this–which, let’s be clear, means simply putting higher-density housing within spitting distance of the transportation that a LOT of Montclair residents use to get into NYC–will “never work for the Montclair community.” I mean, seriously, what are you talking about?

  16. POSTED BY frankgg  |  June 02, 2014 @ 2:32 pm

    The Land Use Strategy for re development of Montclair Center has become too old and has reached its functional obsolescence. More and more residents are coming out to voice their disapproval of this kind of growth and moving for a moratorium on further development. (I agree…. If it can’t be done correctly… Don’t do it at all… Fix what has to be fixed and re cycle our beautiful old downtown that was so special and THRIVING just 30 years ago)

  17. POSTED BY willjames  |  June 02, 2014 @ 2:33 pm

    Frank R,

    My point about density generally wasn’t limited to Bloomfield Avenue. It’s simply a response to the constant refrain that people who support mixed-use development near transit sites and near existing shops and services have some sort of no-car fantasy in their heads. This isn’t a difficult concept to grasp: people who live within a quarter-mile of transportation and shopping take fewer than half as many trips in their cars as people who live in traditional suburban neighborhoods farther away from these things.

  18. POSTED BY wildwoodben  |  June 02, 2014 @ 2:52 pm

    It is fine, leave it alone. The most crowded county in the nation, and it works fine. Stop complaining for god’s sake.

  19. POSTED BY willjames  |  June 02, 2014 @ 3:58 pm

    “A Star-Ledger analysis of Census, schools and real estate data shows the state’s outer-ring suburbs, those that exist on the fringe of the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas, have stagnated. Their populations are graying far more quickly than anywhere else in the state as younger couples flock to places like Morristown, Maplewood and Montclair — municipalities that draw a common thread in their walkable downtowns and easy access to mass transit.”

    http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2014/06/sprawl_withdrawal_young_nj_residents_push_toward_cities_and_away_from_suburbia.html

  20. POSTED BY mrx5000  |  June 02, 2014 @ 4:32 pm

    That was fun. I recommend it.

  21. POSTED BY kay  |  June 02, 2014 @ 4:36 pm

    Interesting points, which raise more questions in my mind:

    Using traffic-calming measures to improve safety will by design slow things down. Which is all good when it comes to reducing accidents and not running over pedestrians. However, it does little to help anyone trying to get from point A to point B. And those folks, after Bloomfield Ave has come to a standstill from for at least twelve hours of the day, will begin to use Claremont or Walnut. (Actually, they already do, and both roads are now very much like the grand prix!) Is this the objective? Shunt travelers off onto residential roads? Wouldn’t it be better to contain this type of traffic to the main road and instead make it easier to pass though town?

    As a follow on to that, are there any studies that determine whether slow traffic equals more business for local shops? I mean, is the reasoning that “Hey, while you’re stopped at the red light for the next 4-6 minutes, take a look at all the cool stores we have here”, and therefore we don’t mind if traffic comes to a halt downtown? Or does easy access actually translate into more sales?

    I do see the point that perhaps transit-based planning could equate to fewer car trips, at least maybe during the week, if Harry and Ginny both hop on the train to their job in NYC. But if they have kids, guess what – one of them is now driving the car to day care. And the days of walking to Whole Paycheck for a quart of overpriced milk and fresh bread will be over, when Ginny packs up the kids and heads to Shop Rite.

    (of course, by then they will have likely outgrown their 2 bedroom apartment at the Ginormous-Crane-Town Building, and bought a house in the residential area…and will likely own a second car, too.)

    In the meantime I like Frank R.’s idea of no parking on one side. I would support that on all streets for that matter, like all North-south roads, no parking on the East side, and East-West no parking on the North side. Something like that. I fully believe that people would drive better, if it weren’t such a hazardous, tiresome chore to get anywhere! Instead of dodging illegally-parked cars, drivers could keep a better eye out for pedestrians! If it didn’t take 30 minutes to go 5 miles, maybe those drivers wouldn’t be so agitated by the time they reach their destination? Just a thought. Of course, this coming from me, the Freeway Girl.

    SSP – double-parkers are the at the top of the “me first” chain. How much more inconsiderate can someone be than to just stop the car in the middle of a lane and block traffic? Luckily, I don’t drive a front-loader to work!

