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Brick City

Mulberry Commons (formerly Triangle Park) update

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I went to an event hosted by the Devils last night at the Rock which was a presentation and public comment session regarding the park that will replace the parking lots in front of the arena. The speakers included representatives from several city entities managing the project, the design team and someone from the team's corporate office.

There was a bunch of information but to keep it short, after a decade of delays this thing is finally happening. First, the park is now called Mulberry Commons and construction is divided into phases. Phase I is from Mulberry Street to the bridge over McCarter/Route 21, Phase IIA is renovating Peter Francisco Park across from Penn Station in the Ironbound, and Phase IIB is the bridge and platform over the railroad tracks connecting the two. Phase I is happening now; the rest later.

The total project cost is estimated at $35m; the city recently appropriated $10m to get it going. The city is apparently selling Championship Plaza to the Devils for $5m which seems to be their contribution. The master redevelopers of the surrounding parcels, Edison Parking and J&L, are also kicking in along with the usual suspects (Prudential and Panasonic were mentioned by name). Edison is moving forward with converting the old warehouse into a mixed use commercial building. Residential developments are expected on the other 3 parcels flanking the park. As I've previously mentioned, and was confirmed at the event, the redevelopment agreements are still in force and the redevelopers essentially forfeit their surrounding properties (pretty much are compelled to sell) if they do not develop them once the park is complete.

TL: DR version

Overview

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Phase I

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Phase I with potential programming options

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"Arena Yard" immediately across Mulberry Street from arena

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View from the terraces leading up to the McCarter highway bridge

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The rail yard theme by the arena is a nod to the tracks that once ran through the park approaching the CRRNJ terminal that was where the arena stands. An attendee mentioned that Newark's Chinatown and fish market were also in that area and should be commemorated. Columbia Street will be restored and run through the park as shown above. The part east from Columbia Street towards McCarter climbs a 10-15 foot grade via terraces to reach the McCarter highway bridge.

Construction is expected to start late spring 2017 on Phase I; "late" was emphasized with a bit of self awareness. Among other things mentioned were arena events in the yard area, an ice rink in the winter, and movie screenings on the front of the arena. I spoke to the executive director of Newark Arts afterwards and like others there, he was very enthusiastic about the Devils' commitment to Newark.

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It's great that they are finally going forward with the park and improving the area around the arena.  However, I would like to know what their plan is to replace the hundreds of parking spaces that are being lost to the development of this park.  The only thing I had heard was a prospective parking deck being built behind city hall, which hasn't happened yet and isn't going to be done anytime soon.  Seems to me like they should have completed that first, before moving forward with the park.

Also, did they mention how long it would take to complete all 3 phases of this project?

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I agree about the parking too, I hope there is a better plan than a garage some time down the road.

 

Thanks for posting the slides Brick

 

 

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There is a huge vacant lot on the corner of Lafayette and McCarter.  I suppose that could be turned into additional parking?

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On ‎1‎/‎26‎/‎2017 at 9:43 AM, Crisis said:

There is a huge vacant lot on the corner of Lafayette and McCarter.  I suppose that could be turned into additional parking?

Yes, this is going to be an additional lot.  I actually bid on the work for it but I wasn't the low bid.  They seem to be putting these bids out in phases.

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On 01/18/2017 at 2:28 PM, Chuck the Duck said:

It's great that they are finally going forward with the park and improving the area around the arena.  However, I would like to know what their plan is to replace the hundreds of parking spaces that are being lost to the development of this park.  The only thing I had heard was a prospective parking deck being built behind city hall, which hasn't happened yet and isn't going to be done anytime soon.  Seems to me like they should have completed that first, before moving forward with the park.

Also, did they mention how long it would take to complete all 3 phases of this project?

Parking should absolutely be secondary, and the city is right to not prioritize it. This is downtown Newark, not the Meadowlands. They can't jeopardize the revitalization of the city for the convenience of out of towners. Parking lots fragment central cities and drain their vitality. Every revitalizing Rust Belt city is developing over parking lots; Newark can't be one giant lot for Devils fans.

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2 hours ago, thecoffeecake said:

Parking should absolutely be secondary, and the city is right to not prioritize it. This is downtown Newark, not the Meadowlands. They can't jeopardize the revitalization of the city for the convenience of out of towners. Parking lots fragment central cities and drain their vitality. Every revitalizing Rust Belt city is developing over parking lots; Newark can't be one giant lot for Devils fans.

Nobody said you have to make the city into a lot for Devils fans.  But they need parking structures because, like it or not, most people go to Newark to work, attend sporting events, etc., via car and not mass transit.  Last time I checked, there are tons of parking structures all over Manhattan, Chicago, and most other major cities throughout this country, including the areas around MSG.   Yes, open air lots are a problem based upon the civic studies that have been done over the past 20 years, but to think that parking should not be part of the overall plan to revitalize an area is foolish.  If they build over all of the lots and don't replace the parking spaces, what do you think is going to happen to attendance at events at the arena, and for the Devils specifically?   

There are a number of different ways to go about it.  You can have a freestanding parking structure, or a parking facility combined with an office or residential building on the site.  The point is that you need to replace the parking spaces because people with families (which makes up a large percentage of the ticket buying fanbase of this team) are not going to walk 10 + blocks at 10 p.m. in the winter to get to/from their car in a city like Newark. 

