Reopening New Jersey: Jersey City 'Slow Streets' program adds open space for seating, recreation

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- Jersey City launched a pilot program Wednesday to support safe outdoor activity and recreation for residents' physical and mental health as the state emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Slow Streets program provides residents additional open space by designating certain streets throughout Jersey City to be temporarily closed to through traffic, with access for local traffic only at very low speeds while maintaining all existing parking.

Streets designated "Slow Streets" will have partial closures at intersections to allow for more comfortable use for adequate physically distant walking, jogging, biking, exercising, commuting, and playing all across the city.

"We have been working to bring outside-the-box solutions to address the various issues created by this unprecedented crisis," Mayor Steven Fulop said. "We were the first to implement strict and effective social distancing measures, and now as we work to carefully reopen, these Slow Streets will act as a relief valve for safe outdoor activities this summer as we see the streets and parks start to get crowded again. This program will also support further recovery efforts on the horizon."

The Slow Streets pilot is the latest program the city is introducing to utilize city streets to assist business owners and residents with adhering to social distancing requirements.

The city has been working with restaurants to expand outdoor seating into areas of streets to maintain capacity while indoor dining remains limited. Along with the expansion of the established Newark Avenue Pedestrian Mall, other temporary Pedestrian Plazas are also being incorporated citywide to further support social distancing efforts.

The new plazas include:
--Grove Street from 1st Street to Montgomery Ave.
--1st Street from Jersey Ave. to Newark Ave.
--Bergen Ave. from Reed Street to Duncan Ave.
--Rose Ave. from Cator Ave. to Old Bergen Rd.
--MLK Drive from Woodlawn Ave. to Armstrong Ave.
--Bergen Ave. from Sip Ave. to Newkirk Street

Considering the new need for additional space on city streets for pedestrians and cyclists, Jersey City is also expediting the construction of permanent bike lanes, with 1.5 miles completed since the pandemic shutdowns, with 6 additional miles of protected bike lanes planned for the remainder of the year.

Since 2019, a total of 6.75 miles of bike lanes have been constructed citywide to encourage a safe space for bicycle use as a more environmentally friendly transportation option. The extended bike lane network will also help commuters looking to avoid crowded mass transit.

To launch the program, the streets listed below will be transformed into slow streets immediately:

--Senate Place and Dey Street: Entire Length
--Nelson Avenue: Bleecker St. to Leonard St.
--Jersey Avenue: 8th St. to Newark Ave.

These additional streets are being considered for future implementation:
--Cator Avenue: Rose Ave to Old Bergen Road
--McAdoo Avenue: West Side Ave. to Rutgers Ave.
--Belmont Avenue: West Side Ave. to Summit Ave.
--Clerk Street: Bramhall Ave. to Wilkinson Ave.

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