The condition and maintenance of local railroad underpasses was brought to the attention of City Council last week.
Expect increased enforcement of the parking restrictions beneath the train trestle on West Milton Avenue.
Two months after rejecting bids for the amphitheater parking lot project, the Redevelopment Agency awarded a $1.1-million contract to Gingerelli Bros at its meeting earlier this month. Berto Construction submitted a bid of $1.6 million. Bids were received July 29.
A pre-construction meeting is scheduled for next week, City Engineer James Housten said, after which construction should begin, including work on drainage, stream bank stabilization, curbing and lighting foundations. Work is expected to be completed in conjunction with renovations of the Hamilton Stage, which is expecting to be finished in the spring. Toms River-based Gingerelli Bros. also is the firm that was awarded the $5.825-million contract for the Hamilton Stage.
The Redevelopment Agency early this year decided to delay building the amphitheater and instead build about 115 parking spaces in the interim.
The center stairs of the inbound platform of Rahway Train Station finally opened today, approximately 18 months after they were closed for repairs. 18 months. NJ Transit also issued an advisory this week that as part of repairs to the elevator on the outbound platform (which are expected to last until early next month), travelers will not be able to use the sidewalk to the corner of Milton Avenue and Broad Street from Monday to Thursday of next week due to the installation of a pump and tank next to the pedestrian tunnel.
The City Council on Monday tabled an ordinance (0-26-11) that would amend a redevelopment plan to include a 108-unit, five-story rental complex proposed near the library. Concerns were raised about the size of apartments and the density of units as proposed.
The governing body will take up the ordinance to amend the Lower Main Street Urban Renewal Plan at its meeting on Oct. 11 but some council members had concerns about the density and overall plans for the surrounding area.
|The day after Hurricane Irene. (By D. Palmer)|
Representatives of Capodagli Property Company appeared before the council during its pre-meeting conference last week to present their plan, which includes a request for a Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) for the project.
Fifth Ward Councilwoman Jennifer Wenson-Maier said Monday night that she thought the units seem too small and the density of the project too high for the three-quarter-acre site. The 56 two-bedroom units would be 816 square feet as currently proposed, with 14 one-bedroom units of 672 square feet, and another 42 one-bedrooms of 720 square feet since they feature an office area.
There’s no master plan for that parcel or the three acres around it, Wenson-Maier said, adding that she’d like to aim for a “better product” and a more complete plan for the area, even if it means delaying the project. In addition to density, Councilman At-large James Baker raised concerns about potential future flooding, and also preferred to include some retail and commercial components, as was the case with the Town Center project. (The photo of the site above was taken the day after Hurricane Irene).
The Water’s Edge application was to go before the Planning Board on Sept. 27 but now will be delayed until the ordinance is approved by City Council.
It would appear that the main/center stairs on the inbound platform are almost completely rebuilt — after being closed for more than 18 months. The Rahway Chamber of Commerce had an attorney send a letter to NJ Transit this week about the deplorable conditions and glacial pace of repairs to the inbound main stairs and the outbound elevator.
NJ Transit this week released the results of a comprehensive customer survey, earning an average overall satisfaction score of 5.2 out of a possible 10, but just a 4.5 from rail riders specifically, which make up almost a third of customers. Bus riders, 61 percent of customers, rated it 5.5 and light rail customers, who make up 8 percent, gave it a 6.5.
Scores in several categories were 5.0 or lower and identified as needing improvement:
* 4.3, handling of service disruptions
* 4.5, fares
* 4.7, on-time performance
* 5.0, weekday evening schedule
Other low scores were given for handling of service disruptions, 4.3, PA/general announcements, 4.7, and weekend/holiday schedules, 4.7.
The highest scores were:
* 6.8, payment options
* 6.6, safety
* 6.6, My NJ Transit website
* 6.2, security
* 6.2, My Transit
By the way, a category called “Boarding station/shelter condition” received a score of 5.3, but closer to home, it probably would be much lower, given the long-term closure of the inbound stairs at Rahway and the elevator to the outbound/westbound platform being closed through August.
NJ Transit has average weekday ridership of 425,000, according to the survey, and two out of three customers surveyed expressed “willingness to recommend to a friend.”
The agency this week also passed a $1.9-billion budget for the next fiscal year, holding fares steady after last year’s massive hikes in the first of what’s expected to be three years of no increases.
What do y’all think? What rating would you have given NJ Transit?
Almost $42,000 in property taxes have been canceled for 2011 in connection with redevelopment projects downtown and the Arts District.
The City Council tonight awarded a $30,000 contract for the construction of an interim parking lot on Main Street, which should be completed within several weeks.
Matawan-based Esposito Construction was awarded the contract in the amount of $29,652.95. Funds for the interim lot were included within a $200,000 bond ordinance also approved tonight that also will fund demolition of 65 E. Cherry St. and installation of a fence around The Savoy site at Main and Monroe streets. Mounds of asphalt millings have been staged at the site for the resurfacing, which must be completed in time for next month’s Hot Rods & Harleys event, according to Redevelopment Director and City Administrator Peter Pelissier.
The interim lot is expected to add about 100 spaces to the existing 65, which the Parking Authority will lease from Dornoch Holdings — the developer which originally proposed to build The Westbury — for $1 annually in exchange for property taxes on the site being waived. The idea for an interim lot was proposed in fall 2009 when it became clear the mixed-used development wasn’t coming online anytime soon. [Link in italics added 4/16]
An advisory issued last week by NJ Transit indicated that construction of the center stairs at the train station — which have been closed for a year — is expected to begin in “mid-April.”