Overhaul of Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza to Begin in December

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Jersey City Pedestrian Plaza Photo
Jersey City’s popular pedestrian plaza is slated for a redesign. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey City.

A car-free stretch that’s become one of Jersey City’s top destinations is slated to get a $4 million facelift later this year, as a ton of new features will be installed along a roadway that will be permanently converted into a pedestrian plaza.

The beginnings of the aforementioned plaza on Newark Avenue go back to 2015, when vehicular traffic was eliminated on a stretch of the roadway between Grove and Erie Streets. The green paint adorning the carless road was then expanded west to Jersey Avenue last year.


At the time, Mayor Steve Fulop tweeted that the street would soon be converted into “a proper plaza we all envision.” That promise will soon come to fruition as the city will spend $4 million transforming the roadway into what they hope will be a more friendly and welcoming environment for both businesses and the community.

Jersey City Pedestrian Plaza Redesign Rendering 2
Newark Ave at Barrow Street. Rendering courtesy of Maser Consulting.

The biggest component of the project involves raising the two blocks of roadway to match the level of the sidewalk, eliminating the trip hazard of the curb in the process. The blacktop on the road will be replaced with granite paver plaza surfacing, harkening back to the days when Newark Avenue was marked by cobblestones.


Jersey City Pedestrian Plaza Redesign Rendering
Newark Avenue at Erie Street. Rendering courtesy of Maser Consulting.

Many of the other additions in the plan, drawn up by Red Bank-based Maser Consulting, are decidedly more modern. They include a trench drain system with decorative drains, green infrastructure such as rain garden tree planters, and illuminated bench seating.

Jersey City Pedestrian Plaza Redesign Rendering Night
Newark Avenue at night. Rendering courtesy of Maser Consulting.

Other features that will be installed include moveable seating and tables, decorative planters, a stage area with gathering space, and enhanced café lighting. As part of the project, an information kiosk will be installed at the corner of Jersey and Newark Avenues.

Mayor Fulop recently stated during a Facebook live post that the plaza overhaul along Newark Avenue will make it easier for restaurants to extend their outside seating past their current limitations. Construction is expected to begin in December and continue throughout the colder months.

Jersey City Pedestrian Plaza Redesign Plan
Jersey City pedestrian plaza redesign overview. Courtesy of Maser Consulting.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. So I live downtown and love the plaza but I can’t help but think that there other areas of the city that could use that $4 million.

  2. This seems incredibly frivolous when our public schools are in complete crisis, our streets are riddled with sinkholes, and there are food deserts throughout the south and west sides of the city. Where is this money coming from? It’s shockingly tone deaf to announce this type of investment into upgrades for a pedestrian plaza that serves a very specific demographic of the city, when there are much-needed improvements to basic quality of life issues throughout the rest of JC.

    • Agreed, but taken that most of the taxes are coming from downtown since the reval makes sense… It’s all part of the budget. However, more should go to the schools in general…

      • The distribution of tax revenue has absolutely nothing to do from which district it came from. Taxes are, in theory, always for the greater good of a municipality and not meant for the beautification, or anything else, of any one particular neighborhood. If what Val said was correct than people in the Heights, rather than Downtown, should be reaping the benefits of tax distribution as they were contributing far more than their fair share for decades while Downtown was vastly underpaying. As for the Newark Ave upgrade it has, reservedly, my seal of approval as I’ve been trashing the current one for some time. I’m not totally sold on the granite pavers which are a very pricey building component and are not really necessary for the Bro and Whoo-hoo girl late night party contingent. Concrete pavers, or something else, should be used and the money saved in construction costs could be allocated to another part of the city.

        • While i’m sure on a Friday and Saturday night the pedestrian plaza turns into Hoboken, I think there is a misconception that’s all it is. I’ve been there during the day when it’s mostly families and kids. After work mostly professionals grabbing food or groceries or just hanging out with friends and family. And recently some masked people (assuming vegans) with videos of animals getting slaughtered..

        • Yes historically other wards have paid more in taxes than E, but I’m referring to now… And the investment in our “center” in downtown is important for future growth. Since now people in the area pay alot more in taxes than anyone else…

  3. Yes there are some more pressing needs to spend that money on in other parts of the community, however what is best for JC long term is to continue to invest in the areas inside of 78 (downtown, the waterfront, paulus hook, hamilton park, etc.). Creating a bustling and vibrant community there will continue to attract new people to that area and that will have a much more significant and positive impact on the rest of the community long term.

  4. $4 million is peanuts in terms city spending and don’t see how that would help the school system. They are fixing up streets as far as I have seen but that won’t be done overnight. I have to agree with Val, if you’re spending anywhere from 10-50k a year in real estate taxes you’ll get more attention.

    But I also agree Fullflop needs to pay more attention to other parts of town. Like creating some sort incentives to open businesses on that disastrous stretch called Monticello Ave and start punishing absentee owners. And actually supporting small business owners rather than expecting developers to do it for him while he spends time cutting ribbons and renovating his Rhode Island house. It can all be done without stopping progress downtown.

    • Yes. Monticello is in dire need of density and life. It’s crazy when you campare even Bergen avenue which is one block over has so much going on vs. Monticello… I envision Monticello being a major commercial space in the future with all the development that has been proposed, but none has had any fruition as of yet … Monticello has a great history and hopefully even a greater future!

  5. What happens if they don’t invest into downtown and the highest grossing businesses in JC close and no longer exist? How do we make up for those tax dollars?

    Ask any of our neighboring cities and towns. They’ll easily pay 3 times as much to have a downtown like ours.

    Don’t take it for granted.

  6. The taxes were raised & now seniors who lived in the downtown community all their lives have to sell & leave because they can not afford to live there. Gentrification at is best. There are hardly any seniors, Spanish people or African Americans living in downtown anymore. Disgraceful! But who cares, right?

  7. Jersey Digs has caused an epic fail here by not asking the city what the funding source is. This is funded by a grant which has extremely specific parameters, is location specific and is not a pot of money that can be put wherever the city wants to. If the writer had bothered to ask that, and then explain it in the piece, we wouldn’t be having this uproar and confusion.

    In general, the City’s transportation and planning staff have been very proactive in looking for grants for their projects. Traffic engineers/planning likely found a good grant opportunity to rehab a ped plaza, then asked the city to apply for it. We finally have people in these roles who are proactively trying to build improvement projects and find funding sources for said projects (not our taxes), after years of people in these departments who did not put in this kind of effort. This is a good thing. The grant person then applied for this specific Transit grant around this project, specifically.

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