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11 hours ago, Chuck the Duck said:

Nobody said you have to make the city into a lot for Devils fans.  But they need parking structures because, like it or not, most people go to Newark to work, attend sporting events, etc., via car and not mass transit.  Last time I checked, there are tons of parking structures all over Manhattan, Chicago, and most other major cities throughout this country, including the areas around MSG.   Yes, open air lots are a problem based upon the civic studies that have been done over the past 20 years, but to think that parking should not be part of the overall plan to revitalize an area is foolish.  If they build over all of the lots and don't replace the parking spaces, what do you think is going to happen to attendance at events at the arena, and for the Devils specifically?   

There are a number of different ways to go about it.  You can have a freestanding parking structure, or a parking facility combined with an office or residential building on the site.  The point is that you need to replace the parking spaces because people with families (which makes up a large percentage of the ticket buying fanbase of this team) are not going to walk 10 + blocks at 10 p.m. in the winter to get to/from their car in a city like Newark. 

 There's a thousand reasons to de-incentivize driving to the game, on top of parking structures taking up space in the heart of the city that needs to be used more tactically. There's a major train station adjacent to the arena. Use it if you have a problem with Downtown Newark not being one big parking lot.

I don't disagree that there are creative ways to develop parking options, but that certainly shouldn't be a priority when developing the area. No need to induce traffic demand.

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11 hours ago, thecoffeecake said:

 There's a thousand reasons to de-incentivize driving to the game, on top of parking structures taking up space in the heart of the city that needs to be used more tactically. There's a major train station adjacent to the arena. Use it if you have a problem with Downtown Newark not being one big parking lot.

I don't disagree that there are creative ways to develop parking options, but that certainly shouldn't be a priority when developing the area. No need to induce traffic demand.

In a utopian world, what your saying makes sense.  But we don't live in fantasy land, we live in NJ, where mass transit sucks.  You speak from something you clearly have little experience with.  When the Rock first opened, before I had kids, we tried taking NJ Transit to the games.  It is a sh!tty experience that I will never do again.  Coming from Morris County, an area where a huge number of our fans come from, there is no train line that goes to the "major train station adjacent to the arena."  It takes you to Broad Street Station, and from there you either can (a) walk, (b) take a bus, (c) take a cab/Uber, or (d) take the light rail to Penn Station then walk to the arena.  Now try doing that with kids under the age of 10.  All of those options are completely ridiculous and inefficient.  Add on top of that the fact that it costs more for the roundtrip train ticket than parking when you have 4 people going to the game, while it takes approximately 50 minutes on the train from Morristown to Broad Street when driving only takes 25 minutes, and you should easily be able to understand how your oversimplified example doesn't work for most people that attend games in the arena.  And finally, when leaving the game with your family of 4, you need to reverse all of the BS you had to do to get to the arena, and make sure you catch the train or risk having to wait 30-60 minutes for the next one to take you home.  Most people, me included, would say no thanks to all of that, especially when dealing with kids.  It's just not worth it when I can easily drive there in less than 30 minutes, and do the same thing coming back.  If you take away my ability to drive to the games, then I will just give up the season tickets I have, and won't go to nearly as many games as I currently do (if any at all).  There are enough people just like me where it will affect the team and arena's bottom line in the long run. 

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4 minutes ago, Chuck the Duck said:

In a utopian world, what your saying makes sense.  But we don't live in fantasy land, we live in NJ, where mass transit sucks.  You speak from something you clearly have little experience with.  When the Rock first opened, before I had kids, we tried taking NJ Transit to the games.  It is a sh!tty experience that I will never do again.  Coming from Morris County, an area where a huge number of our fans come from, there is no train line that goes to the "major train station adjacent to the arena."  It takes you to Broad Street Station, and from there you either can (a) walk, (b) take a bus, (c) take a cab/Uber, or (d) take the light rail to Penn Station then walk to the arena.  Now try doing that with kids under the age of 10.  All of those options are completely ridiculous and inefficient.  Add on top of that the fact that it costs more for the roundtrip train ticket than parking when you have 4 people going to the game, while it takes approximately 50 minutes on the train from Morristown to Broad Street when driving only takes 25 minutes, and you should easily be able to understand how your oversimplified example doesn't work for most people that attend games in the arena.  And finally, when leaving the game with your family of 4, you need to reverse all of the BS you had to do to get to the arena, and make sure you catch the train or risk having to wait 30-60 minutes for the next one to take you home.  Most people, me included, would say no thanks to all of that, especially when dealing with kids.  It's just not worth it when I can easily drive there in less than 30 minutes, and do the same thing coming back.  If you take away my ability to drive to the games, then I will just give up the season tickets I have, and won't go to nearly as many games as I currently do (if any at all).  There are enough people just like me where it will affect the team and arena's bottom line in the long run. 

Yea that's fine and understandable, but I'm not saying everyone HAS to take the train, but a hell of a lot more people can take the train that don't. The world won't come to an end if those spaces aren't replaced immediately. There is abundant parking as is, and those spots can be replaced with the spots in the private lots on Broad Street and around the arena that sit empty on gameday.  But if it's not supremely simple to drive, more fans that have the ability will take the train, reduce emissions, and ease traffic for those who do drive. I mean, this is modern transportation planning 101. You get more people traveling on various modes of transportation, you solve a lot of issues. It won't work for everyone to take the train, of course, but because it doesn't work for you doesn't mean it's not a reasonable solution.

And you're right, public transit sucks, but why not direct the energy you expect to be funneled into developing parking into improving public transit  options around games?

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Cause this is NJ transit we are talking about, look at all the issues they have on a normal basis, look at them and Amtrack not even being able to figure out a work schedule to fix the NY Penn Station tracks. They don't even care about that which affects the vast majority of their commuters. You think they give a sh!t about improving transit for Newark events? Cause I sure as hell don't. 

Edited by Satans Hockey

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