Culture Is A Critical Component In City Transformation: The Asbury Park Museum

A World Bank report linked in this article, offers a “roadmap for integrating culture into people-centric and place-centric policies in a way “that accounts for the needs, values and priorities of people.”

Asbury Park is undergoing transformation – after decades of instability, like many cities globally after periods of conflict, whether from war, disasters or other forms of urban distress.  City leaders and advocates are working on ways to effectively engage and address needs in all areas of the city, such as safer mobility on city streets and housing, as we strive to bring the city together.  People and their culture are key elements to unification. Asbury Park has incredibly rich cultural history, and The Asbury Park Museum is a perfect resource and a reservoir of AP culture, dating from the city’s founding in 1871.  It was only open for 3 months in a temporary location, from Dec. 2018 to early March 2019.  Currently the museum has no home.  APCSC supports the museum’s endeavor to to share, and bring to life AP cultural history in a permanent location.  Stay tuned for updates!

The Secret Ingredient of Resilient Cities: Culture


Investing in cultural cohesion and preservation can help rebuild cities devastated by war or natural disasters, says a new World Bank report.

French artist Tarik Bouanani and project coordinator Maria Camila Moreno look on, as they work to paint a giant mural on the walls of 230 houses in the slum neighbourhood of El Pesebre, in Medellin, Colombia July 19, 2017. Picture taken July 19, 2017. REUTERS/Fredy Builes – RC1891A43DF0

According to the World Bank, cities that find themselves at the beginning of a rebuilding process first need to acknowledge that culture—whether it is tangible (monuments, religious spaces, and protected sites) or intangible (like art, traditional craft practices, or other types of local knowledge)—is crucial to their social fabric and self-image. Cities should start reconstruction of the sites that mean the most to locals.

Read about how how culture is a part of transforming a city.

Peak Car

Driving in major cities in the US, particularly NYC has become a nightmare of traffic. Do drivers even realize that THEY are traffic?  Car manufacturers are scrambling to build vehicles and keep them on the road for car services, and designing electric cars and self-driving vehicles.  Tragically while young people aren’t buying cars like they used to, the automotive industry in the US is also catering to drivers who love their BIG vehicles.  The current increase in pedestrian deaths has recently been attributed in part to the prevalence of people driving these vehicular behemoths, in which drivers are unable to see more vulnerable road users.  People are killed in these crashes rather than injured by smaller vehicles.  But the fact remains, sales are down.  Can US cities take note of success stories across the globe where human life is prioritized over cars? It’s time. Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition advocates for street design for people, and we continue to advocate for better, safer ways to get around the city.

This Is What Peak Car Looks Like

By Keith Naughton and David Welch

February 28, 2019

“Meanwhile, mobility services are multiplying rapidly, with everything from electric scooters to robo-taxistrying to establish a foothold in the market. Increasingly, major urban centers such as London, Madrid, and Mexico City are restricting cars’ access. Such constraints, plus the expansion of the sharing economy and the advent of the autonomous age, have made automakers nervous. That’s also pushed global policymakers to consider the possibility that the world is approaching “peak car”—a tipping point when the *killer transportation app of the 20th century finally begins a steady decline, transforming the way we move.

*Editor’s note- was this an intentional description of cars?

Read more…

What Are We Going to Do About It?

If you wouldn’t let your kids ride a bike or walk across town in your city, or if you, as an adult are fearful of riding your bike around your town or for a bike ride to another town, there’s something seriously wrong.  And the tragedy is that we know what it is. It’s cars. We know cars kill.  We know that streets and roads are engineered to move cars quickly, and not to enable people to move about safely. So what are we going to do about it?  Check out the podcasts.

We Need a Sea Change in How We Think About Roads and Streets

March 12, 2019

“You are grossly negligent if you show a conscious indifference to the safety of others. In other words, you’re aware that the safety of others is endangered, but you don’t do anything to act on that knowledge.”

— Charles Marohn

#8 in our Greatest Hits collection of the best Strong Towns Podcast episodes you may have missed the first time around, here’s “Gross Negligence” from June 2015. In it, Chuck Marohn describes:

  • An exercise from army basic training in which he had to crawl through a trench while an expert marksman sent bullets whizzing nearby. No parent would let their child do this. So why do we accept that this is basically the condition of being on the sidewalk of an American stroad?
  • Why we tend to associate speed with mobility and economic opportunity—and why we’re wrong.
  • The incoherence of common responses to tragedy on our streets, such as a proposal to remedy an unsafe highway through a park in Buffalo by simultaneously making it more like a city street… and more like a high-speed road.
  • What we would do if we actually wanted to make safety the number one priority on our streets.  The podcast:
Read more…

