Neighborhood Plan
creating our future, together

Bergen Communities United

A plan for resident-led neighborhood revitaliz...
Bergen Communities United Officers:

Bergen Communities United Steering Committee:

Chairperson
Brenda Pettiford
Resident ...
Bergen Communities United
WomenRising, Inc.
270 Fairmount Avenue
Jersey City, New Jersey 07306
To Whom it May Concern,
On ...
contents

THE

BCU

NEIGHBORHOOD

PLAN

1	

a citizen’s guide : the bcu neighborhood plan	

page 6

2	

planning together ...
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world:
indeed, it’s the only thing that eve...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

a citizen’s guide

to the BCU neighborhood plan

Resident led Planning Effort Seeks to Revitalize ...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

What’s in the Plan?
The BCU Neighborhood Plan is a road map to the
future. It contains seven main ...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

make a difference get involved
How can you get involved in making the BCU neighborhoods a great pl...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

planning together

how the plan was made & updated



The BCU planning process has sought to crea...
Planning Together

BCU Neighborhood Plan	

Community input was recorded on flip charts and
wallgraphics, and then summariz...
Planning Together

BCU Neighborhood Plan	

Following the completion of the plan in 2005, the BCU neighborhood and its’ vol...
Planning Together

BCU Neighborhood Plan	

In January 2012 WomenRising, on behalf of BCU, submitted an
application to the ...
Planning Together

BCU Neighborhood Plan	

In June 2012 APA-NJ identified the team that would update the plan, meetings we...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

where we are

our neighborhood today



An effective plan for the future requires a clear underst...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

Who We Are [demographic profile]

The BCU planning area is home to almost 14,000 people, from many...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

	

Our families are larger than average. The average number
of people per household varies betwee...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

Where We Live [housing profile]

There are approximately 6,000 houses, condominiums and apartment
...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

	

There are opportunities for new housing in the
neighborhood. A previous study of the BCU neigh...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

Where We Shop and Work [economic profile]
January 2013 Unemployment Rates
Jersey City		
9.5%
Hudso...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

	

	
	

McGinley Square commercial vacancy rates are low,
Monticello’s are high. In 2005, the Mc...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

Resident-Identified Issues and Opportunities

At the March 2005 Visioning Workshop, neighborhood r...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

our destination

vision + guiding principles



The BCU Neighborhood Plan aims to create and sust...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

	

Quality, well-preserved and affordable housing. BCU will
work to preserve historic sites and e...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

Guiding Principles

“Guiding Principles” draw upon the values articulated in the vision
to create ...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

Create lively shopping districts

	
	

Support current and ongoing efforts to reinforce neighbor...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

getting there

strategic directions



Getting from where we are today to where we want to be in ...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

10 Principles for Resident Led Neighborhood Revitalization
1. Great Neighborhoods Need Great Champ...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

6. Greening the Neighborhood
All great neighborhoods have a combination of parks, plazas, street
t...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

This section translates these guiding principles into specific strategic directions that the steer...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

1	

Empowerment Through Activism

1

Empowerment Through Activism

Our vision describes a communit...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

1

Empowerment Through Activism

1a	

Skills training

The Issue
Economic success for residents re...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

1b	

Youth Facilities and Programs

1

Empowerment Through Activism

The Issue
Young people are an...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

1

Empowerment Through Activism

1c	

Senior Facilities and Programs

The Issue
Seniors are an imp...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

1d	

Filling the Funding Gaps

The Issue
With many local governments operating under a financial c...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

1

Empowerment Through Activism 1e	

Facilitation and Logistics

The Issue
Central to the success ...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

1f	

Public Relations and Promotion

1

Empowerment Through Activism

The Issue
Economic success f...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

1	

A Great Place to Work + Shop

Our vision describes the BCU neighborhood as a place with lively...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

What’s Happening on Monticello?
The short answer is: lots of things.
Monticello Avenue, from Fairm...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

2

A Great Place to Work + Shop:
Strengthen the Core

Security Cameras
Closed Circuit Television c...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

2a	

Monticello Avenue

The Issue
Monticello Avenue is one of the primary business districts of th...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

2

A Great Place to Work + Shop:
Strengthen the Core

2b	

Bergen Avenue + McGinley Square

The Is...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

3	

A Clean, Safe + Secure Neighborhood

3

A Clean, Safe, + Secure
Neighborhood

Our vision descr...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

3

A Clean, Safe, + Secure
Neighborhood

3a	

Responding to Crime

The Issue	
Residents feel that ...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

3

A Clean, Safe, + Secure
Neighborhood

3b	

Street Lighting and ‘Defensible Space’

The Issue
So...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

3

A Clean, Safe, + Secure
Neighborhood

3c	

Traffic and Pedestrian Safety

The Issue
Improper pa...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

3d	

3

A Clean, Safe, + Secure
Neighborhood

Neighborhood Clean-up

The Issue
Areas of the neighb...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

4

A Sustainable and Vibrant
Neighborhood

4	

A Sustainable and Vibrant Neighborhood

Our vision ...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

4a	

Housing Mix and Affordability

4

A Sustainable and Vibrant
Neighborhood

The Issue
Housing p...
BCU Neighborhood Plan	

4

A Sustainable and Vibrant
Neighborhood

4b	

“Greening” and Improving the Neighborhood

The Iss...
APA-NJ CPAP - BCU Final Plan
APA-NJ CPAP - BCU Final Plan
APA-NJ CPAP - BCU Final Plan
APA-NJ CPAP - BCU Final Plan
APA-NJ CPAP - BCU Final Plan
APA-NJ CPAP - BCU Final Plan
APA-NJ CPAP - BCU Final Plan
APA-NJ CPAP - BCU Final Plan
APA-NJ CPAP - BCU Final Plan
APA-NJ CPAP - BCU Final Plan
APA-NJ CPAP - BCU Final Plan
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APA-NJ CPAP - BCU Final Plan

