The city of New Brunswick offers an array of accomplishments and failures when it comes to Urban Design. Quite often the failures aren’t due to incompetence, but rather the lack of resources and power to do what needs to be done. Regardless of the cause, shortcomings in the community should be reversed when possible. Following are four examples of urban design, two poor, and two good.
I observe that it is often the case that campuses have far too many bus stops. Is it really necessary to catch a bus when your destination is less than five minutes away? Thankfully, college ave has only three (four if you count the Zimmerli Art Museum stop). However, unlike the other campuses, College Ave experiences a great deal more traffic, and becomes a standstill at rush hour. Much of this congestion is due to the Scott Hall bus stop. It is often the case that the flow of traffic is obstructed by buses stopping to let students off. The problem is further exacerbated when students j-walk across the street. Design of this bus stop would be better if the buses had more room on the side of the road to stop, so that traffic could continue flowing to the left, and if a cross walk system was implemented so that students would be forced to walk when the College Ave traffic had stopped for the red light ahead.
Buccleuch Park is one of New Brunswick’s better features. It covers a large area perfect for jogging, biking, etc. Complete with tennis courts, baseball fields, and soccer fields. The only downside to the park is that it is located on the outskirts of New Brunswick and isn’t as accessible as it should be. It can also serve as a shortcut to bypass Huntington Street during rush hour which can back up for over a block due to the light at its intersection with Easton.
St. Peter’s Hospital regularly waters their lawns along Easton Ave from Spring until Fall. Most likely excessive and a waste of resources, but more importantly, a nuisance to the public that has to walk by it every night. The sprinkler system sprays water over the sidewalk and into the eastbound lane of Easton Ave, thus forcing pedestrians to cross the street to avoid being drenched. This is a small, but important failure of Urban Design that could be easily fixed, and should have never happened. In addition, it could pose a threat to public safety. Had someone been caught in the middle of the line of sprinklers just as it started, they might have a gut reaction to run out into the street and risk being hit by oncoming traffic.
Construction of route 18 cut off New Brunswick’s access to the Raritan River, an unfortunate sacrifice for the city. However, Deiner Park, located on top of route 18 and overlooking the Raritan, was a good attempt to try and take advantage of College Ave’s proximity to the river. It is an example of making the best of a difficult situation in regards to Urban Design. The park offers a large gazebo with tables, ideal for public gatherings, picnics, etc. Tennis and Basketball courts offer additional activities for those that frequent the park.