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OUR VILLAGE, OUR FUTURE: VISIONING FOR RIDGEWOOD’S NEXT MASTER PLAN Frequently-Asked Questions

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Frequently-Asked Questions

last updated October 14, 2018

1. What is Our Village, Our Future?

The Village of Ridgewood, NJ is working towards preparing its next Master Plan. One of the first steps is to engage the community to think about and share its vision for current and future generations to love and appreciate. Our Village, Our Future is the name given to this visioning process.

2. What are the goals of Our Village, Our Future?

The primary goal of Our Village, Our Future is to implement a community visioning process that reaches out to a broad range of Village residents and other stakeholders (e.g., businesses, institutions, etc.) and encourages them to think about and discuss the values, principles, goals, and priorities that should shape the future of the Village. This community visioning process represents the one of the first steps toward creating a new Master Plan for the Village.

3. What will be the final outcome or product of Our Village, Our Future? When will the Master Plan be prepared?

The final outcome/product of this visioning process will be a Vision Plan. This document will summarize the community engagement process and synthesize the results of this process in terms of identifying and explaining the values, principles, goals, and priorities that should shape the Village’s next Master Plan. The process of creating the next Master Plan will start after the visioning process is complete.

4. What is a Master Plan and how is it relevant to my life in the Village?

A Master Plan, sometimes referred to as a Comprehensive Plan, is a guidance document that sets goals, policies, and priorities for investing in the physical, economic, environmental, and social future of a community. A master plan can address a wide range of topics and/or geographic areas of importance to residents and other stakeholders. It can provide an overall vision for a place and identify key priorities and strategies toward achieving the vision. It can provide direction in terms of investing in transportation improvements and public facilities, changing zoning regulations, protecting ecologically-sensitive areas, or becoming more environmentally sustainable. Concept plans and other visuals within a master plan can demonstrate ideas and hoped-for outcomes.

The master plan is also the basis for a municipality’s zoning regulations. In New Jersey, all municipalities are required to have a master plan and to “reexamine” it at least every 10 years. The reexamination process can represent a stepping stone for updating or creating a new master plan. However, the resulting Reexamination Report itself does not constitute the actual updated or new master plan.

5. Why does the Village need to prepare a new Master Plan? Has the Village “reexamined” its Master Plan yet?

Although there are certain parts of the Village’s Master Plan that have been updated more recently (for example, the section pertaining to housing, which was updated in 2016), the core sections of the Master Plan date back to 1983. A lot has changed since that time. The Village did “reexamine” its master plan in 2016, and the resulting Master Plan Reexamination Report can be downloaded and viewed from the Plans & Studies page.

6. Will the Our Village, Our Future process involve the whole Village, geographically speaking?

Yes, the whole Village is the subject of this visioning process. It is not limited to a specific part or aspect of the Village; we expect and welcome feedback on any part or aspect of the Village.

7. How can I stay informed about this process? How will I be able to contribute my vision for the future of Ridgewood?

First, visit www.visionridgewood.org. This website will be the central public portal of information for this initiative. Next, make sure to sign up to receive updates when a new post is added to the page. Look for the phrase “Receive E-mail Updates” on the site and follow the instructions.

Press releases will be drafted and distributed so that local newsletters and newspapers can publish timely information for their readers during the course of the initiative. We anticipate utilizing various methods to get input from residents and other stakeholders. These might include surveys, workshops, focus groups, etc.

The Village’s website and social media outlets (Facebook and Twitter) will also feature important dates and milestones in the visioning process, providing links to more details at this website.

8. What if I have questions or already have input about my vision for Ridgewood?

An online form is available on the Contact page at www.visionridgewood.org for residents and other interested members of the community to ask additional questions about or offer suggestions for this visioning process. If you have already been thinking about your vision for Ridgewood and would like to share it with us, visit the Your Vision page.  As the visioning process moves ahead, there will be more formal opportunities to participate in the visioning process through workshops, surveys, and other methods.

9. What if I or one of my neighbors is unable to access information or provide input through online means?

You or your neighbor can provide input in writing and mail or drop it off in a sealed envelope to Master Plan Subcommittee, Planning Board of the Village of Ridgewood, 131 North Maple Avenue, Ridgewood, NJ 07450. Furthermore, any important announcements will be posted in the main lobby of Village Hall.

