Jersey City officials broke ground on the expansion of Fairmount Triangle Park in Ward F launching a $200,000 park renovation.
The renovation aims to improve safe access while increasing outdoor recreational space.
The grant-funded project will transform two street segments that bisect existing green spaces – at the intersection of Fairmount and Summit avenues – to create an uninterrupted park.
“Fairmount Triangle currently has streets cutting through the park, which renders the green space unusable for many local children and families,” said Mayor Steven Fulop. “We used the community’s input to realize the full potential of the park space by reconfiguring two small portions of roadway and incorporating them into the park while maintaining all the existing on-street parking. These upgrades will significantly improve safe access for pedestrians, which will attract more people to actually use the park for recreation and encourage a healthier, active lifestyle.”
The renovations include upgrading the playground area and installing a permanent infrastructure with new trees, plants, seating, restriping pedestrian crosswalks, fencing, and flag pole, among other improvements.
The street space will be fully incorporated into the park, unifying the park space. A sidewalk around the park’s perimeter will be created.
Pedestrian traffic signals will be reconfigured to accommodate the new park and help pedestrians safely cross at nearby intersections.
The city said that by eliminating the cut-through streets, traffic safety will improve by reducing the number of places where pedestrians would interact with vehicular traffic.
“If you live near the Fairmont Triangle as I do, a walk to the nearest park with kids in tow can take 20-30 minutes! Having a safe outdoor space for our kids and community will be transformational,” said Summit Avenue resident Joey Sforza. ”Even since its closure, the neighborhood families use the Fairmount Triangle every day. My kids and I have gotten to know many of our neighbors and their kids because of it.”
“As this administration continues to invest in the Bergen-Lafayette section of Jersey City, we’re seeing critical development that is part of our overall efforts to revive and reaffirm the neighborhood as a destination for everyone from families to businesses,” said Ward F Councilman Jermaine Robinson, noting that over 200 residential units will soon be constructed across the street from the park.
Serving a dual purpose
The reimagined Fairmount Park combines Vision Zero, placemaking, and sustainability efforts, according to the city.
Two strategies identified in the City’s Vision Zero Action Plan include exploring new pedestrian plazas and piloting placemaking initiatives along Jersey City’s High Injury Network, which has the highest incidence of fatal and serious injury crashes. Summit Avenue is part of this network.
Jersey City’s Division of Transportation initiated the pavement-to-park pilot project in 2019 in association with Jersey City’s Vision Zero initiative. It capitalizes on local assets to improve transportation and traffic safety.
Following the 2019 pilot program, the city conducted a traffic assessment and held community meetings over the past year and a half to incorporate residents’ input into the new vision for a safer, more functional Fairmount Park.
“This is a unique opportunity to integrate our Vision Zero efforts into several other citywide initiatives and establish a wonderful new park while maintaining traffic circulation and existing parking spaces,” said Jersey City’s Director of Transportation Planning Barkha Patel. “The advancement of this pavement-to-park project will reinvigorate Fairmount Triangle and provide additional space to gather, play, relax, and enjoy the neighborhood. We have secured a grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation to fund transit and pedestrian safety improvements on Fairmount Avenue, which will make it easier for the community to access the park without the use of a car.
A model for municipalities
The $200,000 Fairmount Park improvement project is equally funded through Made to Move and the NJ Department of Transportation.
Jersey City is one of five municipalities nationwide awarded the grant to promote healthy living and active transportation by the Made to Move program, funded by Blue Zones and the Degree Foundation.
Blue zones will publish the entire park improvement project process to be used as case studies for other municipalities.
Monthly meetings will be held being during the park’s construction process.
A virtual meeting was scheduled for May 18 at 8 p.m.
To join the virtual meeting go to https://tinyurl.com/46uwx73j.
Through the first allocation of Jersey City’s Open Space Trust Fund, over 20 additional park improvement projects are underway or already completed.
“For Jersey City residents, parks and open spaces are a vital part of the community. This has been an exciting time for Jersey City. Over the past two months, there have been several new parks and open space improvement projects that have been implemented or nearing completion throughout the City,” said Paula Mahayosnand, president of the Jersey City Parks Coalition. “The Parks Coalition is pleased to see the city’s continued commitment to invest and develop underutilized spaces into transformative green spaces. This park represents another step toward equitable access to green spaces in this neighborhood.”