At Rutgers University in New Brunswick, College Avenue is the place that almost everyone wants to be. During the day, the campus is filled with students navigating their way through classes which transforms to a bustling party scene at night. Yet the wards around the campus do not serve just college students but families as well. No matter the type of resident, duration and purpose of their stay New Brunswick should provide its citizens with a safe and relatively likable place to live.
I live behind the Rutgers Student Center on College Avenue. Across the street from me is an elementary school and a fire department is located at the end of the block. The street consists of single-family residents and duplexes rented by students. Sadly, the street is not as warm, friendly or safe as it should be. The homes are right up on the street almost no buffer from the traffic. Although, cars are able to park on portions of both sides of the street which creates a small barrier for pedestrians the street is still highly unsafe. The width of the street is wide enough that vehicles can speed by. Even though stop signs do exist it is not unusual to witness a few zoom through them while just stepping outside to get the mail. Another characteristic of Bartlett street is the long driveways that lead to parking behind houses. Although it is nice to see front doors and porches rather than garage doors, driveways are often blocked. The small dip of the driveways look very similar to the regular sidewalk, there is a minimal slope between the two, which often lead street parkers to confuse where the two begin or end.
A few streets over, there is a block quite similar to mine in demographics but is much more appealing. The houses remain close to the street but have a much greener and larger space to buffer the sidewalk. The sidewalks and streets are shaded by huge trees and at night the street feels much safer as a pedestrian. The homes also have a bit of a front yard to create a more natural look. The curbs are also raised higher so it is easier to determine the differences between a driveway and regular sideway. The grass and tree barriers also help to make this definition.
In between the street I live on and the one depicted above there is a bus stop at Rutgers Student Center. One that causes traffic and poses as a danger to pedestrians. The streets are wide enough that buses can wait on the side while other cars may get by. During busy hours this does not work as smoothly. This is especially true because there is a driveway right in front of the bus stop that adds to the congestion. Pedestrians are also in danger because to cross the street, students often block buses to check for oncoming traffic. This could be safer if there was an outlet for the buses to stop. This way pedestrians could remain on the sideway to check for cars instead of directly on the street. Public transportation is amazing but the Rutgers buses and stops seem to cause quite a bit of congestion and danger.
Luckily after getting off a bus at the Rutgers Student Center, I often head the opposite direction of the street and through a street that has been blocked that runs through the Rutgers Student Center. As a pedestrian I enjoy the benefits of the street being blocked. The building provides shelter for students to congregate outside and during the warmer months planters make the asphalt path more pleasant to look at. The loss of this street also probably helped lower congestion of College Avenue, the street the bus stop is on. The only think I dislike about the path is that a portion of the street is still used. It dead ends at a few planters and because the width of the street is so narrow it is often hard for cars to turn around.
New Brunswick is a transportation hub. It has a major train station and numerous bus stops both public and private. Yet the city has a ways to go when it comes to improving its neighborhoods.