10. Is there anything I can do to help with this process?

Yes! We can always use help getting the word out to people in the Village. If you are or know the point-person responsible for sending e-mail communications for a church, school, civic association, or other type of community-based organization, please include a link to the Our Village, Our Future website. We may have other opportunities for volunteers, which can include high school students (with parents’ permission), to assist in promoting Our Village, Our Future. We will post these opportunities to this website when they arise.

11. What is the timeline for completing this process?

We anticipate that the visioning process will take approximately seven months to complete.

12. Who is leading this initiative?

This initiative is being guided by the Master Plan Subcommittee of the Planning Board, with support from the Village Council. Through a request for proposals and interview process, the Master Plan Subcommittee and the Planning Board recommended the firm NV5, Inc., based in Parsippany, NJ, to lead this process and develop the resulting vision plan. The Village Council subsequently approved the recommendation. NV5’s Community Planning & Urban Design group has experience throughout the Northeast and in New Jersey with projects like Our Village, Our Future.

Composition of the Master Plan Subcommittee:

  • Richard Joel, Planning Board Chair
  • Joel Torielli, Planning Board Vice Chair
  • Susan Knudsen, Deputy Mayor
  • Melanie McWilliams

NV5, Inc.:

  • Neil Desai, AICP PP, Project Manager
  • Annette Schultz, AICP PP
  • Rachana Sheth
  • Chris Lucas, AICP LEED ND
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Reader Raises Safety Concerns Over Ridgewood Train Station Parking Lot

Ridgewood Trainstation_theridgewoodblog

For those of Us Taxpayers who use or are there every work day in that RIDGEWOOD station Parking Lot
dropping or picking up train Passengers especially in Fall /Winter seasons ,it is maxed out especially as trains discharge and the driver scramble to be able to leave quickly including riders running to their cars…Its a zoo free for all…it is maxed out capacity and safety wise ,,drivers backing out of spaces in the Dark racing to exit the station ,,idling
while waiting to exit the station into the bottleneck exit while passenger pedestrians are trying to safely leave the station ..all at the same time.We don’t need more compact
cars up there to add to the danger..it smells like a money grab and chance to spend over 300,000K for added compact cars at the station while we are on the hook for a raised garage to the tune of 12 Million dollars being erected on the northbound side of the station where NYC arriving trains arrive . Think safety and congestion in the dark and snowy seasons .Leave the station alone or modify the idling policy for uber and commercial vehicles .This could save a life especially in the Dark morning and evening
seasons .

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Ridgewood Central Business District Choke Points and Congestion about to get a lot Worse

photo of Ken Smith

August 8,2018
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ , in April 2017 the Ridgewood blog http://theridgewoodblog.net/ridgewoods-central-business-district-problem-is-not-parking-but-congestion/ suggested that the over looked issue for the central business district is not parking , but congestion . There are just to many choke points in the CBD. Be they caused by ill planned “traffic easing” with suicide bike lanes or PSE&G upgrades it has become increasingly difficult to get in or out of the Central Business District.

Bike Lane Traffic Easing Ridgewood

suicide bike lane

With 3 current projects going forward , Brogan Cadillac, Ken Smith and now the Hudson Street garage congestion will be far worse than it is now .We still need need a comprehensive plan that factors in moderate development, infrastructure , retail, restaurants , mass transit , pedestrians, cycles and parking .

Brogan

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Walker 2015- net new revenue projected for the garage is not projected to offset its expenses

walker 2015

February 27,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, walker report 2015-It is typical in downtowns that the revenue stream in a given garage is not sufficient to cover its operating costs and debt service. Downtown parking systems are just that – systems – that rely on pooled revenue from all resources, and especially the on-street meters (which tend to have the highest turnover), to cover the higher cost associated with building and operating a garage. This is the case in Ridgewood, where the net new revenue projected for the garage is not projected to offset its expenses. Therefore, our revenue projection includes all  bottom of page 1

Full report from 2015

http://mods.ridgewoodnj.net/pdf/manager/2015walkerFinal.pdf

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Reader Attempts to explain the flawed logic behind the Garber Square Traffic Mess

Bike Lane Traffic Easing Ridgewood

” The problem in Garber Square is that it is really dangerous for bikers and pedestrians. Biikes used to use the sidewalk and often walked their bikes in that locatiom. No one is using the bike lane now except the cars. While bilking and walking are better for the people and the environment, not all areas are conducive to both cars and bikes. Garber Square is one of those areas.”

