Parks In Asbury Park

An article appeared in my inbox this morning, then an email appeared on the same subject: parks – a tool to evaluate accessibility to parks, and parks for teenage girls.

Asbury Park has large and lovely real estate devoted to parks, which has existed since the inception of the city. These tree-filled, “passive” parks are mostly located in only certain neighborhoods, and parks are completely lacking in others.  According to The Trust For Public Land, Asbury Park ranks 76%, meaning that 76% percent of people can walk to a park within 10 minutes. That’s not an impressive score in a tiny 1.4 mile sq. city. Boston ranks 100%. Washington 98%, Alexandria, VA is 97%, and NYC is 99%.

Over 20% of  people are unable to walk to a park within 10 minutes in Asbury Park, and existing parks are devoid of amenities for people. A park should be a destination, not just a place to pass through.

A “passive park” like the design in the master plan for Sunset Park would be a large, lovely ornament in the city. The design is intended for  strolling, or dog walking, just as it was designed in the original plan for the city in the 1870s.  It should not be designed that way in 2021.  We believe that an Asbury Park is committed to equity and inclusiveness should actively invite everyone to every park in the city.  

The underutilized Sunset Park

We need all of our existing green spaces, large and small to offer active engagement for kids, families, and elderly.  And we need more parks in every neighborhood in the city.
According to this data over 20% of people can’t walk to a park in less than 10 min in our tiny city – and we need to do something about it.
Let’s start with kids, teen girls in particular:

Teen Girls Need Better Public Spaces to Hang Out

Basketball courts, skate parks and playgrounds overlook an important demographic: teenage girls. A burgeoning design movement is trying to fix that.


Susannah Walker, co-founder of the newly created British charity Make Space for Girls, saw in Swing Time something that would have delighted her 17-year-old self.  “At the end of the summer holidays my friend and I ran out of money,” Walker wrote in a March post. “We had nothing to do and there was nowhere to go. So we’d go and hang out on the swings in the early evening and chat as the light slowly faded into dusk. It was better than sitting around at home.”

She highlights Swing Time to illustrate two points: One, girls love swings. And two, there aren’t enough swings made for teenage girls. “They are almost always placed with the equipment for younger children, so that if teenagers use them they are seen as invaders.”

YOUR THOUGHTS: Asbury Park Waterfront Development Survey

 iStar, the Asbury Park waterfront developer plans to build a membership-only, walled,  waterfront beach club on the 6th-7th Avenue lots of the waterfront/boardwalk. The city asks for your thoughts on the project.

A walled beach club, street side of the boardwalk at North Beach. (Artist’s rendering from iStar; TRC meeting, 12/14/18 )

iStar North End Boardwalk/Waterfront  Project – City Asks For Public Comments

Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition, supporting Save Asbury’s Waterfront (SAW) suggests these 5 points to consider in responding to the survey:

1)   Oceanfront Preservation:  We want to establish an oceanfront park from 6th Avenue north to the Loch Arbor border.  We want no new development east of Ocean Avenue (with the exception of standard park amenities like bathrooms).

2)   Boardwalk:  We want the boardwalk restored, with a forward-looking vision.  We want the boardwalk restored at least to its old height/width, possibly expanded and/or elevated, up to Deal Lake Drive and the meandering boardwalk to go from Deal Lake Drive to Loch Arbor border. We would like to see the boardwalk moved westward beginning at the sewer plant.  We want a protection system comprised of dunes and bulkhead.

3)   Fisherman’s Lot:  We want a solution that: is environmentally sound (respects wildlife habitat, forward-looking stormwater management plan); that is protective (incorporates a dune system); and is accessible by the public.

4)   Social Inclusion and Public Access:  We want increased, year-round public transportation options that bridge the east side and west side, such as the jitney service and increased, safer bike lanes/paths

5)   Transparency:  We want the reestablishment of the Waterfront Redevelopment Advisory Board.  We seek a well-rounded and independent board of overseers comprised respected professionals and community leaders who will trust and challenge one another, and engage directly with the waterfront developers and City management/governance on critical issues facing Asbury’s Waterfront.

Please note public comment period ends 12/23/18.

If you know anyone who is interested in providing public comment on the North End Boardwalk Project but does not have access to a computer or mobile device, please print out this form which can be dropped off at the City Manager’s Office on the 2nd floor of City Hall.

Take the /survey