Now that spring is finally here, I hope you will take the opportunity to spend some time enjoying our beautiful downtown. We are very fortunate to have a walkable and vibrant town center, and I want to share with you my perspective on the hard work and careful planning that goes into making downtown Summit as welcoming, attractive, and safe as possible. Our Common Council, city staff, police force, parking authority, and community leaders have worked diligently, thinking creatively and proactively, to ensure this important asset lives up to all of its potential.
When the Deforest Avenue paving project is complete by the end of May, we will have milled and repaved every downtown street in the past year. During the planning phase of this project considerable care went into looking ahead to meet our city’s current and future needs. While the streets were open for paving, a conduit for fiber optic cable was laid to allow us to offer another important future amenity in our downtown: high speed internet access. This example of smart planning will be a crucial selling point in attracting and retaining the financial and consulting firms that have increasingly found our location so compelling.
Continued beautification ensures that Summit retains its charm.
- Trees have been added, sidewalks improved, and new lampposts have been added on Deforest Avenue, making this gateway area safer for pedestrians and more welcoming to visitors.
- Gathering spots for pedestrians will be enhanced, with decorative seating walls and new tables and chairs at Lyric Park on Beechwood Road at Bank Street.
- Ornamental café string lights have been installed at the Promenade, adding appeal at night.
- The parklet, once again located on Springfield Avenue, is jointly maintained by the city, Batavia Café and Tito’s Burritos.
Your safety is always a priority and we all need to know and observe the rules of safe driving, walking and cycling.
- Our re-paving project incorporates bumped-out intersections to aid in traffic calming.
- Pedestrian crosswalks will have a red polymer surface to make them more visible, and new pedestrian beacons have been added at three city crosswalks to facilitate safer crossings.
- The new police Traffic Unit are working to increase awareness and decrease accidents—in this era of mobile devices, distractions on the part of both drivers and pedestrians are a real concern.
Every bit of work is done with an ever-present eye on the city budget.
- The light fixtures downtown have all been converted to LED, providing energy efficiency and cost savings.
- 14 new parking spots, generating revenue as well as convenience, were added throughout the downtown as we re-paved and painted parking spots.
- Our Uber pilot program was extended for another six months and expanded to another include another 50 participants.
- Finally, we are installing parking kiosks, allowing for a cheaper, better unified and readily understandable parking payment system. This will reduce demands on parking enforcement officers, and eliminate costly maintenance and replacement of parking meters.
Next time you are downtown, please stop and take a look around you, and perhaps take a moment to appreciate the hard work, careful thought and creativity that goes into keeping our streetscape so attractive and safe. Of course, none of this is of value if it is not used and enjoyed - a vibrant street life needs to go with our attractive surroundings. So please join me in patronizing our local businesses and gathering spots. Come soon, and visit often. Our downtown is a prime reason that Summit continues to be a prized location to live and work.
See you around town,
P.S. In case you missed my update, NJ Transit currently expects to complete the Morris Avenue Bridge by February 2018.