Reader Attempts to explain the flawed logic behind the Garber Square Traffic Mess:

“Understanding that this will not be popular on the venue, but here is the other side of the bike lane issue. The process started with the realization that the Garber Square roadway needed to be repaved. When last done the asphalt surface was scarified or roughened to give more traction so that the motor vehicles who were speeding around the curves didn’t crash as often. The modern approach to safety now is to engineer the roadway to slow cars down as opposed to trying to find ways to let them go faster, thus making roadways safer for all users. There are engineering standards for the width of traffic lanes which vary according to the speed limit, with the principle being the narrower the lane the slower a driver will go as there is less room for error.

The NACTO Guide (https://nacto.org/publication/urban-street-design-guide/street-design-elements/lane-width/) suggests that maximum lane width be 10’ except on truck or bus lanes and that 11’ or wider lanes (which are the norm currently in Ridgewood) lead to more speeding and other negative consequences.
So if you design the roadway with narrower lanes to make it safer, what do you do with the now extra space? Typically this affords the opportunity to add things like bike lanes or additional median space and even bump outs for pedestrian crossings.

Now another argument is that the new design reduced the capacity of the road as there were sort of two lanes before and now there is one lane with a right turn lane added at each end. If you look , on the east side both Broad and Franklin are one lane roads, as are Ridgewood Avenue and Godwin Ave/Wilsey Square on the west side. Having Garber remain two lanes all the way doesn’t speed things up or increase capacity if the roads leading into it remain one lane. The only change is that fewer cars can be stacked in there waiting for red lights which is an issue only at the busiest times. When the plan was presented I remember people screaming that the line of cars would back up all the way to Midland Park. I would say the changes have been minor. Traffic backs up at 8am, 3PM and around evening rush hour just like it did in the past.

It seems like our Village Council spends more time on issues involving cars than any other issue, between whether or not we need a parking garage, complaints from neighborhoods about commuters parking on their streets all day and the complaints about traffic delays or speeding thru neighborhoods. Instead of trying to find more ways, at great expense, to cram more cars onto our streets we should be looking at ways to allow residents to get around without depending completely on cars. Thru the mid 20th century most children got to school either by walking or riding a bicycle. Now almost 90% are driven to school with the resulting traffic jam in town twice a day. The village and Board of Education have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars widening roads or adding new ones to create drop off areas and we force school administrators and teachers to become traffic cops two times a day. It would be cheaper for taxpayers and much healthier for kids if we stop spending money trying to make it easier to drive to school and instead find ways to make it easier and safer walking and cycling there. The distances are short and the obstacles few.

There are many studies showing that making central business districts more walkable and bikeable increase the economic vitality of the area. Simple google searches will get dozens but here is a general resource about the concept (https://smartgrowthamerica.org/resources/evaluating-complete-streets-projects-a-guide-for-practitioners/). In short, if folks are more comfortable walking around downtown, they will stay there longer and spend more.

Right now on nice days 50-60 bicycles are locked up at and around the train station. Improved parking facilities and making their trip to the station easier and safer would increase their numbers which in turn means fewer cars and less fighting about parking spots and garages.

Summing up, I think the problem is we have too few bike lanes in town. Adopting a Complete Streets Plan, and encouraging walking, bicycling and mass transit can do a lot of good for Ridgewood. It can improve quality of life, health of our residents and improve the economic vitality of our village . I am a realist and understand the automobile will remain the dominant mode of transport but if Ridgewood ignores the demographic trends occurring in millennials (lowest rate of car licensing/ownership since WW2) and current trends in planning and street design (https://smartgrowthamerica.org/our-vision/ ) it will become less attractive as a town folks want to live in. My credentials include riding a bicycle about 3000 miles each year and being Board Chair of the largest bicycle safety and education organization in the USA ( https://www.bike.nyc/ ). And by the way, the design of the bike lane meets all current engineering standards and is the safest way by far for a bicyclist to cross from the west to east side of town.

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Higher Taxes and Congestion Likely from New Ridgewood Apartment Complexes

high density housing CBD

May 4,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The massive new 66 unit, multi-retail store complex coming to Franklin and Broad sets off a chain reaction of traffic problems in Ridgewood. As always, taxpayers will be left holding the bag for nearly a million dollars worth of needed traffic signal upgrades alone.