  1. 1. Neighborhood Plan creating our future, together Bergen Communities United A plan for resident-led neighborhood revitalization in the BCU planning area of Jersey City, New Jersey Prepared for and with the BCU Steering Committee and other neighborhood stakeholders October 2005 Summer 2012 - Update Bergen Communities United (BCU) is a community-based collaboration among area stakeholders working passionately to improve the quality of life in our neighborhood. BCU fosters communication and establishes links among neighborhood stakeholders to identify common interests, problems and solutions. Through our work together, which has involved hundreds of community residents, business owners and other stakeholders, we have developed this comprehensive plan, to function as a practical roadmap for the rejuvenation of the BCU neighborhood. For more information please contact BCU c/o WomenRising, Inc. 270 Fairmount Ave Jersey City, NJ 07306 (201) 860-4030 http://bergencommunitiesunited.webs.com prepared by Community Planning Collaborative New Jersey American Planning Association - Community Planning Assistance Program
  2. 2. Bergen Communities United Officers: Bergen Communities United Steering Committee: Chairperson Brenda Pettiford Resident at-large Resident Fadia Joseph Vice Chairs Claire Davis Resident at-large Tinia Bland Astor Place Neighborhood Association Secretary Paul Bellan-Boyer Garden State Episcopal Community Development Bergen Communities United Staff: BCU Coordinator Tynisha Coleman Resident Pearl Park Resident Matt Ward Resident Reverend Joyce Watterman Resident Henry Hernandez Astor Place Neighborhood Association Tinia Bland Fairmont Housing Corporation Rosemary Nwabueze Garden State Episcopal Community Development Ast Paul Bellan-Boyer Horizon Health Center Jackson Hill Main Street Management Corporation Michael Griffin McGinley Square Partnership Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church Lily Fleming Funders Wells Fargo Regional Foundation Bank of America Independence Community Foundation Local Initiatives Support Corporation PNC Bank PSE&G New City Kids PS#17 Parent Council Lori Frohwirth Resurrection House Roger Williams St. Peter’s University Community Planning Collaborative West Belmont Tenant Association Aura Highsmith David Driskell Joshua Abrams West Bergen / Lincoln Park Neighborhood Coalition New Jersey American Planning Association Community Planning Assistance Program Team Tom Schulze David I. Robbins AICP, RLA, LEED Elizabeth Shulman Michael Groh Suzanne DiGeronimo Women Rising, Inc. Roseann Mazzeo
  3. 3. Bergen Communities United WomenRising, Inc. 270 Fairmount Avenue Jersey City, New Jersey 07306 To Whom it May Concern, On behalf of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association I wanted to say what a pleasure it has been to work with you, your staff, and members of the Bergen Hill community for the past nine months on the update of your community plan. As you know, your project was one of three projects selected and completed in the first round of the Chapter’s newly formed Community Planning Assistance Program. Your organization’s level of professionalism and your interest in including the wider community in the planning process has been a real strength of this project. The results reflect both of these. Despite the unfortunate delay that resulted from Superstorm Sandy in October, I am hoping the results will provide you with the foundation you need to continue applying for, and receiving, grants for improving your community. I look forward to continuing to work with you and watching your future successes. Sincerely, Tom Schulze, Coordinator Community Planning Assistance Program
  4. 4. contents THE BCU NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN 1 a citizen’s guide : the bcu neighborhood plan page 6 2 planning together : how the plan was made page 9 3 where we are : our neighborhood today page 14 4 our destination : vision + guiding principles page 22 5 getting there : strategic directions page 26 6 first steps : moving the plan forward page 53 7 keeping current : managing our plan page 55
  5. 5. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. MARGARET MEAD All of this will not be finished in the first one hundred days, nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this administration...but let us begin. JOHN F. KENNEDY
  6. 6. BCU Neighborhood Plan a citizen’s guide to the BCU neighborhood plan Resident led Planning Effort Seeks to Revitalize Bergen and Monticello Neighborhoods Since March 2005, Bergen Communities United (BCU) has been hosting a series of community meetings to identify priorities for neighborhood revitalization and create a workable plan for resident led action. What is BCU? Bergen Communities United (BCU) is a communitybased collaboration among area stakeholders working passionately to improve the quality of life in our neighborhood. BCU fosters communication and establishes links among neighborhood stakeholders to identify common interests, problems and solutions. Through our work, which has involved hundreds of community residents, business owners and other stakeholders, the BCU Neighborhood Plan has been developed to provide a practical road map for neighborhood rejuvenation. Thanks to the hundreds of residents and stakeholders who participated and the work of the Steering Committee, the BCU Neighborhood Plan is now ready for action, and work is already underway to implement its top priorities. Titled Creating Our Future Together, the BCU Neighborhood Plan was developed based on input from local residents, business owners and others through a participatory process that included a Visioning Workshop, a Strategic Directions Workshop, and a Plan Review/ Action Planning Workshop.  The BCU Steering Committee includes homeowners, tenants, merchants, neighborhood organizations, non-profits, church leaders, parent groups and at-large members, all who share a commitment to neighborhood revitalization. The BCU Plan is ready for action! Based on the input and feedback from these workshops, the BCU Neighborhood Plan identifies four strategic themes, summarized on the following two pages:  A Safe and Secure Neighborhood  An Urban Village  A Place for Us All  A Great Place to Work and Shop In each area, the plan describes key issues, goals and policy priorities, as well as specific activities that BCU plans to undertake, either on its own or in collaboration with the City and/or others. In addition, the plan identifies nearterm priorities for action, developed in collaboration with four “Action Teams” that have been formed by the BCU Steering Committee to facilitate the Plan’s implementation. These teams are also described on the following two pages. about the “citizen’s guide”... Please help make our neighborhood a great place to live, work, shop, learn and play. It is therefore a bit unusual, as executive summaries go, but the goal was to make the BCU Plan as accessible as possible. Get in touch and get involved! Even if you can only do a little, we need your help! This summary (pages 6–7) was developed as a pull-out newsletter for distribution to neighborhood residents, business owners and other stakeholders. Both the newsletter and the full plan can be found online at: http://bergencommunitiesunited.webs.com page 6 Creating Our Future Together
  7. 7. BCU Neighborhood Plan What’s in the Plan? The BCU Neighborhood Plan is a road map to the future. It contains seven main sections: 1 a citizen’s guide overview of the plan’s structure and content, formatted as a “pull-out” newsletter for wide distribution strategic directions... There are a number of critical issues facing our neighborhood. Our response to these issues, including what we want to achieve and specific activities to get the job done, are organized under four central themes. These are the strategic directions of the BCU Neighborhood Plan. A Place for Us All Our vision describes a community that is diverse and vibrant, made up of people from all walks of life. It also talks about being a place where it is great to grow up and grow old. 2 planning together overview of the meetings and discussions that led to the plan 3 where we are summary of background info about the neighborhood and the people who live here The policies and actions in this section describe how we are going to create and sustain a diverse neighborhood. It focuses on creating quality, affordable housing for people of different incomes, and programs and services to meet the needs of youth and seniors. 4 our destination vision statement and guiding principles defined by residents and other stakeholders 5 getting there strategic direction on how to respond to key neighborhood issues 6 next steps priority actions to move the plan forward 7 keeping it current overview of how we will manage and update the plan Please note: the BCU plan does not include related but separate efforts already underway in the area’s two main commercial districts (Monticello Ave. and Bergen Ave/McGinley Square). The BCU Plan references and coordinates with these other efforts, but to avoid duplication it focuses on the significant issues and areas not being addressed by other efforts. Safety is a key priority, including crime as well as traffic and related issues. A Safe+Secure Neighborhood Our vision describes a community that is clean and comfortable, where people feel safe to walk at night and where the community has good relations with the police. Participants at the BCU workshops defined safety and security as their #1 priority. It is therefore the top priority in the BCU Plan. These policies and actions describe how we are going to create a safe and secure environment in the BCU neighborhood, through neighborhood-based crime prevention programs, urban design, and community involvement. An Urban Village Our vision describes a community that is green, safe, comfortable, lively and welcoming—a place that has all the characteristics of an ‘urban village.’ The policies and actions in this section describe how we are going to create a village-like environment in the BCU neighborhoods, by creating and maintaining green spaces, street trees and small gardens; promoting good design and building maintenance; ensuring transportation options; and addressing parking issues. Creating Our Future Together Some buildings, like the one pictured here, are in sound condition, but others need significant rehabilitation. A Great Place to Work+Shop Our vision describes a neighborhood with shopping districts that are human in scale, pleasant for walking, and filled with a diverse mix of locally owned stores and a wide range of goods and services. It also describes a place where there are many different types of livingwage jobs for adults and youth of all skill levels, and training programs to help residents qualify for those jobs. Policies and actions in this section describe how we are going to coordinate with other commercial revitalization efforts, take advantage of development opportunities, work to attract and retain businesses, and provide job training and referral services that connect local businesses with local jobseekers. page 7
  8. 8. BCU Neighborhood Plan make a difference get involved How can you get involved in making the BCU neighborhoods a great place to live, work, shop, learn and play? There are lots of ways! Following are a few options:  Get involved! Join with other concerned citizens in making neighborhood change happen.  Attend BCU community workshops and special events.  Join in a neighborhood clean-up day or tree planting party.  Join your neighborhood association (or work with your neighbors to create one if you don’t have one already).  Donate your time, special skills or goods/services to help us achieve common goals. For example, we need gardening supplies, food for community meetings, graphic design, and printing services—just to name a few! For more information, contact Tynisha Coleman, Bergen Communities United Coordinator, at (201) 860-4031. The BCU Steering Committee meets monthly to coordinate neighborhood revitalization efforts, organize community events, and outreach. Many Thanks to Our Funders! Bank of America Blue Cross Blue Shield Housing & Community Development Network of NJ Independence Community Foundation Jersey City Redevelopment Agency Local Initiatives Support Corporation PNC Bank PSE&G NJ APA Wells Fargo Regional Foundation page 8 Creating Our Future Together
  9. 9. BCU Neighborhood Plan planning together how the plan was made & updated  The BCU planning process has sought to create a unique neighborhood plan—one that not only embodies community values and priorities, but also one which facilitates ongoing collaboration, community-building and resident-led action. This document and BCU did not come about out of thin air. Organizations, businesses, residents and other stakeholders have been active in the neighborhood for decades! The current chapter of neighborhood history began in 2003 when community members noticed that their neighborhood was changing, but felt that they had no opportunity to influence events. A small group came together to discuss what could be done. This group, calling itself the Community Planning Initiative, hosted open-houses and “meet-and-greets,” and as interest grew, they held open public meetings. Eventually, they chose a name, Bergen Communities United, voted on a steering committee and expanded their public outreach. In January 2005, they hired a professional planning firm, Community Planning Collaborative, to help guide the effort. The planning process has given significant attention to community outreach and participation, seeking input from a wide range of community residents, business owners and officials. Over the course of the effort, hundreds of workshop participants helped shape the plan. Residents and business owners identified the area’s key issues and opportunities, and helped formulate the plan’s core strategies and action priorities. The graphic below illustrates the community process that led to the BCU plan. Key steps in the process are also described on the next page. BCU 2025 Visioning Workshop (MARCH 12) Draft Vision & Strategies Document Strategic Directions Workshop (APRIL 18) DRAFT Plan Review & Neighborhood Plan PoliAction Planning Workcies and shop Action Framework (JUNE 1) FINAL DRAFT BCU Neighborhood Plan & Priority Actions The BCU Neighborhood Planning Process Creating Our Future Together page 9
