Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza Pilot Recommendations, Round 1

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The following are the recommendations that the Harsimus Cove Association has made to the city after the first of two ordinance-mandated community meetings that took place earlier this month at the HCA's September General Meeting.

We spent about three hours speaking together, neighbors and local business owners alike, on questions and concerns that have arisen in the first month of the pilot ordinance.

The following recommendations are the result of this open dialogue.

  1. Street closures/Erie Street STOP painting.  Reinstate Barrow reversal for traffic calming (residents) and parking (businesses). Erie Street needs more than just a stripe (second stop sign & painted "Stop" in street). Signage on Newark on blocks leading up to the mall closure and better visibility of barriers from street at night.
  2. Rules for restaurants' outdoor seating. No alcohol in pedestrian mall except that drinking/food services allowed in roped off area in front of licensed establishment, but can't go all the way to curb. Need to leave a lane at least big enough for handicap access street side. Outdoor drinking must follow normal rules for outdoor seating/dining and break down at earlier of when the mall closes or 11:00 p.m.
  3. Amenities (bike racks, ping pong, etc). Ideas were suggested but nothing we approved officially (though we should send a list of ideas under separate cover). More frequent trash pickup is necessary though. One idea was a Library annex where people could take out books to read. Another idea was “chalk day”, where the kids can draw all over the asphalt. Another idea was a holiday market, akin to the market held in Union Square in December.
  4. Deliveries for residents/businesses.  Two ideas - we'd like to see tried in tandem.
    1. Limited hours (esp. weekends) to times plaza has actually show itself to be busy-- suggested 5pm-10 Mon-Thur. & Sun 5-11 pm Friday & Saturday. Maybe consider having days of week without mall (e.g. Monday) since bar/restaurants are slow or closed.
    2. Delivery lane. Revisit the idea of a 5 m.p.h. slow lane, but in the middle of the plaza with special access key for deliveries, residents, etc.
  5. Handicap access. See 2 and 3.
  6. Signage for rules (no bicycles, etc). Prominently posted signage with rules. In addition to the alcohol rules above, there need to be clear rules on bicycles, children's scooters, amplified music etc.
  7. Garbage Collection.  More frequently picked up, especially on weekends. Some businesses put garbage out for the night on the curb and right next door is outdoor seating. It’s a liability issue and not very nice to sit outside next to garbage
  8. An established emergency protocol for first responders (EMS, Police, Fire Dept.) on how to access the Mall when Newark Avenue is closed to traffic.
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