This is the way a city makes space for people, and enables businesses to expand and grow. Cities all over the world have had plazas and open streets for people to gather, dine, and shop since long before the pandemic. Asbury Park is among these most beautiful and progressive cities.
To allow for the expansion of dining and retail and create a Downtown Pedestrian Zone, the following areas will be open to pedestrians, and closed to through traffic and parking on Friday 4/30 at 1pm:
Cookman Avenue from Bangs Avenue to Emory Street – will be open to pedestrians, and closed to through traffic and parking, 7 days a week beginning Friday, April 30, 2021 at 1pm through Monday, November 29, 2021 at 7am.
Cookman Avenue from Emory Street to Main Street – will be open to pedestrians and closed to through traffic and parking on weekends beginning Friday, April 30, 2021 at 1pm through Monday, November 29, 2021 at 7am. Parking and through traffic will be prohibited each week from Friday at 1pm through Monday at 7pm.
There’s less traffic everywhere in the world right now. More people are staying close to home, and many are walking and riding bikes. At the same time drivers are speeding more. Maybe it’s an increased sense of driver entitlement with more open roads, or the knowledge that police are less likely to engage with speeders, and in some cities even refusing to respond to calls for non-injury crashes, all making streets even more dangerous.
As always, but especially now we need to be more aware of the most vulnerable moving about in our cities: people walking, biking, and using other forms of micro-transit. To maintain 6′ distance during the viral outbreak, people walking must move off too-narrow sidewalks into the street. Those who ride bikes must also maintain 6′ distance. But bike riders fearful of speeding and distracted drivers may feel safer on sidewalks, even if there are bike lanes. Paint doesn’t protect.
The problem isn’t walkers or people on bikes. It’s #toomanycars, and #slowthecars.
Let’s consider closing some Asbury Park streets to automotive traffic to allow more space for people. If we envision the successful street closures during the Sea. Hear. Now Festival, we can see that Ocean Avenue could be closed to cars, at least temporarily while the boardwalk is closed (and probably soon the beach). Cookman Avenue would make a great walking plaza, especially now while businesses are mostly closed, and maybe it could remain permanently a place for people. It’s becoming evident all over the world that cities are more vibrant where there are fewer cars. This would be a great time to try it out.
How to Open Streets Right During Social Distancing
“The first place we should start, the advocates we spoke to argued, is with closing off as many streets as possible that run through our parks to motor vehicles — not just a handful of them, as may cities are doing now. And it’d be even better to close off roads adjacent to parks, too: Mike Lydon and Tony Garcia, tactical urbanism superstars and co-principals of Street Plans, offered particular applause to Minneapolis’ decision to allow limited road closures near its river front.
Next stop: the cul-de-sacs. Streets that are already pretty quiet have absolutely no reason to allow non-resident traffic right now, when the risk of killing new crowds of of walker vastly outweighs the risk of holding up a traffic pattern that has largely come to a standstill. And that goes for through-streets that don’t connect major essential services, too.
Third stop: those small, walkable shopping districts where all the businesses are closed anyway. Jason Roberts of Better Block thinks it’s particularly important to give residents safe, contactless access to window shopping, street vendors, and even shuttered restaurants, which can be converted into open-air markets through Better Block’s free downloadable shelf plans.”
Mike Manzella, Asbury Park’s Transportation Manager and Deputy City Manager has 10 great tips for cities to move toward less car dependency. Transit Oriented Development is “typically mixed-use and dense, providing residents amenities in close proximity. The goal is to create livable and sustainable places in which people can live, work, and play all in the same community, without requiring the use of a car.” Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition thanks Mike for the shout out in tip number 8. We’re so fortunate to have a solid working relationship with our Transportation Manager, and great communication with our city leaders! Asbury Park is getting it done!
8. Work with advocates.
“The City works closely with local advocates on transportation issues, including the Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition. The Coalition has been instrumental in educating the public about alternate modes of transportation and bike-ped safety. The Coalition participated as a stakeholder committee member in the preparation of a Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan adopted by the City in April 2019. Among the plan’s recommendations is a proposed bicycle network that Mike says is crucial to getting more people to ride bikes and do so safely. Mike keeps in frequent contact with the group and attends the Coalition’s monthly meetings and bike rides.”
TOD Mobility: Asbury Park’s Greatest Hits
The City of Asbury Park, and the City’s Director of Transportation Michael Manzella (second from left, first row), are working to provide residents and visitors with convenient and sustainable ways of getting around town. Photo Credit: Michael Manzella
Monthly Slow Roll Bike Ride, Springwood Park, Feb. 16, 2020
Strolling in Asbury Park near the Carousel and Casino, summer 2019
1. Bike-ped investments spur development of vibrant, unique, and unforgettable places.
Asbury Park is making major investments in transportation to catalyze development. Specifically, the City is investing in multi-modal transportation to catalyze compact, mixed-use, walkable, transit-friendly development.
Asbury Park is working on making city streets and sidewalks great public places, as well as focusing on sustainable mobility: walking, riding bicycles, scooters, and promoting other alternative mobility options, plus public transit.
Gil Penalosa, is founder of 8-80 Cities, grounded on the concept that we can create “vibrant cities with healthy communities where all people can live happier, regardless of age, gender, ability, or socio-economic or ethnic status.”
“The 8 to 80 litmus test involves imagining a public space, but especially a busy city street or intersection, and asking whether it is suitable for young and old alike.”
(Gil’s brother Enrique Penalosa, also a well-known urbanist, was re-elected mayor of Bogota Colombia in 2015 for the 2016–2019 term. While embroiled in some recent academic controversy, he has also been influential in making major improvements for people and places in that city during his 2 separate terms as mayor up to the present, and in other cities elsewhere in the world between terms.)
The 8 to 80 Problem: Designing Cities for Young and Old
How can cities create neighborhoods that work well for all generations?
“…in many aging societies, where the proportion of seniors will grow as much as four-fold over the next two decades, public space improvements alone won’t make large urban areas, especially car-dependent suburbs, more suitable to the needs of older residents. Indeed, one of the most difficult questions facing urban areas is how they will go about making themselves more age-friendly.”
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
TANVI MISRA MAR 12, 2019
Investing in cultural cohesion and preservation can help rebuild cities devastated by war or natural disasters, says a new World Bank report.
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.