Netcong, NJ

Netcong TOD Plan Demonstrates the Appropriate Scale, Land Use Mix, and Character for a Highlands Village Center

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Netcong, a small town in northern New Jersey, is a historic and charming place
that now faces the same problem faced by countless other towns
throughout the New York City area: the stimulation of development of
regional malls and gated communities by the automobile. Due to the
automobile, the traditional downtown of Netcong was facing a slow and
painful death. However, the leadership of Netcong realized that their
continued prosperity depended on employing the special qualities of
Netcong as a historic town center and exploiting the potentitial of its
train station.

To deal with the issue, several community design
workshops were held during which local stakeholders generated and
responded to alternative solutions to the problem and built consensus
around a community-based vision. The fundamental basis of this vision
is to create a new neighborhood that is completely integrated with the
existing Main Street and the natural resources in the area while
retaining the existing fabric of the town. Netcong openly welcomes new
young families into the mix, supporting the notion that the town is
evolving and not just in a frozen state. Furthermore, the town has
started a redevelopment study which will give the Borough more control
over the quality of what is built.

Netcong: Station Area Transit-Friendly Design Study

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Details
The proposal for Netcong creates a new street and block network on land that is fallow, enabling incremental development at the scale and in the character of the rest of the Borough. The proposal is organized around the intersection of two axes: the extension of Lynn Street and a diagonal between the station area and pond. The Lynn Street extension creates an extremely strong connection between the station redevelopment area and the existing street network while the diagonal allows the town to capture the existing watercourse as an amenity for the new development and also creates a greenway extension from the train station to a larger greenway network.

While the development program is largely residential, there are also several commercial areas provided where Main Street meets the redesigned train station's plaza. A new community facility is also proposed in the area. In maintaining the transit-friendly nature of the project, parking strategies maintain NJ Transit's long-term capacity while reducing parking ratios through shared parking and pedestrian access. Finally, new developments along Main Street restore its historic character as a 2 and 3 story street with apartments above stores and offices. The connections from the redevelopment area to the rest of the downtown include re-configured parking areas behind Main Street and a bridge across the tracks to the neighborhoods south of Route 46.

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Proposal Timeline Summary

Phase I:

1. A redesigned Station Plaza: parking would be rationalized and landscaped ("parking in the park?) with clearly articulated pedestrian routes; new commercial uses would open onto widened sidewalks and a small plaza ringing the parking area; several of the existing stores on Main Street would be encouraged to expand towards, and open out onto, the Station Plaza.

2. A new neighborhood of low-rise residential buildings organized around the intersection of a new Lynn Street Boulevard with a new Park Street and greenway.

3. A reinvigorated Flanders Road neighborhood with new in-fill development and new small-side residential development at the edge of the redevelopment area.

Phase II:

1. Development of the sites along the north side of Bank Street.

2. Two new blocks of housing in the area currently occupied by Quirk Moving.

3. Adaptive re-use of the old industrial buildings that straddle the Muscanetcong River between Furnace Pond and Bank Street.