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Meetings

The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) hold meetings to engage in dialogue with residents, business owners and city officials and other stakeholders about the proposed project and the potential environmental impacts associated with conceptual solutions. These meetings are on the schedule:

Government Briefing Policy Group
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
2 pm
Newark City Hall
920 Broad Street, Room 205
Newark 07102

Meeting Summary - The NJDOT convened with the City of Newark, Edwards and Kelcey (EK), Management Interventions (MII), and Louis Berger Group to kick off the community involvement and public participation meetings. MII presented their outreach approach and process which would engage Newark’s local residential community as well as the business and stakeholder communities. City of Newark expressed concern about the one-mile length of Route 21 – whether it can move traffic in and out of the city given the numerous amounts of development projects currently on-going in the vicinity of Route 21. The NJDOT recognizes that a balanced view of the project, through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, will take into account operational, safety, and environmental concerns. The planned government stakeholder group was divided into 2 distinct groups: Government Briefing Policy Group and Government Public Agency Stakeholder Group. The first group consists of a small group of the City of Newark officials who can offer pointed information regarding the immediate impacts to the project area. The second group is a larger group of more than 50 individuals representing authorities, agencies and other organizations that have working relationships in and around the City.

   
August 2006
Time To Be Determined (TBD)
Location To Be Determined (TBD)
   
Community Roundtable
Thursday, January 19, 2006
10 am
NJ TRANSIT
One Penn Plaza East
Newark 07105

Meeting Summary - This community roundtable meeting was held at NJ TRANSIT’s headquarters. NJDOT provided a brief introduction which included the work that NJDOT is doing to ensure community participation. The EK team explained the traffic studies being performed on the corridor, the Environmental Assessment and NEPA process and the Environmental Justice sensitivities of the project area. The attendees were encouraged to ask questions and voice their concerns. Several questions related to existing properties (McDonalds) and how the project would impact them; the difficulty in crossing the roads; sidewalk safety; truck routes, Amtrak’s role in the project, Hamilton Street Bridge impacts and whether traffic projections took into account the future arena.

 

 

Thursday, February 23, 2006
10 am
NJ TRANSIT
One Penn Plaza East
Newark 07105

Meeting Summary - This second Community Roundtable meeting presented the two alternatives (4-lane and 6-lane) to the public. Cross sections and plans were presented so the attendees could understand what the concepts entailed. The Consultant pointed out that the 4-lane concept allowed for wider sidewalks by narrowing the inner travel lanes. It also improves safety by providing a separation area between the pedestrians and live vehicular traffic. A similar explanation was provided about the 6-lane concept. A model showing current travel times and future 4-lane, 6-lane build out travel times was explained.

Attendees filled out questionnaires and were encouraged to participate in further discussions. One key issue that surfaced from this meeting is the impacts to local businesses and community. As evidenced by participants, a diverse group of representatives from the local businesses were in attendance. Discussion topics ranged from impacts to businesses based on the two alternatives, improving the level of service, impacts to traffic from the future arena, and costs associated with building either concept.

   
Friday, April 28, 2006
10 am
NJ TRANSIT
One Penn Plaza East
Newark 07105
Meeting Summary - The third Community Roundtable Meeting included a brief review of the Public Outreach Program as well as the 4-lane and 6-lane concepts proposed for Route 21 from Murray Street to Edison Place. Features of each concept were discussed using cross sections and plan views. Louis Berger Group the presented an Evaluation Matrix containing a list of Environmental Categories for the local stakeholders to consider. The group was asked to indicate their opinion of the importance, or sensitivity, of each particular category with regard to this project, and then give their estimation of whether conditions of the categories would be better, best, same, or worse under each of three improvement schemes (4-lane, the 6-lane and No-Action). The No-Action alternative includes interim safety improvement projects but no corridor-wide improvements outside of maintenance and repair. Ensuing questions focused on existing and anticipated traffic volumes in the project corridor, and if there was a threshold traffic volume that would warrant a 6-lane facility.
   
Government Public Agency Stakeholder Group
Thursday, January 26, 2006
10 am
Newark Traffic and Signals
255 Central Avenue
Newark 07102

Meeting Summary - The existing conditions of Route 21 from Murray Street to Edison Place were presented. Attendees received a packet of project materials and were encouraged to make comments and ask questions about the project. Questionnaires were collected at the end of the meeting. Several key issues from the questionnaire and comment period are noted as follows: (1) Navigational improvements, (2) Safety measures for all Route 21 users, (3) Traffic mobility, (4) Project timing and schedule, (5) Project coordination with concurrent area projects, (6) Aesthetic improvements and (7) Preservation of current resources.

   
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
10 am
Newark Traffic and Signals
255 Central Avenue
Newark 07102
Meeting Summary - This was the second Government Public Agency Stakeholder Group meeting. After discussing the existing Route 21 conditions, eight interim projects along the corridor were discussed. Short term safety and operation issues were discussed. Questionnaires designed to assist with identifying socio-cultural considerations, community cohesion considerations, economic issues, land use concerns, safety-health considerations and environmental justice impacts were filled out by attendees. The groups raised concern over safety issues when crossing Route 21. Other concerns revolved around possible impacts to local businesses (gas stations), recreational facilities, such as the ball field and the NJ TRANSIT Railroad. The group recognizes a traffic safety issue on Route 21 and expressed other constituent concerns that they would like the project team to address. These concerns ranged from traffic issues, traffic light timings, the possibility that 6-lanes may further divide the neighborhood and air quality concerns.
   
