NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — The latest step in the overhaul of College Avenue is underway.
Last weekend, workers covered 50 New Brunswick Parking Authority meters between Huntington and Hamilton streets with bags, marking much of the parking on College Avenue for removal.
Bike and bus lanes are slated to take the place of those parking spaces, in a move that Rutgers University and city officials hope will make the main drag nicer to drive along and safer to walk.
“Making College Avenue safer, more beautiful and easier to navigate is one way that we are working to improve the student experience here at Rutgers,” University President Robert Barchi said in a written statement.
Officials expect the changes to be completed during the upcoming spring semester.
The new College Avenue bus lane is supposed to help buses move down the road more smoothly, according to the school. That could improve traffic for other vehicles on the avenue.
Rutgers officials polled students and found that more of them would ride bicycles to and from class if there were less congestion and fewer safety concerns. The bike lane, according to the university, is a means to accomplish that.
The lost parking on College Avenue will be replaced, in part, with 20 all-day metered spaces in the lot behind the Rutgers Student Center. Drivers may find additional metered parking at Alexander Johnston Hall, on the corner of College Avenue and Somerset Street, which is available to the public during weekends and after 6 p.m. during the week.
Other coming changes include permanent fencing between Scott and Ford halls and the installation of a “high-intensity” traffic light that’s designed to better safeguard pedestrians, according to Rutgers.
“Rutgers University’s plan for the improvement of the College Avenue traffic corridor is another example of its commitment to the well-being of our shared community,” New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill said in a written statement.
These traffic improvements come as a result of the College Avenue Redevelopment Initiative, which has already sparked the construction of the new Honors College, the Rutgers Academic Building and the mixed residential and public space known as The Yard.
“Tremendous things can happen when the university and city work together,” Barchi added.
Both the university and the city plan to keep residents informed of parking and traffic changes over the next semester.