  10. 10. Planning Together BCU Neighborhood Plan Community input was recorded on flip charts and wallgraphics, and then summarized in written workshop reports. The formal planning process began with a Visioning Workshop on March 12, 2005. At this half-day event, 130 participants went on a virtual walking tour of the BCU neighborhood to talk about what works, and what doesn’t, in specific neighborhood areas. They then put all of their concerns about the present on hold, and were asked: what would the BCU neighborhood be like if we achieved everything we wanted to achieve? The lively discussions that followed helped define our vision for the future of the BCU neighborhood (see page 15). We also talked about bold steps for the near future to make our vision a reality. Building from the Draft Vision and Strategies that emerged from the Visioning Workshop, we then met for a Strategic Directions Workshop on April 18, 2005. At this workshop, 120 participants reviewed and refined a draft list of strategy ideas for the BCU plan. Ideas ranged from neighborhood design and development to public safety, youth programs, and beautification. Participants discussed the ideas, added new ideas, and identified short lists of strategic priorities. The planning consultant then worked with members of the BCU Steering Committee to develop a Draft Plan that reflected community input and priorities. That plan was reviewed at a Plan Review and Action Planning Workshop on June 1, 2005, where more than 120 participants divided into working groups around the plan’s four main themes: “Safe and Secure Neighborhood,” “Urban Village,” “Place for Us All” and “Great Place to Work and Shop.” Each group reviewed, revised and refined the draft ideas in each section, and discussed nearterm priorities for implementation and action. Through the Summer of 2005, the BCU Steering Committee reviewed the community input and worked with the planning consultant to formulate the final draft of the BCU Neighborhood Plan, including the structure and content of the action plan. BCU hopes that community participation in the plan’s development will lead to ongoing participation in the plan’s implementation and management, as outlined in “First Steps, ” and “Keeping Current” (in terms of community involvement in monitoring and updating the plan over time). We would like to thank Mayor Jerramiah Healy and the city and county officials and representatives who supported BCU throughout the planning process by attending our meetings, listening to our concerns and offering help and guidance. page 10 Creating Our Future Together
  11. 11. Planning Together BCU Neighborhood Plan Following the completion of the plan in 2005, the BCU neighborhood and its’ volunteers addressed a wide range of issues identified in the neighborhood plan and held numerous events. The following list reflects a number of these activities. In addition, it is important to note that a number of items not specifically identified in the neighborhood plan were undertaken in the spirit of a unified community activism. Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program Construction of 167-169 Monticello Avenue: In partnership with GSECDC First new construction on Monticello Avenue in over 20 years Seven moderate income condominiums (increase home ownership) First commercial space BCU Job Bank & Resource Center Community Garden: In partnership with GSECDC, New City Kids, BCU Great Neighborhoods Action Team Won an award for new garden Mercedes Benz Company- clean-up and built raised beds (New City Kids) Make A Difference Day Neighborhood Clean-ups Participated in The Big Dig! McGinley Square East Redevelopment Plan BCU Community Meetings BCU written into plan (Job Bank, compliance with BCU plan) Jersey City Housing Authority- CHOICE Neighborhoods Participation in community meetings BCU Cares- Fair- Summer 2008 Organization information tables McGinley Square Festival- June 2012 BCU Fire Victims Benefit Raised over $3,000 for victims of area fire Continuous Flow Christian Center Community Fair - July 2012 Technical Assistance Proposals accepted for: EPA Walkability Study –Audit & Workshop -Grant awarded to Montgomery Street -Final report to follow -Some issues taken care of during walk Resident Satisfaction Surveys -2008- Completed over 300 surveys -2012- 235 surveys completed NJ APA –Assistance to Update BCU Community Plan North Jersey Transportation AuthorityWalking Audit & Workshop - 1 daytime - 1 evening - Issues identified and requests sent to responsible agencies/departments Creating Our Future Together BCU Public Meetings 2x per year for community feedback Great Neighborhood Action Team Tree planting Workshops (Code Enforcement) Graffiti Inventories (3) and removal as a result of submitting inventories. page 11
  12. 12. Planning Together BCU Neighborhood Plan In January 2012 WomenRising, on behalf of BCU, submitted an application to the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-NJ) for pro bono support to update its community plan. The application was made to APA-NJ’s Community Planning Assistance Program (CPAP), which provides pro bono planning support to municipalities and community groups. Recipients are selected through a process that begins with a formal request for proposals. Submitted proposals are then evaluated and two to three projects are selected each year. Women Rising’s proposal was one of three projects selected for 2012. Women Rising is one of many local community groups and non-profits organizations in the Bergen Hill section of Jersey City that collaborate together under the umbrella of Bergen Communities United (BCU). Women Rising is the fiscal agent for BCU, and submitted the proposal to APA-NJ in that role. An updated plan was needed so BCU could continue their efforts for area residents, and so they could continue to leverage further funding for the area. Also, the plan’s original preparation had been a great tool for community building, and it was time to bring the community together to discuss changing conditions. It was felt that conditions in the area had changed since the original plan, and it was time to bring the community together to discuss those changes and the appropriate response to them. Women Rising was hoping that APA-NJ’s CPAP could provide the planning team to do this. BCU also needed the updated community plan to allow them to renew their grant with Wachovia, which was set to expire in June 2012. The updated plan would address the accomplishments since the first plan was written in 2005, describe the challenges they encountered during its implementation, and identify any new goals and objectives that would be identified in the facilitated community meetings. BCU was looking to have at least one facilitated session with the community at-large, with breakout groups to discuss specific details about what should be addressed in the plan update. The overall objective was to continue to promote the area as an emerging urban village with a diverse population in a neighborhood that is a great place to live, work and shop. The term of the updated plan would be three to five years. NJAPA CPAP Application (January 2013) Multiple Meetings & Prep for Vision Session June-Sept. 2013 The BCU Neighborhood Planning Process page 12 Creating Our Future Together Community Visioning Session (Sept. 2013) Updated Neighborhood Plan to BCU Steering Committee April 2013 Updated BCU Neighborhood Plan
  13. 13. Planning Together BCU Neighborhood Plan In June 2012 APA-NJ identified the team that would update the plan, meetings were held to plan and schedule the work. The decision was made to schedule the community meetings for September, after the summer holidays, and use the summer to prepare for the meetings. The process of developing a successful neighborhood plan update was rooted in a successful stakeholder visioning session and proactive leadership. The planning process consolidates a “vision” that grows from the values and contributions of all who have a stake in the outcome – property owners, retailers, institutions, neighborhood associations, cultural organizations, and the citizenry at large. The expedited three part process used in this neighborhood plan update process can be described as the following: 1. The CPAP team worked over the summer with the BCU Steering Committee in reviewing the various elements of the existing neighborhood plan. The group identified the multiple accomplishments achieved since the plans inception, as well as areas that have fallen short of initial goals. The team worked together in identifying the visioning process and objectives. The visioning session was eventually scheduled for midSeptember so to allow for the greatest participation possible by the community. The team worked to create presentation material that reflected both were the neighborhood has been and garner input for moving forward. 2. Neighborhood Visioning Session – The team worked with the steering committee in organizing a visioning session to gauge people’s input on how the viewed the history of the neighborhood, where it is now, and what issues need to be addressed in the future. Participants were asked to identify on a scale of one to ten where the neighborhood was back in 2005 and where it is now. The team presented plan history, accomplishments, and neighborhood planning concepts to spur discussion and input. The group was broken into team tables and asked to look at both the previous plan, as well as identify other issues that were relevant to them today. The groups then shared their work with the group as a whole. Interestingly, many of the important issues that formed the basis of the original plan again reappeared. 3. The team worked over the next several months in preparing an updated neighborhood plan for presentation to the steering committee. The goal of the updated plan was to consolidate information and goals into a flexible functional document. The group as a whole agreed that the eighty plus actions items identified in the original plan were difficult to achieve with limited resources and participation. The intent was a broader concept that focuses on the big picture and was not mired in inflexible details. The goal remained to provide direction for strategic actions while allowing response for unidentified events. The team would like to thank all the participants for their tireless efforts and hard work. The Visioning Session Creating Our Future Together page 13
  14. 14. BCU Neighborhood Plan where we are our neighborhood today  An effective plan for the future requires a clear understanding of where we were in the past and where we are today. The planning process used data from a number of sources, including resident input about what works well—and what doesn’t—in the BCU area. A summary of background information follows... The BCU Planning Area encompasses the neighborhoods bound by Highland Avenue and Montgomery Street in the north, John F. Kennedy Boulevard in the west, Communipaw Avenue in the south, and Summit Avenue and Baldwin Avenue in the east (see below). Regional Location BCU Planning Area Map page 14 Creating Our Future Together
  15. 15. BCU Neighborhood Plan Who We Are [demographic profile] The BCU planning area is home to almost 14,000 people, from many different backgrounds. In the 2000 census, most residents (62 percent) had lived in the neighborhood for more than five years (which means nearly 40 percent were new to the area!). In recent years the average has dropped to roughly 20%, however this is still significant. When asked in a neighborhood survey why they live here, almost half of those surveyed said because of nearby relatives. And when asked what they liked best, most people named their neighbors. Following are some key points from our review of background information about the BCU residential population.  24% 13% 13% Source: 2000 Census Creating Our Future Together  4%  Many residents are young. About 33 percent of residents were under the age of 24 in year 2010, a slightly higher figure than for Hudson County as a whole, where 31 percent were under the age of 24. (Source: 2010 Census) 22% 15% 7% Source: 2010 Census  Our population is not changing much. An estimated 14,000 people live in the BCU planning area, while 13,600 people lived in the BCU planning area in 2004, down from 13,860 in the year 2000 (a drop of less than two percent). (Source: 2010 Census, 2000 Census; 2004 estimate by Claritas, Inc.)  We are racially diverse. The BCU planning area has people from many different backgrounds. In 2010, 41 percent of the population was African American, 27 percent was White and 9 percent was Asian. Thirty one percent of residents identified themselves as Hispanic. (Source: 2010 Census)  We speak many languages at home. More than half of all residents, both youth and adults, speak a language other than English at home. There are more than 20 different languages spoken in homes within the neighborhood. (Source: 2000 Census) Note: Statistics for 2010 Census reflect .4 mile radius from 169 Monticello Avenue which is the rough geographic center of the neighborhood. The statics for the 2004 are from the US Census refer to tracts 28, 29, 30, 41.01 and 41.02 in Hudson County, which roughly correspond to the BCU planning area. page 15