  22. POSTED BY Frank Rubacky  |  June 02, 2014 @ 4:47 pm

    I just looked at the survey. Entire sections of questions for both Walking and Biking, yet only 2 questions on parking squeezed into the Driving section. Somebody needs to go back to Market Research 101 – the part about validating the question design – or put a disclaimer that this survey is not intended to address the individual parking related issues of the 4 municipalities.

    Why other questions are even included I’ll leave to others to wonder about. I’ve lost interest.

  23. POSTED BY Spiro T. Quayle  |  June 02, 2014 @ 4:51 pm

    I’d like to see a wide median strip right down the middle filled with huge trees, and one lane of traffic to each side. All parking to be done elsewhere. No doubt it will infuriate the motorists tearing down the hill from Montville, or up the hill from Newark ( both of whom have this much in common: they probably share the view that Bloomfield Avenue is little more than a glorified highway ) but it could, with proper enforcement, slow traffic and make pedestrian activity more bearable. There’s a lot to see on Bloomfield Avenue – old buildings, interesting businesses, etc. This could be a boon to those local businesses, too, as the 15 mph motorists can better take in the surroundings and consider a local place to shop or eat, or even walk around for a while. I admit, however, redrum’s ideas are cheaper to implement.

  24. POSTED BY willjames  |  June 02, 2014 @ 5:26 pm

    Kay,

    Grocery store trips are going to be car-based excursions, granted. So, let’s declare a moratorium on using the grocery store as an example.

    But if one lives within walking distance of the train, that’s 2 fewer trips per working day than the commuter who is either driving and parking near it or being driven to and from the station by someone else. So, for a 5-day week, that’s 10 fewer car trips for the apartment / townhouse dweller.

    If that person’s residence is ALSO within walking distance of a hub of social options–the gym, galleries or a museum, good restaurants, shopping streets, a bar, a coffee-shop, a cinema, etc–s/he will definitely make fewer car-trips to access the good stuff that the town has to offer. Let’s say, conservatively, that another 10 car-trips per week (i.e., five destinations, to-and-from) are avoided because the person chooses to do something within walking distance rather than jump in the car to go somewhere.

    So, even an incredibly conservative back-of-the-napkin estimate gets us 20 fewer car-trips for a resident of mixed-use, higher-density housing than the typical suburbanite. I’m sure that that undercounts the difference by a huge margin, but it’s not an insignificant number.

  25. POSTED BY Frank Rubacky  |  June 02, 2014 @ 5:29 pm

    So, I would like to change the subject too, but I’m going over to the Open Thread.

  26. POSTED BY silverleaf  |  June 02, 2014 @ 5:50 pm

    “It is fine, leave it alone. The most crowded county in the nation, and it works fine. Stop complaining for god’s sake.” – wildwoodben

    Amen!

  27. POSTED BY frankgg  |  June 02, 2014 @ 6:22 pm

    What I am talking about, willjames, is that more folks in Montclair are coming out to voice their disapproval of what the town would become with the proposed re development plans, more density and transit augmentations. We are a beautiful old vintage residential suburb that was never intended to become part of an intercity transit hub network. Montclair was originally planed with much attention to its natural beauty … so that it wouldn’t become “just a commonplace little city in the countryside” (from the Nolen Plan) We also probably have six train stations because Nolen and Montclair resident Julius Pratt, were protagonists in the development of train service in the US…. It was more like an elite priveledge to serve the large housing stock of fine local residences… not because they were prepairing for Montclair to become part of an intercity network. (this reminds me of the Prince of Donnafugata in Sicily… he was the Minister of Transportation for the first King of Italy… Because the Prince was tall, handsome, extremely wealthy and social…he was able to get away with constructing a government owned train line to his castle so that his guests could would have an easier travel for his fabulous parties) The train station in this case was an object of priviledge.. I believe that’s the same case for Montclair and many have moved to Montclair from the cities for the choice of living in a beautiful environment.

    The public transportation, local governments and township offices are organized by the people to serve the people. Its not the other way around.

    P.S. I think that Spiro’s idea could work and that it could be tried out for a while as an experiment.

  28. POSTED BY silverleaf  |  June 02, 2014 @ 10:46 pm

    “Because the Prince was tall, handsome, extremely wealthy and social . . . he was able to get away with constructing a government owned train line to his castle . . . ”

    frankgg, this Prince of whom you speak, was he in any way related to profwilliams and his palatial estate in UM?

