Big changes are coming to New Brunswick, and not just because Rutgers is a Big 10 university.
Rutgers has recently released their new master plan to the public, and it features some long-needed changes to the university and New Brunswick at large. After over a year and two million dollars spent on planning fees, the university has developed a comprehensive plan to improve the campus over the next 15-20 years, the most significant of which is a complete overhaul of the north end of the College Avenue Campus. The new plan aims to transform the outdated section of College Avenue into a large grassy quad surrounded by brand new buildings. Local eyesores such as Brower Commons, the College Avenue Student Center, and the College Avenue parking deck are some of the buildings that would be torn down as a part of this plan. Some other significant changes to New Brunswick listed in the plan are dedicated bus lanes on congested roads like George Street and a system of boardwalks for people to walk between College Avenue and Livingston.
The plan received mixed reviews among students. On the Rutgers Class of 2017 Facebook page, many students took the time to comment their thoughts about it. Although the new additions were generally praised, there were some concerns. Perhaps the most discussed of these was the boardwalk bridge over the Raritan. Many students argued that since the proposed quad on the College Avenue side of the bridge had heavily used facilities such as the dining hall, people would end up throwing their trash off of the bridge and into the river. A possible solution could be to make the bridge for bikes only, seeing as walking from College Avenue to Livingston is a substantial distance by foot. Another concern was funding. It is currently unclear exactly how Rutgers will fund their master plan, but many students speculated that it would come from ever-increasing tuition hikes. Rutgers University has currently not responded to students’ concerns about the plan.
Master plans are a crucial part of a city’s development. John M. Levy, the author of Contemporary Urban Planning agrees. “The goals of a municipality’s comprehensive planning process might include issues of health, public safety, circulation, provision of services and facilities, fiscal health, economic development, environmental protection, and, perhaps, some redistributive goals,” (Levy 133). The master plan of a region essentially defines its future. Rutgers’ master plan is no exception to this fact.
Levy, John M. Contemporary Urban Planning. 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2003. Print.