The North Brunswick/New Brunswick area could use some serious work when it comes to urban planning and development. There are many attempts to make the towns more efficient, but instead of improving what stands, the town builds something new, adding to the congestion. Something that could be majorly improved is the College Hall bus stop located on George St. in New Brunswick. The College Hall bus stop is one of the major bus depots on campus. The picture below does not even begin to describe the amount of pedestrian traffic there could be while waiting for a bus. The problem with the College Hall bus stop is that there is not a sufficient amount of room for both students waiting for a bus and pedestrians walking by. Although the sidewalk is wide, the bus shelters take up the majority of the room leaving little space for walkthrough traffic (See right). This creates a bottleneck effect, quickly halting traffic.
Another urban design that could have been more thought out is Voorhees Mall located on College Ave. across from the Grease Trucks. Voorhees Mall, although aesthetically pleasing, is very inconvenient for students to get from point A to point B in the most efficient way. Notice in the pictures on the right, the desire line (dirt path) created by the students; this shows the immediate route the students take. Voorhees Mall may have many paths leading to many different places, but the paths aren’t the most convenient. Notice below the student walking on the grass instead of the immediate path. This is mostly do to the location of the bus stop and where the students are dropped off. The entrance to Voorhees Mall doesn’t correspond to where the main traffic is coming from. If it were up to the students, the entrance would be located right of the entrance now, which could be seen in the picture at the bottom right. Notice the amount of dead grass do to the amount of students continually walking on it to get to their destinations. If Rutgers was smart, they would create two paths where the desire lines are now for easy access for their students. Another reason why Voorhees Mall is inefficient is because it
is was not designed for students to go from class to class. Notice the picture below and how the trees are parallel to one another. This is because the grass between them used to be a dirt road where carriages used to ride through back in Rutger’s early years. So this space originally wasn’t designed for what it is being used for today. An extreme way to solve this solution would be to remove all the little paths and grow grass, wait for the desire lines to appear, then pave over them.
Despite the last two planning flaws, New Brunswick does have very intriguing designs that add aesthetic beauty and connivence to a rather busy city. The picture below shows a courtyard located on George St. next to Old Man Rafferty’s and the Train Station. This courtyard is gated from this busy street and provides a nice place to sit down and relax without being disturbed by the surround pedestrians. Being in the courtyard gives the user a sense of place and gives them a chance to unwind from all the activity going on around them. Also, being next to Old Man Rafferty’s (a restaurant), costumers have the option to eat their food in the courtyard on nice days. During the winter, this courtyard is decorated to form a Winter Wonderland where kids could play and enjoy the cold weather or snow given the conditions.
Another glimpse of hope for urban development is located in North Brunswick near U.S. Route 130. U.S. Route 130 is becomes very congested during rush hour do to it going from three lanes to two. This causes a bottleneck effect which severely slows down traffic and could block intersections to the oncoming directions. This problem though is beginning to be solved. Since the summer, the township and state have been working on widening the road to reduce congestion and make traffic more efficient. The picture below shows progress on the project. They put up new traffic lights and are making a jughandle so it is easier for cars to turn around. This helps ease traffic flow on Route 130 and brings it to the surround side roads. To prevent traffic on the side roads as well, they are widen those roads making them three lanes for going left, right, or straight. There is no doubt this would greatly reduce traffic congestion once this is all finished. There still would be traffic during rush hour, but no where to the degree of how it once was.