Downtown New Brunswick is home to hospitals, restaurants, markets, and residences, all within close proximity and generating abundant street activity. On March 1, 2013 at the 2013 New Jersey Redevelopment Forum, Charles Brown and James Van Schoick of the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center conducted an interactive planning workshop and mini bike and walk audit of Downtown New Brunswick.
In the first half of the workshop, approximately fifteen seasoned professionals were briefed on the “Six Important Ingredients to a Walkable/Bikeable Community”. Participants were then led on a walking tour of George Street and French Street to personally experience the rapidly changing and vibrant community, and audit its overall walkability/bikeability according to the following variables: 1) Good Sidewalks; 2) Traffic Calming; 3) Safety, 4) Comfort and Beauty; 5) Great Destinations; and 6) Bicycle Accommodations.
The session concluded at the hotel, with participants being given an opportunity individually as well as in teams, to visualize their version of an ideal walkable community/environment using not words or colored drawings but random pieces of art and crafts. This particular process has been made famous by James Rojas of Alhambra, CA.
By the end of the workshop, participants had learned about innovative pedestrian infrastructure the city has recently implemented, how to access a neighborhood’s walkability/bikeability, and the value of community participation in identifying opportunities for improving the streetscape and their communities. If you’d like to experience a similar workshop in your community, please don’t hesitate to contact us at www.njbikeped.org