Parking Problem – Garages Not Necessarily The Answer

We’re still in thrall of our cars – at least older drivers are, and traffic congestion is the result.  It was initially thought that ride-shares would be a solution, but for now ride-shares are not helping to ease congestion. In fact they’re adding to it, as more cars enter cities, and drivers cruise around waiting for calls. So congestion and the parking problem remain…for now.  It seems as though it may change as fewer young people opt to buy cars – to protect the environment, save the cost of maintenance, fuel, and insurance … and the expense and frustration of car storage=parking.  Some cities are responding in an old-school way to traffic congestion and lack of parking by striving to add parking and build garages.  But younger people may turn the tide as they are opting for alternative transportation and mass transit. “Indeed, in the U.S. people under 30 are more than seven-times more likely to take public transportation than those over 60 years of age. Furthermore, over the past three decades, the percentage of younger people who apply for a driver’s license has dropped nearly 20 percent, according to the University of Michigan’s Transportation Institute.”

Smart city planners are rethinking parking by getting rid of it

Joni Mitchell sang, “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” But could parking lots soon become extinct, with the lost paradise making a return?

As cities get smarter and mobility solutions and consumer habits change, more urban planners are eschewing the construction of public parking garages — or changing how they conceive of them altogether.

Read about it:

Car-Free=Better Business

Don’t worry Asbury Park.  Even though “we’re unique…we’re not…Belmar, Avon, Paris, Copenhagen…” The increase in sales in the car-free district of central Madrid is not unusual. We see this data presented again and again from cities all over the world, and in the US.  Not only is business better, so is quality of life.

Closing Central Madrid To Cars Resulted In 9.5% Boost To Retail Spending, Finds Bank Analysis


Transportation – I have been writing about the business of bicycles for 30+ years.

“Cities which want to boost takings in shops and restaurants should restrict access for motorists, a new study suggests.
The City of Madrid’s imposition of a “low-emission zone” for the Christmas period led to benefits to citizens as well as shops and restaurants – there was a 71% fall in air pollution during the period of the experimental motor-traffic restrictions.”
Read more…

Streets At The Human Scale

A common complaint from drivers about Asbury Park’s Main Street reconfiguration has been the fear that they won’t be able to get through the city as quickly as possible. Of course we know that traffic calming will actually allow traffic to move more smoothly. But even more, it will become a REAL Main Street. A place for people, not just a way to get through the city.  Watch the short video for inspiration!


If we begin to look at streets as places, rather than through-ways, we see them as the deeply human spaces that they are. Places of commerce, work, recreation, and play, streets are one of the most fundamental public spaces with which we interact on a day-to-day basis. Safe streets for walking must be considered as a basic human right, given that, for many, walking is one of the first skills acquired in childhood, and one of the last things let go of in old age.

Watch video and read more…

Automobile Supremacy

Does this sound familiar Asbury Park?

Dangerous behavior like failing to yield to pedestrians is almost never enforced. A Wisconsin study showing drivers only yielded to pedestrians 16 percent of the time, indicating that if cops wanted to, they could spend their time doing nothing else but writing failure-to-yield tickets.

A law professor lists a dozen ways that our legal system puts its thumb on the scale for drivers to the detriment of everyone else: transit users, cyclists and pedestrians.  We are dominated by car culture and until these laws are repealed we will suffer the consequences.

How Driving is Encouraged and Subsidized — By Law

By Angie Schmitt 

Driving is so hard-wired into American culture, life and institutions, that it’s hard to account for all the ways it is subsidized, preferenced or otherwise favored.

Read all 12 ways that drivers rule the road- walkers and bike riders are at the mercy of cars:

Kids Encouraged To Bike And Walk To School in AP

APCSC supports The Alliance For A Healthier Asbury Park.

“The health and safety of all the city’s residents is our highest priority. The Alliance for a Healthier Asbury Park’s efforts to improve health outcomes by promoting healthier corner stores, safe streets for walking and biking, access to health care and transportation and physical activity in our parks is so important and much appreciated,” said Mayor John B. Moor.


February 11, 2019 / Building a Healthier Asbury Park

Encouraging Children to Walk and Bike to School in Asbury Park

These efforts are paying off, to our community’s benefit. In 2017, Bradley Elementary School and Thurgood Marshall Elementary School earned New Jersey Safe Routes to School’s Gold recognition, and in 2018, the City of Asbury Park and Barack Obama Elementary School earned the Gold honor. Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School earned the First Step Safe Routes to School award. Additionally, the school travel plans prepared by the EZ Ride team have helped the City of Asbury Park apply for federal and state infrastructure and technical assistance grants to support this work.

Read more…

Save Asbury’s Waterfront Community Voices – Kerry Margaret Butch

Does Asbury Park really want to harken back to the “good old days” of the 1950’s? In advertising for the new development in the city some ads are showing video images of a 50’s car, and a curated mid-century vibe. But as Kerry Margaret Butch, the writer of this article says, the 50’s was a time when things were decidedly not great at all for minorities, people of color, gay, and women, or the poor.  We can do much better than that in 2019.


