Saturday, June 25, 2011

PHOENIX PLUS

Sorry Cory, but Plainfield's salvation does not depend on Transit Village nodes based on increased residential and local commercial buildings within a quarter mile walking distance to those stations. I can not deny that those plans from the recent study are similar to what has worked in other communities, but for Plainfield the concept is 10 years too late.

One failure lies in the fact that they will not provide a significant increase in rateables to justify their potential increase demands on public services; police,fire, sanitation and perhaps schools. Nor will they offer an opportunity for employment for the blue collar  city residents, a pressing need. However these projects should not be abandoned and if and when an exceptional opportunity arises could be implemented.

Do I have any  better suggestions? Yes and No; Yes there are two; but one is only in concept. No in that which  I propose is an idea that needs refining  and a willingness to take a chance on something that may not have been tried elsewhere. There has to be a redevelopment for light industry and other commercial use along the railroad corridor.

A concept as Colleen Gibney  pointed out yesterday in a comment to this blog  " this type of project has to be managed with active public-private partnerships and with significant expertise and professional management. This model would also require a meaningful investment."

The Vision Study seemed to treat the 4th Ward portion of the corridor as an afterthought. It is my opinion that the most important recommendation of the Vision Study is the transformation of the old Wood plant site into a large recreation facility campus. Additionally the plans for transformation of the factory site at Clinton Ave plus a train stop could have a positive effect in rehabilitation of the Ward. I agree with Rucker that a sub-policed station in that area is a must.

As Ms Gibney wrote this whole idea is too big for our Administration with or without Council participation to handle. Since there must be public funding plus either major Grant finds or private investments. A commission, task force or authority composed of residents with significant business or specialty expertise should be formed to look into and initiate what ever program can make this a practical solution. Of course the City Government  will be part of the process and have the say on any impact upon the city's finances.

I would suggest that the initial group which has to be free of any political centralization be not more the  10 to 12 withe the ability to expand membership as it sees need. All of its members must be civic minded and that they consider the city as a whole not a collection of  four wards. Accepting that premise if the membership comes from only the 2nd and 3rd Wards the other two should not consider that they are being shut out.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Doc

    I've always thought the TOD idea was misguided.

    If people want a walking/city lifestyle (typically the young, not married), they live in or close to NYC. Jersey City, Hoboken are relatively affordable. I've lived in NYC for 10 years in my lifetime. I didn't need a car and enjoyed buses and the subway.

    I came to Plainfield from NYC. Why? I wanted a house and a yard, the suburban lifestyle, but with relatively easy access to NYC.

    I don't see any young couple, people with kids, or elderly wanting to live in housing right on the RR tracks and pay big bucks for a condo -- not when there are hundreds of houses for sale in town.

    If someone moves out of NYC to NJ, they need a car -- even if there are stores within walking distance, people need to go to the doctor, dentist, dog groomer, travel to parks, to move theater. A professional couple normally has two. No developer I know wants to give up living space for car space -- yet that is suburban living.

    Transit to NYC is a huge selling feature for Plainfield. The beautiful homes, tree-lined streets are huge selling features.

    If the city were cleaned up, crime reduced, bring jobs/industry into the city, bringing medical services back to Muhlenberg and industry to the empty factories -- Plainfield would prosper and grow.

    I saw the potential when I moved here, I still see it.

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  2. In the late 80s I worked downtown and the streets were alive with hundreds of people, many in suit and tie carrying attaches , at bus stations and on their way to the train station in the morning on their way to work and the late afternoon/eveing on their way home.

    Now the streets are empty except for large groups of Hispanic men, waiting on street corners for work to find them.

    I have been on the trains and buses lately and you can actually get a seat during rush hour . . . not so easy back in the day!

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