UNION, NJ — When Bed Bath and Beyond moved their corporate headquarters to Union in recent years, the company brought along much needed jobs. But it also brought with it too much traffic, and now the town has worked with the company to come up with a solution.
The company’s headquarters are located on Liberty Avenue, just before it turns into Springfield Road, not far from Route 22. And according to Township Administrator Ron Manzella, the traffic has been a sore spot in an otherwise great relationship with the company, but no one is letting the traffic ruffle any feathers. Instead, the town and Bed Bath and Beyond are working together to solve the problem.
“There has been an increase in traffic and in a partnership with Bed Bath and Beyond, there has been the addition of a second traffic signal,” said Manzella in an interview last week. “And we are widening the street on Springfield Avenue for a dedicated right turn lane.”
The traffic and the solutions, Manzella said, is “really primarily for rush hours,” as much of the traffic is in the early morning and evening, but added “the traffic models have shown a significant increase in traffic flow.”
According to Manzella, Bed Bath and Beyond recently sought a variance to buy the property at the corner of Liberty and Rahway avenues, knock the building down and build a parking lot. But part of the agreement with the town included an agreement to help with the traffic problems.
Manzella said when the traffic leaves the corporate headquarters, it stops in the street and has effects on all drivers. The new traffic light, he said, would see employees having a long queue time, but the traffic getting away from the area faster.
The agreement between Union and Bed Bath and Beyond, which has been called a “fair share agreement,” sees the corporation paying slightly more for the traffic improvement, which is slated to cost around $1.1 million.
According to information provided to LocalSource, the responsibilities of Bed Bath and Beyond include a new traffic signal at the 650 Liberty Avenue driveway with a pedestrian crossing; changes to the traffic signal on Rahway Avenue; center lane striping improvement; and various other driveway improvements.
The township’s portion of the “fair share agreement” includes traffic signal improvements at Springfield and Milltown roads and the widening of Springfield Road to fit a dedicated right turn at Milltown Road.
Manzella did not have the exact figures readily available when he spoke to LocalSource, but estimated the split in costs was about 60 percent for Bed Bath and Beyond and 40 percent for the township.
Mayor Manuel Figueredo has praised Bed Bath and Beyond for being a “good tenant and neighbor to our residents,” and the work is scheduled to be completed before 2016., NJ