In the zoomed in version of developer John Saraceno’s “rendering” above we see the Franklin & Broad intersection which will be drastically impacted by the new 5 story building and the nearby 4 story Chestnut apartments. The archway on the right is one of two entry/exit for the 150 new parking spots on Franklin. The current lot is private and not open to the public. There will be a great deal of new traffic at one of the most important, dangerous, and crowded intersections in the village.
The new light at this intersection will cost $300k, Saraceno has offered to pay 25% [which is more than the law requires]. The bigger problem is how other, non-upgraded intersections will handle the traffic flow. By law, developers of Ridgewood’s 4 new high-density buildings only have to pay a small fraction of any needed new lights.
Listen here to the village’s traffic expert, Andrew Feranda: https://youtu.be/ENr_LFZAQuQ?t=10238
As northjersey.com reported:

The board also spent considerable time with its own traffic professional, Andrew Feranda, further discussing the Franklin Avenue thoroughfare.  They looked specifically at the coordination of traffic lights in the area. Feranda recommended coordinating the timing of the lights on Franklin Avenue at Broad Street and Oak Street to ensure more efficient traffic flow.

Voigt said any traffic improvements made to those intersections, the two closest traffic lights to the development, could necessitate changes at all lights from Wilsey Square to Maple Avenue. Feranda agreed the corridor would be more efficient with all the lights working in tandem.

“It certainly doesn’t move traffic efficiently if they’re not coordinated,” said Feranda.

Feranda said his layout would look “similar” to the plans put forth by the applicant. He cited the use of the signalized intersection at Broad Street and Franklin Avenue, and the fact that the driveway, on Chestnut Street, was about as far away from Franklin Avenue as possible.

 http://www.northjersey.com/story/news/bergen/ridgewood/2017/04/19/ridgewood-housing-hearing-focuses-franklin-ave/100647038/
All 4 of the high-density developments downtown are allowed thanks to controversial laws championed by Ridgewood resident Saraceno and then-mayor Paul Aronsohn.
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Ridgewood’s Central Business District Problem is not Parking but Congestion

traffic_2CBD_theridgewoodblog
April 22,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ , the over looked issue for the central business district is not parking , but congestion . There are just to many choke points in the CBD. Be they caused by ill planned “traffic easing” with suicide bike lanes or PSE&G upgrades it has become increasingly difficult to get in or out of the Central Business District.

Currently West Ridgewood Ave and Godwin are almost impassable .The proposed Hudson street garage ,because of its very location will make matters even worse by limiting access via Broad Street.

Over development will only make things worse ,contrary to assurances high density housing on Franklin will further restrict traffic  at the Franklin and Broad intersection , virtually cutting off the Westside from the East side of town .

Maple is difficult at best , leaving only Prospect and Oak street as possible alternatives . Currently large events in the Village take a minimum of 45 minutes to and hour to arrive and park .

It is well know that retail is a fast changing environment with most shopping now done on line . In order for stores to survive they must become “destination shops” holding events to attract customers , so traffic is only going to get worse .

The answer given by the powers that be is always  ,”we need garage” and residents at the new developments  will not , have kids,drive, park ,have visitors or shower.The lack of credibility makes Comedy Central look like a serious news network.

Our point is instead of pushing hidden agenda’s with ulterior motives primary pursued by developers and their friends we need a comprehensive plan that factors in moderate development, infrastructure , retail, restaurants , mass transit , pedestrians,cycles and parking .

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Congestion, conditions and safety shortfalls cost NJ drivers $1,951 a year, says report

Route_17_Glen062_theridgewoodblog

Route_17_Glen062_theridgewoodblog.net

file photo by Boyd Loving

Congestion, conditions and safety shortfalls cost NJ drivers $1,951 a year, says report

EDISON – Advocates for a long-term transportation funding plan in New Jersey have gained a new argument: You’re already spending the money, even without a gas tax hike.

You spend it on mechanics, due to repairs triggered by subpar roads. You pay it to gas stations, filling up more often after sitting in traffic. And you’re forking it over to insurance companies through higher rates that result from crashes on roads lacking modern safety measures.

The tab for such deficiencies, according to a report issued last week by Washington-based transportation research group called TRIP, is $11.8 billion a year. That comes to a sticker-shock average of $1,951 a year per New Jersey driver.

“The total number in New Jersey is a little bit higher than other states, and it’s basically because of congestion costs,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director, as the report was issued last week at the NJ Carpenters Funds offices. “New Jersey’s one of the most densely populated states, so the cost goes up when you’re sitting in traffic congestion both for your time and also the motor fuel that’s wasted as you sit there in traffic.”

http://www.app.com/story/news/politics/new-jersey/2015/01/25/report-says-drivers-pay-big-even-without-gas-tax-hike/22239687/