Union to pave way to completion of Stuyvesant Avenue project

Photos by Rebecca Panico and Brian Trusdell Traffic is diverted near the corner of Stuyvesant and Vauxhall avenues on Oct. 3 while construction workers work on sidewalks along Stuyvesant Avenue.
Granite inlays, below, have been part of the upgrades.

UNION, NJ — Union will soon repave the rough road left from a renovation project along a stretch of Stuyvesant Avenue, according to Union spokeswoman Natalie Pineiro.

The first phase of the Stuyvesant Avenue Streetscape Project is nearing completion, with repaving of Stuyvesant Avenue between Vauxhall and Morris avenues slated for around mid-October, Pineiro said.

The improvements so far have included new granite accents on the sidewalks and a mid-block crossing path for pedestrians. But there’s still work to be done.

“The basic construction work is done,” Pineiro said in an Oct. 4 email. “Still to be installed are the trees, which have been tagged at the nursery and will be planted around the first frost, furniture — benches, etc. which are on order — and light poles which are in the process of being installed by PSEG.”

The mid-block crossing section will have signage, but no traffic-control lights, Pineiro added. The raised crossing section is supposed to increase pedestrian safety by slowing traffic, she said.

The township is working with engineers, Maser Consulting and Arterial Design Studio, on the project.
A second phase of the project will start in the spring, and involves renovating Morris Avenue to the historic canon at Pearl Harbor Square.

The cost of project is approximately $2.2 million and was budgeted alongside the township’s regular road program.
The state Transportation Trust Fund will provide $215,000 for the projects, Pineiro previously told LocalSource.
Stuyvesant Avenue was closed to traffic for about two weeks in September as the sidewalk underwent an overhaul.

The lack of traffic didn’t affect business for Joe Leo, who owns the Here’s The Story bookstore on Stuyvesant Avenue.
“If people wanted to get to me, they got to me,” said Leo, who also serves as the township’s Special Improvement District Board president. “It may have been a little inconvenient, since they had to walk a block or two, but it didn’t really affect the business.”
Leo said customers had accessibility to the side street to get the businesses that were in the renovation zone.

“It was totally worth it,” he added. “It needed to be done.”
Pineiro told local source that four new businesses will come “online” before November, like Jammed Up Bakery next to Van Gogh’s Ear.

Also slated is a women’s clothing store adjacent the movie theater, an antique furniture store at the old Wigs by Gigi and Atlantic Soaps at the former Perkins Pharmacy.

“Hopefully we’ll be getting more,” Leo said. It’s hard. It’s the onset of Christmas and I don’t know if any of these stores want to invest in this late date.”

The town anticipates holding ribbon-cutting ceremonies after the streetscape project is completed.
Hopefully the community will reinvest in the local economy if they’re aware that the businesses are open, Pineiro said.
The second phase for the project will go out to bid in January, with work expected to begin in spring.