MILLBURN, NJ - Millburn Township, in conjunction with the Downtown Millburn Development Alliance (D.M.D.A.), is wrapping up its installation of parklets on Millburn Avenue for the fall season.
Parklets are small sidewalk extensions located in the flexible parking spaces. The parklet next to Dunkin Donuts contains tables and a lending library. A chess and checkers table, along with a Connect Four set, is located at the parklet adjacent to Design Hub.
The D.M.D.A. sought to utilize the parklets as a means of inviting people to come and explore downtown Millburn. By providing games and activities the spaces allowed individuals to sit and linger in the downtown while exposing them to all of the shops and merchants located nearby. The D.M.D.A. collaborated with Emerald Gardens and Millburn Florist, who developed the designs for the parklets.
“It is an amazing opportunity to invite people into town and also stay in town,” said Vicky Powell, President of the Downtown Millburn Board of Directors. “I have been seeing and hearing from people that they are enjoying the games, reading, having an ice cream with their family and meeting friends.”
The inclusion of parklets into the downtown has been coupled with an increase in parking activity. The township has analyzed parking transaction data in three downtown lots to measure their usage. Looking at the months of April through September in Parking Lots 1, 4 and 5, from 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, Millburn experienced decreases of 6 percent and 7 percent, respectively, and noticed an uptick of 8 percent from 2016-2017. Parking revenue is up for 2017 after two consecutive years of decreases, and has almost matched the level it achieved in 2014. The Township’s mobile parking application, Mpay2park, has seen a 54 percent increase in usage from 2016-2017.
The construction of flexible parking on Millburn Avenue, part of Phase One of the Complete Streets project, facilitated the inclusion of parklets into the downtown area. These parklets are seen as a means to increase pedestrian traffic while keeping sidewalks safe and lively.
The parklets are being removed from their current locations Nov. 1.
The township has been recognized with awards for the Complete Streets Initiative, including a Complete Streets Excellence Award, a 2017 Downtown New Jersey Excellence Award and a Great Street designation from the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association, all of which have mentioned the inclusion of parklets as a factor.