Thursday, March 16, 2006
10 am
Newark City Hall
920 Broad Street
Newark 07102
Meeting Summary - The third Government Public Agency Stakeholder Group meeting reviewed the 4-lane and 6-lane concepts proposed for Route 21. Advantages and disadvantages were addressed using cross sections and plan views. Louis Berger Group presented a list of Potential Evaluation Categories for the local stakeholders to consider. It was explained to the group that stakeholders would be asked to indicate their opinion of the effect of the categories on the 4-lane alternative, the 6-lane alternative and the No-Action option. The No-Action alternative includes the interim projects but no corridor-wide improvement project outside of maintenance and repair. Some of the categories include Traffic congestion, Pedestrian Travel Safety, Property Takings, Environmental Justice, Air Quality, Development of Rt. 21 Gateway Initiatives and Maintenance and Operation. Ensuing questions focused on the travel times to get through the corridor based on the two concepts, the aesthetics of the 6-lane concept, the loss in tax ratables with the 6-lane concept, the impact of the 6-lane concept on approximately 35-40 businesses, and the type of accidents that typically occur on a corridor such as Route 21.
   
Community Information Forum
Friday, February 3, 2006
6:30 pm
Gray Charter School
55 Liberty Street
Newark 07102

Meeting Summary - This meeting, held at Gray Charter School, represented the first Community Information Forum targeted to the residents in and around the project area. A brief overview of the project and the outreach plan was presented to the attendees. Attendees were divided into 3 groups and discussions followed regarding their likes/dislikes, mobility/access, traffic and safety concerns. The questionnaires collected at the end of the session indicated that key issues for the attendees were (1) Safety of schoolchildren, (2) Overall safety measures for Route 21 users, (3) Traffic and mobility, (4) Aesthetic improvements, (5) Navigational improvements, (6) Project Timing and schedule, (7) Parking and (8) Preservation of current resources.

   
Thursday, March 9, 2006
6:30 pm
Club Orensano
148 Lafayette Street
Newark 07105
Meeting Summary - The second Community Information Forum focused on the two concepts that were developed for Route 21. Plans (50-scale) were displayed and the four-lane concepts along with the six-lane concept were discussed. The Four-Lane Concept would have two lanes in each direction without shoulders, similar to the existing highway. The sidewalk on the west side of the road would be divided into a 6’ wide paved walkway area adjacent to the buildings and a 6’ wide paver/buffer area to include decorative light poles, signage, and other amenities. A 12’ wide raised median divides the northbound and southbound traffic. Left turn lanes would intermittently take the place of the raised median. Traffic operation and safety would be improved by the installation of a new traffic signal system, including upgraded pedestrian crossing signals.

The proposed Six-Lane Concept would have three lanes in each direction, with one-foot wide inside shoulders and no outside shoulders. The outside lanes would be 15’ wide and would be considered bicycle-compatible. This concept features a 20’ wide median, as well as 10’ wide sidewalks and 5’ wide planting areas along both northbound and southbound Route 21. The median width would be intermittently reduced to provide for 12’ left turn lanes. Three pedestrian bridge overpasses over Route 21 are recommended to facilitate children walking to school. The six-lane concept involves a considerable widening and creates community and environmental justice impacts, and extensive right of way impacts.

Following, attendees had an opportunity to ask questions. They voiced their concerns regarding the cost of the 4-lane alternative versus the 6-lane alternative; the decision making process regarding the selection of the roadway improvement concept to be constructed; the impact of the 6-lane concept on local businesses such as McDonalds; the timeframe for the construction of the project and the fate of the ball field.

   
Tuesday, May 2, 2006
6:30 pm
South Street Elementary School
151 South Street
Newark 07114

Project Summary - The third Community Information Forum included a brief review of the Public Outreach Program as well as the 4-lane and 6-lane concepts proposed for Route 21 from Murray Street to Edison Place. Features of each concept were discussed using cross sections and plan views. Louis Berger Group the presented an Evaluation Matrix containing a list of Environmental Categories for the local stakeholders to consider. For each category, the group was asked to indicated on their individual matrix their opinion of the importance, or sensitivity of that category with regard to this project, and then give their estimation of whether conditions of that category would be better, best, same, or worse under each of three improvement schemes (4-lane, the 6-lane and No-Action).

Questions at this meeting focused on pedestrian safety, the aesthetic treatment of either concept, particularly with regard to landscaping, the possibility of reducing the typical section in the 6-lane to lessen impacts on adjacent properties, and the construction phasing of either alternative.

   
Thursday, June 1, 2006
6:30 pm
Sports Club Portugal
51-55 Prospect Street
Newark 07105
   
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
7 pm
Lafayette Street Elementary School
205 Lafayette Street
Newark 07105
   
Thursday, June 22, 2006
6:30 pm
New Point Baptist Church
17-21 East Kinney Street
Newark 07105
   
Public Information Center
October 2006
Time TBD
Location TBD
   
 
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  Last Updated:  August 3, 2006