  16. 16. BCU Neighborhood Plan  Our families are larger than average. The average number of people per household varies between 1.25 for nonfamily households and 3.36 per household for family occupied units. This averages out to approximately 2.3 people per household as a blended average. Owner-occupied homes tend to have larger household sizes on average (i.e., more than three persons per household). However, household sizes have been getting slightly smaller (as they are around the state and country) and that trend is expected to continue. (Source: 2010 Census, 2000 Census, projections by Claritas, Inc.)  Residents like their neighbors, but are worried about crime. BCU conducted a survey of neighborhood residents. The three things residents like best about their neighborhood are their neighbors, transportation and quiet. The things they would like to see improved include crime, street repair/cleaning, lighting and more playgrounds. Forty percent of the respondents said that public schools in the neighborhood were sufficient, 32 percent said they were insufficient and 28 percent said they didn’t know.  People of all income levels live here. While many residents earned less than $20,000 a year (in 2000), the percentage of households making more than $100,000 increased by nearly 50 percent between 1990 and 2000. Twenty percent of the population was below the poverty line in year 2000. The average household income was $39,300 in 2004. (Source: 2000 Census; projections by Claritis, Inc.)  Residents have different levels of education. Forty-three percent of residents have a high school diploma but no college degree; about a quarter (24 percent) have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher; and 28 percent did not complete high school. (Source: 2000 Census) Source: 2000 Census page 16 Creating Our Future Together
  17. 17. BCU Neighborhood Plan Where We Live [housing profile] There are approximately 6,000 houses, condominiums and apartment units in the BCU planning area. Many of these are historic, dating from the 1860s, while others are new construction. While housing prices have traditionally been more affordable, recent trends and new developments are having an impact on neighborhood housing prices, affecting affordability for many residents.  We are primarily a neighborhood of renters. Most neighborhood residents (70 percent) rent their housing. (Source: 2010 Census)  We have a rich variety of housing options. The BCU planning area has a mix of single family homes, row houses and small apartment buildings as well as larger multi-unit developments.  Housing prices have taken a significant hit in the past few years. Housing values nationwide have dropped between 20% and 30% of previous values. The demand for rental product has increased over the same time period. In 2005 a housing study had assessed the median rent in Bergen Hill to be $492. Current fair market value for the same area is between $815 and $1,310. Source: 2000 Census Note: Minimal development has occured within the neighborhood since initial report.   Most residents think the neighborhood is in good to fair condition. According to the BCU community survey, 51 percent of respondents said that their block was in “good” physical condition, 40 percent said “fair” condition, and five percent said “poor” condition. Only two percent said their block was in “excellent” condition.  Creating Our Future Together There are increased vacancies in the neighborhood. The neighborhood’s housing market had a vacancy rate of around twelve percent in the 2010 census. Overcrowding is an issue for some. There is no standard definition for overcrowding, but a rule of thumb is that there should be no more than 1.5 people per room in a housing unit (including shared rooms like kitchens and dining rooms). Using this measure, about two percent of owner-occupied units and ten percent of rental units were overcrowded in the 2000 census. page 17
  18. 18. BCU Neighborhood Plan  There are opportunities for new housing in the neighborhood. A previous study of the BCU neighborhoods found 85 vacant parcels. It is believed that this number has increased over recent years. While not every parcel is suitable for housing development, many of them are. This does not include parcels that might be suitable for rehabilitation or redevelopment.  Major new developments have have a significant impact on the BCU neighborhood. A look around Jersey City shows that the real estate market remains active and that there is continual demand for housing. Tens of thousands of new units have been built along the waterfront, in Paulus Hook, Journal Square and other neighborhoods. So far the BCU area has only seen isolated new developments. Though numerous projects have emerged in the past, the most significant project currently in the works is the former Medical Center Complex.  Medical Center Complex. Though just outside of the BCU boundaries, the Jersey City Beacon is a new mixeduse development emerging from the historic restoration of the original complex of the Jersey City Medical Center. It is located on a 14-acre site on Bergen Hill, a crest of the Hudson Palisades and one of the highest geographical points in Jersey City, New Jersey. It creates the northeastern corner the Bergen Lafayette Section and is just east of McGinley Square. It will include two million square feet of residential and retail space, approximately 1,200 luxury residences and 80,000 square feet of retail space. One building of the complex at 591 Montgomery Street had been converted for senior assisted-living residence before Metrovest’s involvement. The company completed the conversion of the first two buildings was in 2008. Named The Rialto and Capital after famous theaters, the buildings contain 315 condominium residences, joined by a twostory lobby and a 45,000-square-foot amenity core which features an indoor pool, spa, screening room, and a children’s playroom. Eight additional buildings will be converted to residential and retail use. The next residential phase opened in 2012. Called The Mercury, the building will feature rental options and offer larger work/live spaces from 3,000 to 6,000 square feet. page 18 Creating Our Future Together Redevelopment of the Jersey City Medical Center with luxury housing, retail and other services will have a significant impact on the BCU neighborhood.
  19. 19. BCU Neighborhood Plan Where We Shop and Work [economic profile] January 2013 Unemployment Rates Jersey City 9.5% Hudson County 9.5% New Jersey 10.9% Nationwide 10.9% The primary shopping areas in the neighborhood are McGinley Square and Monticello Avenue. Currently, they contain more than 100 retail businesses, two thirds of which are around Bergen Avenue and Montgomery Street (McGinley Square). The businesses occupy 284,500 square feet, have sales of $68 million a year, and supply a wide range of products and services. (Source: McGinley Sq./Monticello Ave. Retail Market Analysis)  Many people need jobs. Unemployment in the Jersey City is still significantly high and close to both the state and national average. Over the past few years unemployment nationally, in New Jersey and Hudson County have risen significantly. However, it is likely that unemployment in the BCU will remain high. (Source: Department of Labor)  Most of our stores are locally owned and are well established. Stores in the BCU area shopping districts are mainly owned by local business people, and half of the stores have been at their current location for at least twenty years. The median number of employees is four. (Source: McGinley Sq./ Monticello Ave. Retail Market Analysis)  Our stores supply a range of goods and services, but some categories of stores are missing. There are many restaurants, hair salons and convenience stores in our neighborhood. However, residents have expressed the need for a larger supermarket, more sit down restaurants and a bank. (Source: McGinley Sq./Monticello Ave. Retail Market Analysis)  We have spending power. Residents around McGinley Square and Monticello Avenue spend $386 million a year on retail goods. Of that, 35 percent is spent in the neighborhood. Most stores draw from the local area, but 15 percent of stores draw from other parts of Jersey City or Hudson County. (Source: McGinley Square/Monticello Avenue Retail Market Analysis)  Creating Our Future Together We spend large amounts of money outside the neighborhood. Every year, local residents spend $258 million outside the neighborhood. It is estimated that construction of another 215,000 square feet of retail space could capture $98 million more in neighborhood sales each year. (Source: McGinley Square/ Monticello Avenue Retail Market Analysis) page 19
  20. 20. BCU Neighborhood Plan   McGinley Square commercial vacancy rates are low, Monticello’s are high. In 2005, the McGinley Square area had a very low vacancy rate, the lowest of all the Special Improvement Districts in Jersey City, with commercial rents running between $15 and $25 per square foot. In 2004, Monticello Avenue had a higher vacancy rate, with 22 vacant ground floor spaces, 14 vacant lots, and 26 additional properties that could be used for commercial. (Sources: McGinley Square Partnership; survey of realtors; McGinley Sq./Monticello Ave. Business Action Plan) Local businesses have concerns about the neighborhood. Some of the issues that business owners identified as problems include: (Source: McGinley Sq./Monticello Ave. Retail Market Analysis)  Loss of parking  Drug activity  Crime  Loss of bank  Too many nonprofits  Many stores have limited hours. Most businesses open between 9:30 am and 11:00 am and close between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. More than half of the stores surveyed are closed on Sundays. Many report increasing sales on Saturday. (Source: interviews, McGinley Square/ Monticello Avenue Retail Market Analysis)  There are opportunities for expansion. While there are not many large properties in the neighborhood suitable for new commercial development, there are a number of smaller ‘infill’ opportunities. The larger lots tend be in the area of Communipaw Avenue, while a number of smaller properties and vacant buildings that could accommodate new commercial development are found along Monticello Avenue.  Parking remains a challenge. It can be hard to find a space at certain times of day. Several potential projects may change the situation. page 20 Creating Our Future Together
  21. 21. BCU Neighborhood Plan Resident-Identified Issues and Opportunities At the March 2005 Visioning Workshop, neighborhood residents and other stakeholders were invited on a ‘virtual tour’ of the BCU area, and asked to discuss what they felt were the area’s key ‘assets and opportunities’ and ‘issues and challenges.’ Following is a brief summary of what they said: Input during the “virtual walking tour” was recorded on maps and large wallgraphics for each part of the neighborhood. Creating Our Future Together Assets and Opportunities • Convenient shopping • Walkability Historic architecture • • Redevelopment opportunities, and pending projects (Courthouse, Armory) • Police cameras soon to be installed • McGinley Square Park (though needs improvements) • Businesses that are locally owned • Variety of shopping • Local organizations and groups that care and are involved • Upcoming streetscape improvements • Pretty street trees (in some areas) • St. Peter’s College • Lincoln High School • Block associations! • Public transportation • Proximity to many resources (including NYC) • Street pattern • Young people! • Churches • Sense of community • Resident participation Issues and Challenges • Drugs and gangs • Prostitution • Loitering and panhandling • Need for sidewalk improvements and pedestrian scale lighting • Need more green space! Parks, community gardens, landscaping... • Unemployment • Parking, parking, parking • New developments don’t fit in (they’re ugly) • Need better police service • Lack of youth facilities, programs and services • Need for senior services • Empty storefronts and vacant buildings (especially on MonticelloAvenue) • Lack of code enforcement • Absentee landlords and poor building maintenance • Rising rents! • Lack of retail options (need more restaurants, a large grocery store, and others) — too many dollar stores and liquor stores page 21
  22. 22. BCU Neighborhood Plan our destination vision + guiding principles  The BCU Neighborhood Plan aims to create and sustain a community that meets the needs of the people who live, work, shop, learn and play here. We know that a successful neighborhood is more than just bricks and mortar. It is a place that nurtures us, individually and collectively, and reflects the values and priorities that we share. The BCU Vision Statement and Guiding Principles establish the plan’s framework and guide both its development and implementation. In the year 2020, the BCU neighborhood will be… A vibrant urban community where people from all backgrounds feel safe and welcome. Greenery and green spaces of all sorts will be woven into the urban fabric, from street trees and flowers to small parks and community gardens, making the neighborhood feel like a garden village. The neighborhood’s lively shopping district, spanning from Monticello to Montgomery to Bergen, will be at a human scale, providing a pleasant and safe walking environment with a diverse mix of locally owned stores and a wide range of goods and services. There will be many different types of jobs for adults and youth of all skill levels, and all jobs will pay a living wage. Young people will be valued as members of the community, will have access to high quality education, and will be active in community life. Clean, safe and accessible public transportation will allow us to get easily to other parts of the city and region, and quality, reasonably priced housing will give each of us a place to call home. All of these neighborhood qualities will be made possible by a local government that is efficient and accountable, and neighborhood organizations that work cooperatively with the government and with each other. We will be a model of collaborative planning! Specifically, in the year 2020 the BCU neighborhood will have:  The BCU vision was generated by community members at the Visioning Workshop in March 2005 & September 2012. A diverse, informed and active population, working together. Residents will be informed of local issues and active in watching out for one another. Many residents will have lived in the neighborhood for decades. Organizations and individuals will collaborate to ensure that neighborhood is healthy and the government is held accountable. We envision a neighborhood where residents are informed, involved and empowered to make change. page 22 Creating Our Future Together