  29. POSTED BY frankgg  |  June 03, 2014 @ 9:16 am

    My point is that the planning that we have from 100yrs ago was extremely valuabe, special, and very very priviledged. Not to be taken as something usual for its day. The town planning was concieved to create the wealtiest community outside of Manhattan… or on the East Coast, for that matter, because Montclair at that point was the second richest community pro capita in the US, (second to Pasadena, Ca)
    So probably yes silverleaf…. and back then the planning was done for an entire community of profwilliamses…

  30. POSTED BY willjames  |  June 03, 2014 @ 10:51 am

    Back in the 1920s, the NYTimes sniffed derisively in several articles at the supposedly low-quality, aesthetically bland, middle-class housing that was cropping up in suburbs all over the tri-state area. Reading their snotty and derisive dismissal of the housing stock built in the early 1920s–the houses that most of us who don’t live at the highest elevations here in Montclair currently occupy–is an instructive exercise in perspective-shifting.

  31. POSTED BY grgirl  |  June 03, 2014 @ 1:46 pm

    I live right off Bloomfield Ave. I have to cross it several times a day to get to the train. I hate Bloomfield Avenue!! I have often wished for a pedestrian bridge. I like the no left hand turn idea but I’m not sure how that would effect neighborhood traffic – it’s a tough one. It’s a very aggressive road and I wonder if there are other similar roads in our area that have had similar issues and found solutions that work.

  32. POSTED BY angelle  |  June 03, 2014 @ 2:33 pm

    I took the survey. I think the greatest problem with addressing Bloomfield Ave. as it traverses through several towns that each town has a mind of its own.

    Does anyone in Montclair and points east know that there is a developer in Verona that has been before the planning board for the past two years? His plan calls for blasting a rock hillside on Bloomfield Ave. just west of Pompton Ave., across from the Annin Flag building.

    The blasting proposed would be daily for a minimum of 3 months. Not good for the flow of traffic on Bloomfield Ave. not to mention the environment.

  33. POSTED BY raeven  |  June 03, 2014 @ 3:56 pm

    Not to mention all those poor people who live right behind the proposed blasting site.

    I believe in a separate project, they are looking into turning the Anin building into loft apartments. Not sure how the flow of traffic from renters there will compare to when it was an office.

    With that and another apartment complex proposed to be built, they really should have some sort of jitney from Verona to the Montclair/Bloomfield train stations–that would certainly save on traffic down the ave.

  34. POSTED BY wildwoodben  |  June 03, 2014 @ 4:12 pm

    “Back in the 1920s, the NYTimes sniffed derisively in several articles at the supposedly low-quality, aesthetically bland, middle-class housing that was cropping up in suburbs all over the tri-state area. Reading their snotty and derisive dismissal of the housing stock built in the early 1920s–the houses that most of us who don’t live at the highest elevations here in Montclair currently occupy–is an instructive exercise in perspective-shifting.” …and a lot of this housing is now being touted and cited as worthy of preservation for various reasons, none of them significant in any sense. Apropos of nothing, but these threads wonder aimlessly don’t they? The survey implies that more intense users of the avenue somehow might have greater weight in thier opinion. Based on that faulty assumption, domestic workers using the bus because of low income and lack of a car will have greater say in what happens to “beloved” Bloomfield Ave. It is a roadway first and then a center for commerce and pedestrians, That heirarchy should be honored at all times. Otherwise, it could be like the Tea Party running the nation. We wouldn’t want that.

  35. POSTED BY fido888  |  June 04, 2014 @ 10:21 am

    Suggestions:

    Eliminate Left Turns on to Park St.
    Build a Trolley Car track (s) from Verona to the end of GlenRidge.

  36. POSTED BY raeven  |  June 04, 2014 @ 11:17 am

    There actually used to be a trolley car that did run down Bloomfield Ave.

    “The Verona No. 29 trolley car used to run up and down Bloomfield Avenue, taking passengers from Caldwell to Montclair.”

    http://www.northjersey.com/community-news/new-group-project-old-verona-looks-to-town-s-history-to-bolster-its-future-1.495262

  37. POSTED BY walleroo  |  June 04, 2014 @ 12:16 pm

    You want to know what’s wrong with Bloomfield Ave in a nutshell? This house is nowhere near it.

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