Group Considers Ideas for Future of Area Around 22nd Street Light Rail Station

Mayor Mark A. Smith announced that a meeting took place on January 9 to consider planning concepts for the area around the 22nd Street Light Rail Station in Bayonne. The meeting brought together public officials, local business people, developers, planners, and academics. Known as a visioning meeting, the session began a discussion about possible development goals, opportunities, and strategies for the future of the area bounded by 30th Street in the north, 17th Street in the south, Avenue C to the west, and Avenue F to the east.
The discussion was led by Dr. Colette Santasieri and Dr. Arnold Bloch. Sanatasieri is the Director of Strategic Initiatives in the Office of Research and Development at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). Bloch is a Senior Project Manager with the firm of Fitzgerald and Halliday. Santasieri and Bloch participated as a result of a grant the City received from the American Planning Association. Bayonne was one of the New Jersey municipalities chosen to receive planning assistance with the help of volunteer professionals from within the state.
Santasieri said that the meeting offered participants the opportunity to exchange different perspectives on the assets and challenges facing the area. A consensus emerged that the area is very convenient and walkable. Participants expressed an interest in having a more visible and attractive Light Rail Station that would provide a more prominent, defining center for the neighborhood. They also called for a gradual redevelopment of Broadway, concentrating on improving one two-block area at a time. The group discussed the possible use of banners, signs, and storefront designs to provide a “branding” or identity for the area. They suggested improving the variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment in the area.
Traditionally, 22nd Street was identified with Bayonne’s oil industry. The group expressed the need to move beyond the industrial past by developing a more modern look for the neighborhood. As Santasieri explained, “Bayonne’s assets have to be played up.”
Santasieri is preparing a vision plan for the future of the area. That document will be presented to City officials in the coming weeks.
Mayor Smith said, “I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this meeting. The event produced useful and imaginative ideas that will help continue the progress Bayonne has made in recent years. We can look forward to an exciting future in the area around the 22nd Street Light Rail Station and in our entire community.”
In a related matter, on January 15, the City Council approved an Administration proposal regarding Broadway redevelopment. That measure authorized the Planning Board to conduct a study to determine whether the area bounded by 497-519 Broadway, West 23rd Street, Del Monte Drive, and West 24th Street is an area in need of redevelopment.