  23. 23. BCU Neighborhood Plan  Quality, well-preserved and affordable housing. BCU will work to preserve historic sites and enhance the neighborhood’s historic housing stock while providing new opportunities for homeownership. High quality, affordable housing will allow residents of all income levels to live here. New houses will blend with older homes, being compatible in both scale and design.  Safe and fun places for all ages. There will be high quality services for all members of the community from infants to seniors. Information about programs, activities and services will be readily available. The goal of BCU is to keep the community informed via flyers, newsletters, internet and community zone representatives. The streets will be safe to walk at night, and the community will have good relations with the police.  Good jobs and thriving businesses. A variety of local businesses will prosper here, providing quality jobs for neighborhood residents. There will be job training for those seeking new skills and classes for people who want to start or expand a business.  Lively, unique shopping districts. All of the storefronts in our shopping districts will be occupied, and there will be a healthy mix of stores that includes full serve restaurants, cafes and supermarkets. Most of these will be locally owned stores, with owners who are actively involved in the community, and there will be adequate parking.  Convenient transportation to places within Jersey City and beyond. Regularly and reliably, buses will connect residents with important destinations in Jersey City as well as to New York City and beyond. Traffic will flow safely and smoothly, and pedestrians will be able to walk safely throughout the neighborhood.  Parks, trees and a green environment. Parks and other green space will be spread throughout the neighborhood. There will be mature street trees on every block.  Quality, equitable education with strong school-community connections. The schools will provide an education that is both high in quality and equality and their doors will be open at night. Community members will have a place to learn new art or practice their existing skills. Adults will have continuing education opportunities. We want our neighborhood to be a great place to grow up—a place where young people are valued, where they feel safe, and where there are a variety of things for them to do. EPA Walkability Audit - 2012 The BCU Outreach September 2012. We want a safe neighborhood where we can walk down the street anytime, day or night. Creating Our Future Together page 23
  24. 24. BCU Neighborhood Plan Guiding Principles “Guiding Principles” draw upon the values articulated in the vision to create a concise summary of key ideas to guide development and implementation of the BCU Neighborhood Plan. Work together!   Create a framework and process for sharing information and working together, recognizing the unique skills and aspirations of the different agencies and organizations in the BCU area. Find opportunities to build and strengthen collaborative working relationships, and provide varied opportunities for residents to get involved. Working together Celebrate our diversity     Maintain the neighborhood’s economic, racial and age diversity by ensuring that the area remains affordable and attractive to all. Create a physical environment with a range of housing and shopping opportunities. Reflect the neighborhoods’ diverse cultural heritage through community programs as well as building design. Provide places for people of different groups to meet and socialize together. Create an “urban village”     Provide workable strategies for reducing crime. Create a physical environment that promotes safety and health by making it easy to walk and bike and by creating a positive, active street life. Promote new and improved green spaces, including parks and street trees. Encourage building designs and land uses that create the feeling of an active, vibrant ‘urban village.’ An urban village Protect and improve our neighborhoods   Ensure that new construction and renovations respect the historic character and fabric of residential neighborhoods. Promote a mix of housing types, owner/renter opportunities, and price/rent levels. Make our neighborhoods great places for young and old   Preserve, create and enhance neighborhood amenities, facilities and programs that serve the needs of children, youth and seniors. Create a neighborhood that is a great place to grow up, and a great place to grow old! A place for the entire family... page 24 Creating Our Future Together
  25. 25. BCU Neighborhood Plan Create lively shopping districts   Support current and ongoing efforts to reinforce neighborhood shopping districts by attracting new stores to vacant storefronts and improving the current mix of retail establishments. Focus on attracting stores that reinforce the neighborhood’s unique character. Help residents get good jobs We want a lively shopping district—a 24 hour activity center with shops, office, and residents. A pedestrian friendly envirnment that puts people first.   Promote developments that create living-wage jobs. Support programs that provide residents with education, skill training and job placement. Be a center for local arts and culture   Support development of facilities, programs and activities that provide opportunities for residents to learn, practice and appreciate art. Explore the potential for development of an arts district on Monticello Avenue to serve and promote local artists and attract people from outside the neighborhood. A center for local arts and culture —a place for the community to come together and share their diversity. Creating Our Future Together page 25
  26. 26. BCU Neighborhood Plan getting there strategic directions  Getting from where we are today to where we want to be in the future will take a significant amount of work, and resources. The key is figuring out where to focus our efforts first, where to allocate resources, and how to leverage our work and investments to the best advantage. As part of the plan revision process the team identified a series of key points: • The BCU group has done amazing work with limited resources over a relatively short period of time. • BCU efforts have been spread across the neighborhood and results may have not been as obvious because of the piecemeal nature. • The initial plan was based on broad vision, but then zoomed in and focused on numerous very specific action items. • With a core group of between thirty and forty volunteers, the more than eighty action items included in the original plan spread the volunteers very thin. • When new items arise, the plan did not offer either the flexibility or the direction to address them. In response to these issue, the planning team has identified ten guiding principles that will guide the BCU Neighborhood Resident Led Neighborhood Revitalization into the future. These include: 1. Great neighborhoods need great champions 2. It takes a vision...creating a sense of place 3. Strengthen the core: A great place to work and hop 4. A clean safe and secure neighborhood 5. An excellent place to live 6. Greening the neighborhood 7. Painting in the arts and local culture 8. Building in the infrastructure 9. Putting a plan on paper 10. Filling the funding gaps The following pages define these principles further. page 26 Creating Our Future Together
  27. 27. BCU Neighborhood Plan 10 Principles for Resident Led Neighborhood Revitalization 1. Great Neighborhoods Need Great Champions Every revitalization project needs a great champion – a group that can initiate the process, champion through the process, and follow through to completion. This is particularly important as we have seen in the BCU Neighborhood as this can be a long and complex process. Without champions, the neighborhood revitalization will most likely get muddled and lost among various competing needs within the larger community because of limited resources and other pressing needs. Strengthen the core: A great place to work and shop 2. It Takes a Vision and creating a sense of place The successful revitalization of the neighborhood will be incremental, so it must be based on a shared vision that provides the basis for decision making. BCU has been successful in reaching a shared vision for its’ future. The steering committee must set short, medium, and long term goals for achieving this vision. This should be done on a yearly basis. 3. Strengthen the Core: A great place to work and shop At the heart of the community is its’ retail and commercial core. Focusing on strengthening the core provides for neighborhood quality of life, stability, and opportunity. Fundamental to creating a vibrant sustainable urban village is providing local opportunities for shopping and working. It is important to look at addressing needs beyond the boundaries of the neighborhood as the core is intended to draw people in and can’t be isolated. The goal is to keep people and spending within the neighborhood. Without a strong core neighborhoods simply become bedroom communities for other areas. A clean, safe, and friendly neighborhood 4. A Clean, safe, and friendly neighborhood If a neighborhood is clean, safe, and friendly, people will be drawn to it even as the area may be transitioning. If even one of these characteristics is absent people may be turned off and avoid the neighborhood instead of embracing it. It is important to think of the neighborhood holistically. 5. An excellent place to live A successful neighborhood depends on a strong residential environment that provides for a mix of housing typologies and affordability. A strong residential and diverse residential base opens the door to multiple opportunities for the neighborhood including: supporting local shops, providing a diverse workforce, attracting new businesses (particularly home business), the ability to age in place, and the retention of residents. Creating Our Future Together An excellent place to live page 27
  28. 28. BCU Neighborhood Plan 6. Greening the Neighborhood All great neighborhoods have a combination of parks, plazas, street trees, and garden spaces. The integrated mix of these components form a pleasant and desirable environment that improves the quality of life for residents and will draw people in. In addition, to the physical green infrastructure, many neighborhoods look to “going green” from a sustainability standpoint which has numerous benefits impacting the overall quality of life. 7. Painting in the arts and local culture The role that the arts and local culture play in revitalizing neighborhoods can’t be underestimated. There is significant evidence that arts and culture foster participation in civic life and in discourse about the future of place. There is a wealth of talent and authentic culture in our neighborhood that can reveal character, provide distinct identity, and ground revitalization work in the genuine fabric of community. Greening the neighborhood 8. Building in the Infrastructure Beyond the general utility infrastructure of a neighborhood, we must also look at the street furnishings, transportation, and parking infrastructure critical to the success of the community. Street furnishings address the aesthetics and form a unifying element throughout the neighborhood. The transportation infrastructure includes pedestrian, bicycle, and bus options that provide the critical linkages between living, working, and playing. In addition, the importance of parking can not be underestimated…residents need parking at night, moving beyond convenience shopping requires parking, and restaurants need to be able to attract people beyond the boundaries of the neighborhood. 9. Putting a plan on paper Community revitalization is a two part process that involves both 1) a policy plan that addresses the structure of the neighborhood as a whole and is a guiding force in directing the future, and 2) physical plans that shows opportunities for the neighborhood to move forward. The physical plan need not be for the entire neighborhood, but may instead focus on exemplary opportunities for selected intervention. This may include: streetscape plans, parks & open spaces, infill opportunities, business district improvements, etc. Building in the infrastructure 10. Filling the Funding gaps The realities of municipal budgets force many revitalization efforts to look beyond local support. There are numerous matching grants, foundations, nonprofits, and pro bono opportunities that are available to neighborhoods. These focus on everything from walkability to green infrastructure to the arts, as well as legal, planning, and design services. All rocks need to be overturned… filling in the funding gaps page 28 Creating Our Future Together
