WEST ORANGE, NJ — Strange, colorful dots suddenly appeared on Main Street in West Orange on Oct. 6. They weren’t associated with any sickness in the usual manner, but things did reach a fever pitch when their purpose was revealed. The dots were connected with curb extensions that were temporarily installed in a pop-up event to create a parklet. Typically, it is a small area intended for public seating, dining, landscaping, bike parking or other creative uses. The concept of parklets is meant to add usable open space to downtown areas and promote increased foot traffic to benefit local businesses. The Downtown West Orange Alliance participated in preparing the site earlier and subsequently working the three-hour event.
The dots have since faded away, but this parklet was successful in drawing attention to Essex County’s development of a visionary transportation plan called Essex 2045. It considers the future comprehensive needs of all users, such as pedestrians, bicyclists, mass transit riders and motorists. It is designed to address such emerging issues as mobility, access, safety, economic opportunity and social equity in considering the needs in a pos–COVID-19 world.
Representatives of Essex 2045 were on hand in Downtown West Orange to raise awareness for the project. Those passing by filled out surveys and were rewarded for their participation by spinning the wheel to win token prizes. West Orange was one of five towns that was selected to participate in spotlighting this initiative. For more information on Essex 2045 or to participate in the survey online, visit bit.ly/Essex2045.
Photos Courtesy of Joseph Fagan