PLEASE ATTEND THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING FEB 13th. AP High School Auditorium.  Learn about development of the North Beach and share your thoughts in the public comment period.

“Let’s build a pool, but let’s make it public and affordable. Let’s make sure that our kids can enjoy it and that we aren’t creating an exclusive North Beach.” – Kerry Margaret Butch

Not Everybody into the Pool

“On Wednesday, February 13th at 6pm in the Asbury Park High School Auditorium, iStar will present it plans for a membership only Beach Club located on the east side of Ocean Avenue on 7th Avenue. The design is being promoted to be reminiscent of the 1950’s: a beach and bathing club complete with cabanas, restrooms, lockers and a large pool.

Remember the 50’s? Great for a lot of people, but not for all. Not women. Not people of color. Not gay people.

The vast majority of people that live in Asbury Park will not be able to afford membership in the Beach Club. The idea that the City will devote an entire city block of our waterfront to a club for 350 to 400 memberships doesn’t fit with the vision of an affordable, family friendly, diverse, “kind of edgy,” rock n’ roll progressive community.

Let’s build a pool, but let’s make it public and affordable. Let’s make sure that our kids can enjoy it and that we aren’t creating an exclusive North Beach. And let’s not build it east of Ocean Avenue.

Lately, there has been a renewed buzz about saving Bradley Cove – the area of North Beach by the fisherman’s lot in front of the senior building on Ocean Avenue. The beachfront has to be preserved from the slated development of 15 townhomes. Development rights will likely need to be “bought back” using public dollars. Taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill for an exclusive North Beach, but rather, investing in a public waterfront that is accessible and welcoming to all.

Please attend the meeting on February 13th and articulate the vision of an inclusive Asbury Park. The public is welcome to provide comments on the beach club starting at 7pm.”



Save Asbury’s Waterfront Community Voices – Joyce Grant

Development of the North Beach of Asbury Park is a serious environmental issue as well as a social justice issue. This is the last natural oceanfront resource area in New Jersey, and Joyce Grant, environmental activist, shares her thoughts on the damage that development would cause.


PLEASE ATTEND THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING FEB 13th. AP High School Auditorium.  Learn about development of the North Beach and share your thoughts in the public comment period.


“We cannot allow our waterfront developers to make anything, even in appearance, on our public land beaches, and boardwalk with its shops and restaurants not inclusive for all members of our and other communities who enjoy our public beaches and boardwalk.” – Joyce Grant

NOW IS THE TIME to preserve the north end oceanfront in Asbury Park with a living shoreline coastal park complete with habitats, nesting areas for our diminishing wildlife and native plant species. Build dune structures to help mitigate flooding, beach erosion. Protect our public people friendly sustainable wide benched boardwalk. Create a public pervious pavement parking lot in order to allow storm water to infiltrate into the soil recharging ground water, support ocean friendly gardens that naturally filter polluted runoff from entering into Deal Lake and our Ocean.

Now is the time to accept the reality that our capitalistic system has failed. It promotes class and extreme economic divisions between capitalists and the working class. Capitalism does not cultivate the needed more equal distribution of wealth in our country, our world.

Now is the time to fight discrimination, homelessness, displacement, and injustice towards peoples of different color, different cultures, religions, and nationalities.

Now is the time for Asbury Park’s Master Waterfront Developers and City to come together to stop the interference and pollution of our precious natural life-giving resources that we need to survive. The air we breathe. The water we drink. The land we live, play and grow food on. Protect our lakes and ocean coastlines with ocean friendly gardens which naturally filter polluted runoff from entering into our lakes and ocean. Provide and keep affordable housing throughout the city for all our residents who need it. Asbury Park’s residents deserve to live in a clean healthy affordable non discriminating environment.

Now is the time to institute an Environmental Impact Assessment(EIA) requirement for all new residential and infrastructural development and all future planning laws. The EIA is a process by which anticipated effects on the environment of a proposed development or project are measured. If the likely effects are unacceptable, design measures or other relevant mitigation measures can be taken to reduce or alleviate these effects.

Now is the time to call on our local coastal environment experts such as American Littoral SocietyClean Ocean Action, and the Jersey Shore Surfrider Foundation to help save, bring back living shorelines in Asbury Park through a public, meeting-type forum.

Now is the time to create a better and just world not only for all that inhabit our planet but the planet itself which begs to be nurtured, protected sustained, balanced, healed and loved for all it has given in order for us to survive. There is only one earth for all of us to share, to make fruitful again, with clear, clean waters and air for all who come after us.

Joyce Grant, Environmental and Social Justice Activist