I live in Martinsville, NJ, which is essentially a mailing address in Bridgewater. One thing I’ve always thought about my neighborhood is “Wow, this isn’t that cohesive a neighborhood.” Well, here’s my attempt to fix that. This post assumes an intimate knowledge of Martinsville, NJ, so if you don’t know this, you’ll probably be confused.
In terms of walkability, Martinsville is actually one of the best areas in Bridgewater. Sidewalks line the roads from the Chimney Rock park area all the way up to the “Martinsville School,” from the post office over to the protestant church. Extend the sidewalk a few more meters east and west (out to Newman’s Lane and Laurel Trail) so that more people can walk up to the town, and bam, things are a bit more community-ish. Also recommended are sidewalks down into the neighborhoods next to those roads, allowing those people to be a part of the Martinsville community.
Commercially, the area is decent. We have Chinese/Japanese food, Italian food, French (I think), four pizza restaurants, and assorted other places. There’s a liquor store, a deli, a pharmacy, and a post office. We’ve got two different dry-cleaners, a hair and nail salon, a library, and a gym. There are two gas stations, a flower shop, and even an ice cream/restaurant called Gabriel’s Fountain next to some open lot that can double as a town center. I guess all we need is a bar for nightlife, maybe a legitimate book store, and we’re set.
Here’s what really needs to be done: convert the “Martinsville School” office building into an actual elementary school for Martinsville specifically. Students would be able to walk here from any of the side-walked areas, which would at most be 50 kids. This would be a perfect fit for the rather small structure. Gym and Recess would require some development of the area around the building to pull off effectively, but I’m confident it could be done well if I really sat down to do it.
Another nice thing that could be done is to remove the fence between Chimney Rock park and the Loft Farm development. My reasoning: kids from Loft Farm should be able to run over to the park unimpeded to have fun. I don’t think that’s such a ridiculous demand to make, but apparently the people who run Chimney Rock park don’t agree. Kids need to be able to have fun in a safe, open area, which is what Chimney Rock park is and should be. A lot of it goes unused, though, because kids can’t just go there on their own. It’s an unfortunate situation in our time.
Finally, a small volunteer board should get together to plan events for the community: Easter egg hunts for kids, for example, or karaoke for adults at the would-be bar. It’ll add to the feeling of community I’m trying to build with these improvements.
This is all purely hypothetical. i don’t know how plausible these improvements are, but it doesn’t sound that unfeasible to me. Just fill the town up with families with children, and we’ll have a place perfect for someone to grow up in.