  29. 29. BCU Neighborhood Plan This section translates these guiding principles into specific strategic directions that the steering committee, residents and other stakeholder can focus on as a critical path in addressing the neighborhood’s needs, concerns and opportunities. The goal was to simplify, clarify, incorparate and reorganize the previous strategic directions into a flexable, adaptable, and living document. The strategic directions are organized under four main themes, which provide the basic framework for the BCU Neighborhood Plan. The four themes and their related strategy areas are: 1 Empowerment Through Activism 1a Job training 1b Youth facilities and programs 1c Senior facilities and programs 1d Filling the funding gaps 1e Facilitation and Logistics 1f Public Relations and promotion 2 A Great Place to Work + Shop: Strengthen the Core 2a Monticello Avenue 2b Bergen Avenue + McGinley Square 3 A Clean, Safe, + Secure Neighborhood 3a Responding to crime 3b Street lighting and ‘defensible space’ 3c Traffic and pedestrian safety 3d Neighborhood clean-up 4 A Sustainable and Vibrant Neighborhood 4a Housing mix and affordability 4b “Greening” and improving the neighborhood 4c Transportation infrastructure - Bikes, buses, and parking 4d Integrating arts and culture 4e Neighborhood design Creating Our Future Together A great place to work + shop A clean, safe, + secure neighborhood A sustainable and vibrant neighborhood page 29
  30. 30. BCU Neighborhood Plan 1 Empowerment Through Activism 1 Empowerment Through Activism Our vision describes a community that is diverse and vibrant, made up of people from all walks of life. It also talks about being a place where it is great to grow up, and grow old. In order to reach this vision, the community needs to come together and empower itself through community activism and organization. It includes four focus areas for policy and action: 1a Job Training  Skills Training  Job Bank / Placement Assistance 1b Youth Facilities and Programs  Youth Participation  Program Collaboration  Youth Recreation Facility 1c Senior Facilities and Programs  Senior Needs and Priorities  Senior Information and Service Delivery  New Facilities, Programs, and Services 1d Filling the Funding Gaps  Grants and Private Sponsorship  Pro Bono Services  Public Private Partnership 1e Facilitation and Logistics  Facilitation of Events  Logistics for Events  Coordination Between Various Committees 1f Job Training Public Relations and Promotion  Outreach to the Stakeholders  Connecting with the Press  Influencing the Politics Facilitation filling in the funding gaps page 30 Creating Our Future Together
  31. 31. BCU Neighborhood Plan 1 Empowerment Through Activism 1a Skills training The Issue Economic success for residents requires having quality jobs in the area, and having the skills needed to get those jobs. While other parts of the plan focus on creating vibrant commercial districts that will generate jobs (while development elsewhere in Jersey City and the region creates thousands of other opportunities), there is a need to focus on job training and skills development for both youth and adults. Our Response Some areas we can focus on in response to these issues include:   Skills Training Work with job training agencies and the Job Bank to ensure that appropriate skills training is available and accessible to neighborhood residents. BCU Job Bank & Resource Center / Placement Assistance The BCU Job Bank provides employment services to community residents. It has been providing services since 2008. Services provided include: • Employment Prep Workshops • Recruitment Events • Computer Training Courses • Job Search Assistance • Community Resource Referrals Job Placement Creating Our Future Together Job Training In addition, partner with local/regional businesses and companies in Jersey City to encourage them to give priority to hiring neighborhood residents, and create a mechanism by which local employers and local jobseekers can easily connect. page 31
  32. 32. BCU Neighborhood Plan 1b Youth Facilities and Programs 1 Empowerment Through Activism The Issue Young people are an important part of the community, and represent a significant portion of the population. Residents have strongly expressed their desire for young people to be more integrated in community activities, and for there to be more opportunities for them. If young people are positively engaged in the community, they are less likely to become involved in activities that might get them into trouble. Our Response Some areas we can focus on in response to these issues include:    Youth programs Youth Participation Young people can and should play a lead role in defining the youth issues that need to be addressed, and how best to address them. This can include youth-led research, ongoing youth representation in BCU, and/or a youth action team. It could also include developing effective voices for youth on the School Board and in city government. Program Collaboration Youth-serving agencies, programs and schools should be encouraged to work together to provide a full-range of services that respond to youth-defined needs and priorities. This could help reduce any duplication in services, and free up resources for new initiatives. Additional services can be offered based on youth preferences Youth Recreation Facility A youth center that is open after school and on the weekends would provide a safe place where youth can do homework, engage in structured activities or relax. page 32 Creating Our Future Together The challenges of being young... Young people in the BCU neighborhood reflect the demographics and diversity of their families. However, they are more likely to live in poverty compared to the community as a whole. For instance, approximately 17 percent of adults in the neighborhood lived in poverty in 1999, compared to 25 percent of children; and the median income of families with children was lower than those without children. The child poverty rate in the neighborhood was higher than the nation as a whole by 50 percent. Most children in the neighborhood live with both parents, though many live with a single parent or with their grandparents.
  33. 33. BCU Neighborhood Plan 1 Empowerment Through Activism 1c Senior Facilities and Programs The Issue Seniors are an important resource for our community, but they are also a vulnerable population. Many are on fixed income and cannot afford to pay increases in taxes. Others need help with basic services such as shopping, home repair or self care. Community members want there to be more services to help seniors remain active members of the community. Senior programs Our Response Some areas we can focus on in response to these issues include:    The challenges of aging.. In 2000, seniors (age of 65 and up) made up almost nine percent of the BCU neighborhood. Like the majority of residents, most seniors, almost 70 percent, were renters. The percentage of renters was even higher for older seniors. Because they are often on fixed incomes, seniors are particularly vulnerable to increases in rent or taxes and may be displaced as costs rise. This is made worse because in the BCU neighborhood, the income of senior households tended to be lower than younger residents. Median household income varied by subsection of the neighborhood, but in 2000 was often under $20,000. For seniors over 75, it was often under $13,000. Senior Needs and Priorities Work with senior groups and the Hudson County Office on Aging to identify what services seniors need and what is currently available. Senior Information and Service Delivery Seniors need to know the services that are currently available and providers need help to ensure their services are tailored to the neighborhood. New Facilities, Programs and Services Once it is clear what services are available and what the needs are, relevant groups and agencies should collaborate to develop new programs to meet those needs. Another potential concern for seniors is disabilities. The US Census showed that one third of seniors had a disability that made it difficult to go outside the home and 18 percent had impaired vision or other sensory problems. Creating Our Future Together page 33
  34. 34. BCU Neighborhood Plan 1d Filling the Funding Gaps The Issue With many local governments operating under a financial crisis mode, getting funds directed to community revitalization is getting tougher and tougher. In addition, municipalities are exercising more caution about investing public dollars in development projects. BCU must look at a wide range of opportunities to bridge this gap and address the neighborhood’s needs. Our Response Some areas we can focus on in response to these issues include:    Grants and Private Sponsorship A number of grants and private sponsorships are available to the community. They range from federal to state to local initiatives (HUD, CDBG, Open Space Grants, etc.). Another source of funding are banks such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citibank, Chase and a number of others who offer assistance to communities. In addition, a number of foundations offer support to local initiative. These range from groups such as The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to The Gates Foundation to Ben & Jerry’s. One resource for identifying some of these organizations, may be found at http://www.nols.edu/nolspro/pdf/DFWGO.pdf Pro Bono Services Building upon the pro bono planning services provided by the American Planning Association, it is important to recognize that there are a number of professional organizations, as well as educational institutions that can assist in the BCU revitalization effort. These may include: NJASLA, AIA, NJAPA, Rutgers University, Columbia University as well as many others. BCU need to proactively persue these groups and not simply wait for them to advertise availability. Public Private Partnerships Public–private partnership (PPP) describes a government service or private business venture which is funded and operated through a partnership of government and one or more private sector companies. These schemes are sometimes referred to as PPP, P3 or P3. These partnerships have become increasingly important the financing of the infrastructure improvements needed to support development. Two examples include” PILOT (Payment In Lue Of Taxes), public parknig authorities. page 34 Creating Our Future Together 1 Empowerment Through Activism
  35. 35. BCU Neighborhood Plan 1 Empowerment Through Activism 1e Facilitation and Logistics The Issue Central to the success of the BCU Neighborhood Plan is a coordinated facilitation and logistics strategy. The common planning of facilitation and logistical issues allows for better coordination amongst the group itself, sponsors, and potential venues. By having the BCU Coordinator responsible for these activities it will streamline the process and make planning of events, activities, and meetings more efficient. Our Response Some areas we can focus on in response to these issues include:  facilitation  Facilitation of Events A facilitator will helps the group understand their common objectives and assists them to plan to achieve them without taking a particular position in the discussion. Some facilitator tools will try to assist the group in achieving a consensus on any disagreements that preexist or emerge in the meeting so that it has a strong basis for future action. A facilitator should be identified for each event. Logistics for Events Meeting logistics are all the details that help a meeting go well, beyond who is invited, the agenda, facilitator and content. A good logistics plan describes information such as: •room set-up, including numbers of chairs, tables, flip-charts, etc. •items for the registration table •materials for break-out groups and activities •audio/video system requirements •catering and refreshments This effort should be led by the BCU Coordinator.  Coordination between Committees Coordination between the various committees is essential to the groups success. This effort should be led by the BCU Coordinator. Committee coordination Creating Our Future Together page 35
  36. 36. BCU Neighborhood Plan 1f Public Relations and Promotion 1 Empowerment Through Activism The Issue Economic success for residents requires having quality jobs in the area, and having the skills needed to get those jobs. While other parts of the plan focus on creating vibrant commercial districts that will generate jobs (development elsewhere in Jersey City and the region creates thousands of other opportunities), there is a need to focus on job training and skills development for both youth and adults. Our Response Some areas we can focus on in response to these issues include:    Outreach to Stakeholders The process of developing a successful neighborhood plan is rooted in a successful citizen involvement program and proactive civic leadership. The planning process consolidates a “vision” that grows from the values and contributions of all who have a stake in the outcome – the city, property owners, retailers, corporations, institutions, neighborhood associations, cultural organizations, and the citizenry at large. Tools may include: regular meetings, newsletters, website, targeted mailers, and informational flyers. Stakeholder outreach Connecting with the Press Managing the flow of information between BCU and the public involves reaching out to the press. This may include the group or individuals gaining exposure using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment. The aim is to inform and persuade the public, investors, potential partners, and other stakeholders to maintain its interest in the neighborhood. Activities may include speaking at conferences, submitting for awards, working with the press, and other communication Working with the City BCU will continue to nurture and establish relationships with all city departments and agencies to encourage proper revitalization, development and overall improvements in the community Advocacy page 36 Creating Our Future Together
