Jersey City officials broke ground April 26 on a permanent $6.7 million pedestrian plaza on Newark Avenue and the surrounding streets, meant to keep some of the city’s pedestrian-heavy business areas off limits to motor vehicles.
The plaza was first designated as pedestrian-only in 2015, then expanded by another block in 2018 and again in 2020 as more businesses shifted to majority-outdoor operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Phil Murphy has consistently argued that gatherings and business patronage should, when possible, be conducted outdoors where the virus is far less contagious.
“Proving to be an economic and cultural [boom] to the city, the plaza was extended to a second block in 2018, followed by further expansion during the COVID-19 pandemic to allow businesses along ‘Restaurant Row’ to expand capacity,” city officials said.
Last year’s expansion of the pedestrian plaza grew its footprint to Grove Street between Montgomery Street and Christopher Columbus Drive, as well as 1st Street and Newark Avenue, city officials said in a statement.
“Since we did this you’ve seen the businesses in the area thrive, and we hope the further investment in this area is going to make these businesses in the area excel even further,” Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said during the Monday press conference.
The expansion includes the addition of a 400-spot parking deck and a 10,000-square-foot pedestrian plaza, which city officials said will “revitalize the commercial corridor and develop open space for community events.”
Officials will install iron benches and trash receptacles, plant additional trees, elevate the street level to match it with the current height of the sidewalk, and add in a small stage for community events.