Today after class in the Bloustein Building I walked around downtown New Brunswick to take pictures. It was an unseasonably warm day: holiday decorations are up, but people are wearing short sleeves. Like my old professor John Pucher used to say, “If this is global warming, I’ll take it!”
Weather issues aside, there were some positive and negative images I collected. I’ve included one of each. I’ve judged theses images in terms of how well they contributed to human comfort and livability.
Here’s and example of a happy New Brunswick-ite. He just crossed a two-way boulevard, and feels completely safe. Why? because there is a well-marked crosswalk, an attractive surface texture on the sidewalk, and most importantly, a much-needed pedestrian refuge. In case one cannot walk fast enough to get all the way across in one red light, he can stop and rest in the middle without risk of death. Then, when the light turns red again, he can finish crossing the street. There are pedestrians all over this area, and as DEVCO and other developers continue to build, they must keep the pedestrian in mind. Now THIS is really bad. This is Joyce Kilmer park, caged for all to see. To this day, I have not seen anyone enjoy the interior. People use the fence as a bike rack, but otherwise, this park is completely useless to the pedestrian. I find it interesting that the powers that be deemed it appropriate to fill the park with marvelous holiday decorations, and then chain-lock it shut. I’ve heard that this was fenced in during the riot days, because people feared riots would start in a space that accommodates grouping so well. But then why keep it a park at all? Why maintain it so well? I would be happy if they took this fence down and allowed residents to stand in the park, rather than longingly stare at the merry vignette, caged out like some riot-prone prole.