Jersey City launched a Slow Streets pilot program Wednesday to get people outside for their physical and mental wellbeing.
The program provides Jersey City residents with additional open space by designating certain streets Slow Streets, temporarily closing off through traffic and only allowing local traffic at very low speeds.
To allow for more comfortable use for adequate physically distant walking, jogging, biking, exercising, commuting and playing, partial intersections will also be closed.
“We have been working to bring outside-the-box solutions to address the various issues created by this unprecedented crisis,” said Mayor Steven Fulop in a prepared statement. “We were the first to implement strict and effective social distancing measures, and now as we work to carefully reopen, these Slow Streets will act as a relief valve for safe outdoor activities this summer as we see the streets and parks start to get crowded again. This program will also support further recovery efforts on the horizon.”
“The street we want to slow down in Ward A is located near a park, so we have enlisted the Triangle Park Neighborhood Association to help utilize the new expanded open space for programming that benefits the local residents while maintaining social distancing such as sports events, kids activities, and a flea market,” said Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley in a statement.
This is the latest program introduced by the Fulop administration utilizing city streets to help business owners and residents to adhere to social distancing.
The city has been working with eateries to bring outdoor seating into areas of the street while indoor dining remains limited.
Pedestrian Plazas are being incorporated citywide to give residents more room to breathe and move about comfortably, including at Grove Street from 1st Street to Montgomery Avenue; 1st Street from Jersey Avenue to Newark Avenue; Bergen Avenue from Reed Street to Duncan Avenue; Rose Avenue from Cator Avenue to Old Bergen Road; MLK Drive from Woodlawn Avenue to Armstrong Avenue; and Bergen Avenue from Sip Avenue to Newkirk Street.
Jersey City is also expediting the construction of permanent bike lanes. A mile and a half have been completed since the pandemic shutdowns, with 6 additional miles of protected bike lanes planned to be constructed in 2020. Since 2019, a total of 6.75 miles of bike lanes have been constructed around the city to encourage biking as a more environmentally friendly transportation option. Extending the bike lane network will also help commuters looking to avoid crowded mass transit, an announcement noted.
The first closure of the Slow Streets program will begin on Wednesday, marked with traffic barricades and signs at intersections.
“We will start with a few Slow Streets and roll this out on additional streets based on public feedback, as we want this to be a community-driven initiative,” said Barkha Patel, director of transportation planning for Jersey City, in a statement. “This is about the physical and mental health of our residents. As the weather gets warmer, and popular destinations like our parks and plazas become increasingly crowded, we want to provide residents with a safe outlet to go outside of their homes and comfortably use neighborhood streets for recreation.”
The streets listed below will be transformed into slow streets immediately:
|C||Senate Place + Dey Street||Entire Length|
|D||Nelson Avenue||Bleecker Street to Leonard Street|
|E||Jersey Avenue||8th Street to Newark Avenue|
Residents are encouraged to provide input on the program through an online survey.