  37. 37. BCU Neighborhood Plan 1 A Great Place to Work + Shop Our vision describes the BCU neighborhood as a place with lively shopping districts that are human in scale, pleasant for walking, and filled with a diverse mix of locally owned stores with a wide range of goods and services. It also describes a place where there are many different types of jobs for adults and youth of all skill levels, and appropriate training programs to help local residents qualify for those jobs and earn a living wage. 2 A Great Place to Work + Shop: Strengthen the Core The following pages first describe what is happening on the Monticello corridor and focused reccomendations. The team felt very strongly that for the neighborhood to succeed as a whole that plans must be crafed to specifically strengthen the Monticello Corridor, Bergen Avenue, and McGinley square as they are the core of the community upon which many other successes will be based. For purposes of this plan update we have not planned for these corridors and recommend a seperate study and reccomendations be generated in the near future. Following this decriptive section are the focus areas for the area as a whole. It includes two focus areas for policy and action: 2a Monticello Avenue  Collaboration for Economic Development  Residential Environment  Business Recruitment, Retention and Support  Streetscape 2b Bergen Avenue + McGinley Square  McGinley Square Park  Bergen Avenue Development Opportunities  Business Recruitment, Retention and Support  Streetscape Creating Our Future Together Meeting with the stakeholders page 37
  38. 38. BCU Neighborhood Plan What’s Happening on Monticello? The short answer is: lots of things. Monticello Avenue, from Fairmount to Communipaw, in addition to the north side of Communipaw from Bergen Avenue to Crescent Avenue were designated as an area in need of redevelopment by Jersey City in 1987. This means there is a special plan that lays out a vision for the future of the Monticello Avenue commercial district and strategies for realizing that vision. This plan, called the Monticello Avenue Redevelopment Plan (MARP) governs what new or renovated buildings must look like and what types of uses (stores, offices, housing, etc.) are appropriate. It also controls how many apartments or condominiums can be placed in a building as well as what the landscaping, signage and lighting should look like. Unfortunately, the 1987 MARP did not classify Monticello Avenue as a commercial district, allowing a wide range of inappropriate development to occur. Realizing this, the Monticello Community Development Corporation (MCDC) took on the responsibility of revising the plan to properly zone Monticello as a Neighborhood Shopping and Arts District. Plan was approved by the Jersey City Division Planning’s Board of Commissioners and the Jersey City City Council in 2007. In the MARP, the vision for Monticello Avenue is that of a mixed use street with retail stores on the ground floor and housing above. Retail uses will be aimed primarily at neighborhood residents. Once neighborhood needs are met, there will be a special focus on attracting arts-related activities for all ages. New and renovated buildings will be designed to fit in with the existing scale of development and reflect the district’s historic architecture. There are already several efforts to bring about change in the neighborhood to implement the MARP. These include: Monticello Main Street Program Main Street, a national program started of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is a comprehensive revitalization effort that encourages the historic and economic redevelopment of traditional commercial streets. Main Street communities receive valuable technical support and training to assist in restoring their “Main Streets” as centers of community and economic activity. In November 2004, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Main Street New Jersey Program designated Monticello Avenue as a Main Street, making it the only street in Hudson County chosen to participate in the program. Jackson Hill Main Street Special Improvement District manages the program and is financially assisted by Jersey City through the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation’s Urban Enterprise Zone. The program lays out a framework for action following a four-point model: Organization, Economic Restructuring, Design and Promotion. The program starts by building a local Main Street organization made up of local stakeholders (in this case MCDC). It then analyzes current market forces to develop long term strategies to increase economic competitiveness, and proposes ways to improve the area’s physical design, addressing issues like visual appearance, parking and cleanliness. The final piece, promotions, involves presenting positive images to shoppers, investors and residents by sponsoring festivals and events. Streetscape Improvements and Ongoing Maintenance In spring of 2006, look for major changes to the streetscape on Monticello, including new lighting, trees and improved sidewalks. These improvements, funded by a grant from the NJ Department of Transportation with supplemental funding from the Jersey City Urban Enterprise Zone, will make a dramatic difference on the street. Design work has already been completed. UEZ also funds a maintenance program for litter collection along the streets and curbs. page 38 Creating Our Future Together 2 A Great Place to Work + Shop: Strengthen the Core
  39. 39. BCU Neighborhood Plan 2 A Great Place to Work + Shop: Strengthen the Core Security Cameras Closed Circuit Television cameras have been installed on Monticello Avenue as part of the overall Jersey City Closed Circuit Security Program, with funding by the Urban Enterprise Zone. Currently there are only three cameras, but cable has been installed for additional cameras in the future. Advocacy for Appropriate Development To achieve the vision and goals for Monticello Avenue, MCDC has advocated strongly for appropriate development along the corridor. Through their efforts, 10 buildings were spared from demolition between Astor Place and Brinkerhoff. In addition, MCDC, McGinley Square Partnership (SID) and West Bergen/Lincoln Park Neighborhood Coalition started the mission and worked with the Jersey City Parking Authority to save the parking lot between Bergen and Monticello Avenues. During the sale of this property, it was agreed by the developer to create a parking deck to accommodate both area residents and shoppers. Jackson Hill Main Street SID will continue with moving Monticello Avenue. Urban Land Institute’s Ten Principles for Retail Revitalization: 1. Great Streets Need Great Champions 2. It Takes a Vision 3. Think Residential 4. Honor the Pedestrian 5. Parking Is Power 6. Merchandise and Lease Proactively 7. Make It Happen 8. Be Clean, Safe, and Friendly 9. Extend Day into Night 10. Manage for Change For more information, got ot the Urban Land Instiututes website: http://www.uli.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/TP_NeighborhoodRetail.ashx_1.pdf Creating Our Future Together page 39
  40. 40. BCU Neighborhood Plan 2a Monticello Avenue The Issue Monticello Avenue is one of the primary business districts of the BCU neighborhood area. It has a number of valuable amenities, including older buildings with distinctive architecture and a number of active community organizations. However, residents are concerned about its empty storefronts and vacant buildings as well as problems related to loitering, crime and drug activity. Our Response Fortunately, there are several efforts already underway for the Monticello Avenue district. Jackson Hill Main Street Special Improvement District is leading the Monticello Avenue revitalization effort. While the BCU Neighborhood Plan places high priority on revitalization of Monticello Avenue’s commercial district, it leaves the specifics of planning and implementation to efforts already in place or under development (see What’s Happening on Monticello? on page 46). The focus of the BCU Plan in relation to Monticello Avenue is therefore much more limited in scope. It includes:   Collaboration for Economic Development BCU is committed to working with Jackson Hill Main Street Special Improvement District, the City and other organizations to coordinate planning efforts related to Monticello Avenue and support implementation of revitalization projects. The BCU vision and guiding principles and the ideas in the plans should be consistent with one another. Where appropriate and feasible we hope to identify joint projects that can be implemented through a collaborative effort. Neighborhoodwide programs in the BCU Plan, such as the Neighborhood Clean-up Program, street tree program, and bike routes and bus stop improvements might provide additional opportunities for collaboration when implemented in the Monticello Avenue Redevelopment Area. Residential Environment BCU will work with Jackson Hill Main Street Special Improvement District and other organizations to ensure that residential areas in and around the Monticello Avenue business district are addressed in planning efforts and tied into business district revitalization activities. page 40 Creating Our Future Together 2 A Great Place to Work + Shop: Strengthen the Core
  41. 41. BCU Neighborhood Plan 2 A Great Place to Work + Shop: Strengthen the Core 2b Bergen Avenue + McGinley Square The Issue Bergen Avenue and McGinley Square are thriving commercial areas that residents enjoy and value. However, there are concerns about parking and the lack of certain types of stores and services. While the area has a number of beautiful older buildings, it also suffers from new buildings that are “fortress like” and unfriendly. Narrow sidewalks, poorly placed benches and inadequate lighting are also issues. Our Response Some areas we can focus on in response to these issues include:    Creating Our Future Together McGinley Square Park While the city has already developed a redesign for McGinley Square Park, there may still be an opportunity to ensure that the redesign responds to community needs and priorities. Residents and the McGinley Square Partnership must be involved in the upkeep and management of the park. Long term there may also be opportunities to facilitate a larger scale redevelopment of the park in conjunction with development of a new parking garage/mixed use building on an adjacent property. Bergen Avenue Development Opportunities There are a number of key development opportunities on Bergen Avenue, and several property owners who are keen to work with the community in facilitating redevelopment. Coordinating efforts and ensuring that designs and uses are consistent with the BCU Plan could have a significant impact on the physical character and quality of Bergen Avenue. Business Recruitment, Retention and Support A business recruitment, retention and support strategy is already in development. BCU members can support this effort and help ensure its success. page 41
  42. 42. BCU Neighborhood Plan 3 A Clean, Safe + Secure Neighborhood 3 A Clean, Safe, + Secure Neighborhood Our vision describes a community that is clean and comfortable, where people feel safe to walk at night, where community members know and lookout for each other, and where the community has good relations with the police. Participants at the BCU planning workshops have defined safety and security as their #1 priority. It is therefore the top priority of this plan. This set of policies and actions describes how we are going to create a safe and secure environment in the BCU neighborhood, through neighborhood-based crime prevention programs, appropriate design, and community involvement. It includes four focus areas for policy and action: 3a Responding to Crime  Partnering with the Jersey City Police Department  “Take Back the Streets” Events  BCU Neighborhood Watch  “Weed and Seed” Program 3b Street Lighting and “Defensible Space”  Consistent Street Lighting  Lighting on Buildings  “Defensible Space” 3c Traffic and Pedestrian Safety  Parking Enforcement  Sidewalk Improvements  “Traffic Calming” 3d Neighborhood Clean-up  Neighborhood Clean-up Days  BCU “Spruce-It-Up” Program  Enforcement of Trash and Litter Laws page 42 Creating Our Future Together Crime watch programs help to coordinate neighborhood-based crime prevention efforts. But they have to be organized, supported and maintained.
