Should Montclair’s Church Street Be Pedestrian Only During Summer? (POLL)


Lucy Ziesing has started a petition to make Church Street pedestrian only during summer.

Lucy Ziesing, who addressed her petition to Montclair Township Council, writes:

Church Street has been and will continue to be a go to place for me, but it also needs to be safe and enjoyable. We, as residents of Montclair, should be able to enjoy a stroll or a meal on Church Street without having to worry about cars speeding past. I propose to close Church Street off to thru traffic, beginning with summers. Every summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Church Street would be pedestrians only. Exceptions would be made for delivery trucks during a designated period of time, Monday-Friday.

By making Church Street pedestrian only it will allow restaurants and shops to extend their outdoor space, it will ensure people’s safety, and it will make Church Street an even more popular destination. Plus, with all of the new construction and hopes of drawing more people to Montclair, a pedestrian only Church Street will allow for everyone to enjoy a day in town safely.

In order to ensure that absolutely no cars can access the street, I also propose installing two automatic rising bollard barriers on either side of the street.

If making Church Street pedestrian only is successful during the summer months, perhaps it can be made a year round permanent pedestrian only street.

What do you think of the petition? Tell us in our poll and add your thoughts in comments.

Newsletter, Monthly Events, Special Features, Breaking News and More:

Get once-daily headlines, a monthly events calendar, and occasional special features and breaking news in your inbox.


  1. I don’t see the point? The sidewalks are nice and wide.

    A no-brainer for pedestrians would be to make the intersection of S Park & Church an all-way stop. The Council expedited all-way stops at the minor intersections of Brunswick & Central and Van Vleck & N. Mountain, but not here? I guess vehicle conflicts are the sole criterion.

  2. 1) I think the residents who park behind the apartment building at the corner of Church & South Park St. might have a word to say about a ‘pedestrian only’ street;

    2) If there is concern for pedestrian safety, perhaps pedestrians shouldn’t walk in the middle of an active street, nor should they feel they can cross anywhere they please;

    I just hope, should this absurd proposal gain momentum, that proper due diligence is done before any rash changes are made.

  3. Wow. 600 votes. What is unquestionably clear to the Council is that a vast majority believes sharing the road is NOT viable. This actually is turning into a mandate that invalidates the Complete Streets plan!

    I don’t understand why people think just drivers are reckless. They are the same people who become reckless pedestrians once they park their cars. And vice versa! Just amazing the lack of critical thinking.

  4. I think we need to get rid of this valet parking on Church Street before anything. The worst is in front of Fresco! It is like a 1980’s disco scene, with guys who still live with there parents, pulling up in their hot cars, to pose and flex, while their high healed women stumble and teeter their way inside, complete with teased hair and long dangling fake earrings. None are resident BTW.

    Once we eliminate this Mall like scene, we can then make Church Street open to the public, and give the weekend back to the residents.

  5. The sidewalk is wide on the south side, not so much on the north. I don’t see what the big deal is. 200 yards of a one-way street that has limited access to begin with. Gimme a break! There are too many cars transiting Montclair as it is. As a pedestrian I welcome the respite from the lunatic drivers that I see driving around with zero regard for anything or anyone, including strollers!

  6. And how many parking spots are we talking about? 10 maybe? Park in the nice big multilevel lot that’s a block away and walk. Jeez

  7. 3rd Ward Pedestrians want to seize a 1-way, single lane, limited access roadway! Go ahead.

    Of course, this will relegate the Complete Streets draft plan to an even lower priority shelf. And yes, it does eliminates handicap access – and once again will put the township back in court. And no, it doesn’t ban the bicyclists, electric scooters, skateboarders, etc. They just move into the pedestrian realm; pedestrians engaged in meaningful conversation, free-ranging kids, a few socially-minded dogs on leash, and fortified dining areas expanding like weeds with the vibrant sounds of clanging plates, flatware and people stirring their coffees endlessly.

    Of course, we’ll have to compromise and ban the bicyclists, electric scooters, skateboarders, etc. This is what make this proposal so significant. It is Montclair’s walking example of how Complete Streets in urban centers is flawed.

    Pedestrians 1. Vehicles 0.

  8. What you’re describing sounds quite pleasant. I feel like what you’re alluding to is a bit of an exaggeration, nonetheless. Closing off a single stretch of Church will not set the precedent for the inevitable takeover that you mention.

    I believe there is a single ADA spot on that block, right in front of Java Love. I’m guessing it was petitioned for by a resident at 45 Church, that most likely doesn’t reside there anymore. I never see it occupied, aside from the Police vehicles looking to meet their quotas, of course. There are plenty of parking spots on South Park that can be designated ADA if the area requires it

  9. Let’s see. The new generation sued to keep old people off of Church St. Now, the idea is to eliminate ADA access and drop-offs.

    Can we be any more entitled & materialistic? The plan is to allow for delivery vehicles, with healthy drivers, that don’t want to hand truck in their goods from South Park or Bloomfield? But, we’ll put the ADA spaces and the AARP card carriers over there. Really?

    Spectacular! While we are at it, let’s change that section of Church Street to Cuccinelli Way.

  10. Frank, I agree with your point about delivery vehicles. There’s a pretty good stretch of spots on west Church that are ideal for delivery vehicles. If the street is to be closed, it should be to ALL traffic, including delivery vehicles. To address the drop-off/ADA access, the 4 corner spots at the Park/Church intersection could be designated spots. As for all others, the Crescent Lot should be utilized. The merchants on the south side of Church have their own parking on the backside of the stretch of block for their employees.

  11. captainjp,

    Yes, there are all sorts of workarounds. I am trying to remember the purpose, aside from pedestrians aimless wanderings, of why we are closing the street. I get why over 400 votes were cast for the idea…the urban version of “white picket fence”. It’s pretty, but often superficial in purpose. Europe has so many examples of these underutilized hardscapes. Same BS cycle here. Open space (no purpose) falls to Commerce. Commerce balkanizes. “Vibrancy!” (see The Emperor Has No Clothes). Redevelopment. Growth to pay for it. Voila! Open space moved to the private roof of a new green building that replaced a historic building. OK, enough of the Master Plan Vision.

    Short term? This ands the last Council spent $1.5MM on a single block of South Park St between Bloomfield Av. and Church St. One of the main design objectives, and rationale for the exorbitant cost, was this block could be easily closed to vehicle traffic on an hourly, daily, weekend, or a Summer basis. Further, closing SPARK instead of Church St would also address the major design pedestrian & vehicle conflict zones at either end…at no cost. It would nullify the need for countdown Walk/Don’t Walk signs at Blmfld. It would nullify the need for Stop signs at the other end. It would nullify cars making left turns from Blmfld Av Westbound.

    So, I ask again, wy are we doing Church Street? It is certainly not for Urban Land Use reasons. It certainly is not to correct deficient conditions. It is certainly not because the street is designed for such closings. I think we are doing it to have a “white picket fence”….and Church St is considered the front yard while SPARK is the $1.5MM rear yard.

  12. Frank

    I understand your perspective, but respectfully disagree. I don’t see it as a detriment. On the other hand, closing SPARK would be an absolute disaster logistically.

  13. Noted. As I said, close it.
    My objection is two-fold. First, it is a solution that is still looking for its problem. Second, the taxpayers throughout town were sold a bill of goods on the SPARK project.

    P.S. Remember when SPARK had a Tuesday’s Farmer Market?

Comments are closed.