The City of Jersey City has revealed their plans to expand the Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza for patrons looking for outdoor restaurant seating, as well as pedestrians simply looking for some fresh air.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
With the expectation that once the state lifts restrictions on restaurants there will still be regulations that will limit indoor seating, the city has set a process to expand outdoor seating for restaurants.
Since Jersey City announced the application process for more outdoor restaurant seating, the city has already had nearly 40 restaurants apply.
“We’ve worked proactively to think about what our residents and businesses need from us on a city level to help them recover as quickly as possible,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.
“The Newark Ave expansion will allow for restaurants to maintain their capacity as indoor seating will be limited. With the weather warming, after nearly 3 months in quarantine, our residents are understandably eager to get outside and enjoy all Jersey City has to offer, and we are prepared to offer that in a way that maintains the health and safety protocols in place.”
The Newark Avenue Pedestrian Mall initially opened in 2015.
After proving to be an economic and cultural boon to the city, the plaza was expanded in 2018: creating a place for residents to congregate safely away from automobile traffic and practice social distancing, while also allowing Restaurant Row to increase outdoor seating and dining options.
“This will benefit the restaurants by giving them room to expand and add seating, and help make up for what they lost over the past few months,” added Historic Downtown Special Improvement District Executive Director Rachel Sieg.
“We’ve worked with some of the restaurants and they need to prepare. By giving them some guidance now they’ll have what they need in place to be fully ready to reopen as soon as the state lifts the restriction.”
Furthermore, the Newark Ave section is also getting a facelift to improve aesthetics and make additional room for foot traffic and seating with furniture, pavers, trench drains, and tree plantings.
The curb on either side of the permanent plaza will also be removed to allow for a seamless structure for better stroller and wheelchair accessibility.
Also, each business can simply fill out the form found on the city’s website to apply and must meet certain health and safety protocols as well as any additional guidelines the state supplies once the restrictions are lifted.
“We are getting creative to support our small businesses and create space for our residents to enjoy summer safely,” noted Ward E Councilman James Solomon. “The opening of these streets to pedestrians and cafes is a great policy to do just that.”