  43. 43. BCU Neighborhood Plan 3 A Clean, Safe, + Secure Neighborhood 3a Responding to Crime The Issue Residents feel that crime in the neighborhood is high, especially on parts of Monticello Avenue and parts of the Crescent and Summit Avenue neighborhoods where drug dealing, loitering and panhandling are problems. They would like to see a stronger police presence, and greater cooperation between the police and residents to prevent crime and to respond to crime when it happens. There have been major improvements on the avenue, however more improvements are needed. Our Response Some areas we can focus on in response to these issues include:  Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) The idea of ‘defensible space’ has been around a long time. The basic idea is that the design of the environment creates, or limits, opportunities for crime to occur. It can also help people feel safer, and make it easier for people to know each other, and look out for each other. There are two key components to CPTED:  First, design of the environment should allow people to see and be seen continuously. Ultimately, this diminishes residents fear because they know that a potential offender can easily be observed, identified, and consequently, apprehended.  Second, people must be willing to intervene or report crime when it occurs. By increasing the sense of security in settings where people live and work, it encourages people to take control of the areas and assume a role of ownership. When people feel safe in their neighborhood they are more likely to interact with one another and intervene when crime occurs.   Resources for more information: National Institute for Crime Prevention’s CPTED homepage www.cptedtraining.net International CPTED Association www.cpted.net Architect Oscar Newman’s homepage www.defensiblespace.com  Partnering with Jersey City Police and Others Work with the Jersey City Police Department, the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation, schools, St. Peter’s College and city leaders to develop a collaborative response to neighborhood crime, with particular focus on those areas where crime is highest and/or where residents feel the least safe. Define specific strategies for specific neighborhood issues and locations. “Take Back the Streets” Events Organize an event or series of events to engage residents in reclaiming areas in the neighborhood where they feel they have lost control. These could include rallies, festivals, “spruce it up” days, or similar activities. BCU Neighborhood Watch Organize Neighborhood Watch programs in those areas where crime is of greatest concern. Within each program, develop a set of specific strategies that will involve residents and business owners working with police and other organizations to address local crime and safety issues. One possible initial effort could target the selling of individual cigarettes, called loosies. “Weed and Seed” Program Organize a “Weed and Seed” program in collaboration with local law enforcement to draw upon the ideas and resources available through the US Department of Justice’s “Partnerships for Safer Communities.”  Download Oscar Newman’s book for free! See next page... Creating Our Future Together page 43
  44. 44. BCU Neighborhood Plan 3 A Clean, Safe, + Secure Neighborhood 3b Street Lighting and ‘Defensible Space’ The Issue Some residents don’t feel comfortable walking around the neighborhood at night. Inadequate lighting contributes to the feeling of insecurity, as do poorly designed and maintained buildings and public spaces. Our Response Some areas we can focus on in response to these issues include:    Consistent Street Lighting Ensure continuous and consistent street lighting throughout the BCU area, so that all streets and sidewalks are adequately illuminated at night. Give priority to those areas in which crime is of particular concern (see 1a, Responding to Crime). Lighting on Buildings Supplement street lighting with adequate lighting in public and semi-public areas in front of buildings in the neighborhood. Encourage residents and other property owners to install appropriate lighting and leave their lights on at night. Pedestrian-oriented lighting can enhance the streetscape while also creating a safer environment. “Defensible Space” Promote “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design” (see explanation in right margin), helping developers, residents, businesses and building owners/managers to understand the basics of defensible space design and to implement guidelines, as possible, on their properties. Examples include keeping landscaping pruned so that front doors and windows are visible from the street, and discouraging walls and other features that create ‘dead zones’ along streets. Get the book! Architect Oscar Newman coined the term ‘defensible space’ and wrote a handbook on the concept, with guidelines for implementing it in communities. It is available for free download at: www.defensiblespace.com/book.htm page 44 Creating Our Future Together
  45. 45. BCU Neighborhood Plan 3 A Clean, Safe, + Secure Neighborhood 3c Traffic and Pedestrian Safety The Issue Improper parking, narrow sidewalks, and unsafe traffic intersections create hazards in the neighborhood for pedestrians and motorists. Our Response Some areas we can focus on in response to these issues include:   “Traffic calming” is a widely used set of strategies for creating pedestrian-friendly (and safer) neighborhoods.    Parking Enforcement Enforcement of existing parking regulations can help address many of these issues, especially related to double parking and obstruction of sidewalks. Sidewalk Improvements Improve and widen sidewalks in those areas where sidewalk conditions create an unsafe pedestrian environment. “Traffic Calming” Explore opportunities for “traffic calming” designs and improvements, especially in residential areas. These include “sidewalk bump outs” (pedestrian crossing areas where the sidewalks are widened into the parking area); textured paving; raised crosswalks and/or speed bumps. “Traffic Calming” EPA Walkability Audit in 2012. Municipal departments formed a team to address issues identified during the audit. “Traffic Calming” Great Neighborhood Action Team hosted workshops in 2011 with the Jersey City Dept. of Public Works. We’ve just been notified that this has led to the Jersey City Engineering Department’s reciept of a $350,000 street improvement grant. The grant will support improvements in certain parts of the BCU neighborhood What is “Traffic Calming”? Traffic might be part of life in the city, but there are strategies to reduce its negative effects. A number of techniques can slow traffic down, make it safer and easier to cross the street and generally create safer and more pleasant streets. Below are some pictures of different techniques. A good place to go for more information is www.trafficcalming.org. Another good resource is the book Traffic Calming: State of the Practice, published in 1999 by the Institute of Transportation Engineers. Raised and textured crosswalks tell drivers that pedestrians share the road. They also raise the height of people crossing the street so they are more visible to drivers, reducing accidents. The raised area serves as a speedbump, forcing motorists to slow down. In a bulbout or neckdown the sidewalk is reshaped so that it bulges out, narrowing the intersection. This technique shortens the distance pedestrians need to cross the street and improves their visibility. It also forces turning cars to slow down. Traffic circles are a good way to slow speed and reduce accidents. If well maintained, they also can add a small island of green in the streetscape. Creating Our Future Together page 45
  46. 46. BCU Neighborhood Plan 3d 3 A Clean, Safe, + Secure Neighborhood Neighborhood Clean-up The Issue Areas of the neighborhood that are dirty and run down help reinforce the feeling that it is unsafe, and that it is a place people don’t care about. Residents have a strong interest in seeing the area cleaned up. Our Response Some of the areas we can focus on in response to this issue include:    Neighborhood Clean-up Days Residents can play a lead role in clean-up efforts through regularly scheduled and organized community clean-up days. This will help create both a sense of safety (because the area will look nicer) as well as real safety, because residents will get to know each other better through the clean-up process. Neighborhood cleanup BCU “Spruce It Up” Program Encourage property owners to spruce up their properties (e.g., paint, improve landscaping, remove garbage, etc.) through an organized “Spruce It Up” program that combines technical and financial assistance with a highly visible community recognition program for participating property owners. Enforcement of Trash and Litter Laws Enforcement of laws requiring trash to be picked up and properties to be maintained can help ensure that property owners are held responsible for keeping their properties clean. page 46 Creating Our Future Together Spruce it up
  47. 47. BCU Neighborhood Plan 4 A Sustainable and Vibrant Neighborhood 4 A Sustainable and Vibrant Neighborhood Our vision describes a community that is green, safe, comfortable, lively and welcoming—a place that has all the characteristics of an “urban village.” This set of policies and actions describes how we are going to create a village-like environment in the BCU neighborhoods, by creating and maintaining green spaces, street trees and small gardens; promoting appropriate design; addressing parking issues; and encouraging biking and transit use. Mixed housing options It includes four focus areas for policy and action: 4a 4b “Greening” and Improving the Neighborhood  Tree Planting Campaign  McGinley Square Park  Community Gardens  Property Maintenance and Enforcement 4c Transportation Infrastructure  New Parking Facilities  Shared Parking  Orderly Use of Existing Parking Areas  Bike Routes and Facilities  Transit Facilities  Non Rush Hour Transportation Options 4d Neighborhood Design  Neighborhood Design Guidelines  Neighborhood Signage  Historic District  Planning Documents - Revitalization & Physical Plans 4e Integrating arts and culture Housing Mix and Affordability  New Affordable Housing  Mixed Use Development  Mixed Income Housing  Housing Rehabilitation  Homeownership Programs Integrating Arts and Culture  Art Programs  Cultural inclusion and celebration Creating Our Future Together page 47
  48. 48. BCU Neighborhood Plan 4a Housing Mix and Affordability 4 A Sustainable and Vibrant Neighborhood The Issue Housing prices in Jersey City and the BCU neighborhood had been increasing rapidly until the market crashed a few years ago. Rental rates, however, have remained steady and with increased demand are also increasing. This makes it hard for current residents to stay and for new low or moderate income residents to move in to the neighborhood. The burden is especially hard for seniors and others on fixed income. Another issue is that the neighborhood has a very high level of rental housing. Renters are more vulnerable to being displaced by price increases, plus the low rate of homeownership means that fewer residents are invested in the neighborhood long-term. Our Response Some areas we can focus on in response to these issues include:      New Affordable Housing The development of new affordable housing in the BCU neighborhood can help alleviate the current price squeeze. A focus on creating affordable ownership opportunities could be particularly beneficial. Affordable housing developments should be designed and maintained so that it reflects the values expressed in this plan. These developments should be the model of what we are trying to achieve! Mixed Use Development New or rehabilitated mixed use developments can create housing above retail and offices where appropriate, not only providing additional housing, but also providing customers for local businesses. Mixed Income Housing Mixed income housing can help achieve neighborhood diversity goals by providing housing opportunities for households at different income levels. An “inclusionary zoning” ordinance for Jersey City, requiring that twenty percent of all new housing units built in the city are affordable to low and moderate income households, could also help ensure a mix of housing prices for a diversity of income levels. Housing Rehabilitation Housing rehabilitation helps maintain and improve the quality of housing. Where possible, rehab funding (grants or low interest financing) should be linked to affordability provisions. Homeownership Programs New and potential residents often need help finding resources that will allow them to buy a new home or stay in their existing home. page 48 Creating Our Future Together Housing options
  49. 49. BCU Neighborhood Plan 4 A Sustainable and Vibrant Neighborhood 4b “Greening” and Improving the Neighborhood The Issue Parks, trees, garden spaces, and well-maintained buildings and properties help make urban neighborhoods livable. Residents are concerned about the lack of park space, street trees and greenery in general. They are also unhappy with the size and design of McGinley Square Park, and with the poor maintenance of some buildings and properties in the area. Some green spaces, like the community gardens, are not well used and need to be made more accessible. Our Response Some areas we can focus on in response to these issues include:     Street trees have a dramatic impact on neighborhood character and the feeling of being a “green” neighborhood. Creating Our Future Together Tree Planting Campaign Planting street trees has an immediate impact on the neighborhood greenery, with benefits that grow with time. Resources are available to support tree planting. All that is needed is coordination and focused effort. McGinley Square Park McGinley Square Park is prominently located, but poorly designed and in disrepair. Renovation of the park should be a priority, ensuring that community concerns and needs are considered in the design and development process. Also, if St. Peter’s College proceeds with development of a new parking facility on the adjacent property, efforts should be made to expand McGinley Square Park. Community Gardens Community gardens add greenery to the neighborhood and provide recreational opportunities for residents. These gardens need to be improved, maintained and made accessible. Property Maintenance and Enforcement Jersey City has strong laws requiring landscaping in all new developments. These laws need to be enforced. Also, the City has codes and other regulations that require all buildings and properties to be maintained in good (and safe) condition. The existing regulations need to be more consistently enforced. They provide a useful tool for addressing some neighborhood quality issues. page 49

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