HomeLawrence LedgerLawrence Ledger NewsLawrence gets $700,000 state grant for Brunswick Pike redevelopment

Lawrence gets $700,000 state grant for Brunswick Pike redevelopment

With a $700,000 state grant in hand, Lawrence Township officials are moving ahead with plans to beautify and redevelop the one-mile-long stretch of Brunswick Pike between Lake Drive and the Brunswick Circle.

The stretch of Brunswick Pike that is slated for streetscape improvements will be known as The Boulevard at Brunswick Pike, said Municipal Manager Kevin Nerwinski. The overall plan has been more than 15 years in the making, he said.

“This grant is a very solid amount of money that we can use wisely for maximum impact toward improvements to the area. We tried for the past several years to get funding from state and federal grants, without success,” Nerwinski said.

Using a concept plan developed by planning consultants Clarke Caton & Hintz as a foundational document, township officials will prepare a request for proposals from designers who will work with the Brunswick Pike Streetscape Committee to create bid specifications for the project, he said.

The Brunswick Pike Streetscape Committee includes Nerwinski, Township Councilman Christopher Bobbitt, Municipal Engineer James Parvesse, Assistant Municipal Engineer Brenda Kraemer and Police Chief Brian Caloiaro.

The concept plan, which was developed in 2020, suggested installing cobblestone pavers between the sidewalk and the curb; dressing up the roundabout at Brunswick Pike and Whitehead Road; and landscaping the grass median that divides Brunswick Pike into two northbound lanes and two southbound lanes.

To improve pedestrian safety, the asphalt brick-look crosswalks could be replaced with white painted crosswalks. The painted crosswalks are more visible and easier to maintain. They do not wear out, unlike the asphalt crosswalks that are in place now.

Pedestrian-activated flashing yellow lights at crosswalks would help to alert drivers to the presence of pedestrians.

To create a sense of place, the grass areas between the sidewalk and the curb could be replaced with cobblestone pavers to provide a more uniform appearance.

The “restaurant block,” north of Slack Avenue that is occupied by Dominic’s Pizza, the Route 1 Diner and Leonardo II’s, could get new sidewalks and trees along the Brunswick Pike frontage. Landscaping to screen the parking lots also could be planted.

Decorative street lights, benches and bus shelters also would unify Brunswick Pike. Trees that are native to the region and that would be low maintenance could be planted.

Ground cover plants could be planted in the median between the northbound and southbound lanes of Brunswick Pike, which would also reduce maintenance. Cobblestone pavers could be installed at the ends of each median.

The Whitehead Road roundabout, which is a large traffic circle filled with gravel in the center, also could be beautified. The gravel area could be filled with wind turbines. Flowers and low plants could be planted to soften the look of the 35-foot-tall wind turbines.

Nerwinski said he wants the interior of the Whitehead Road roundabout to be completed first to address the public safety issues. There have been more than 60 crashes at the roundabout in the past three years – including eight crashes involving motorists who drove over the roundabout.

One of the first public safety measures to be completed are blinking yield signs at the Whitehead Road roundabout. The signs have been delivered, and they are awaiting installation.

“It will take about six to 12 months to complete the whole project. With $700,000, it can take us pretty far and we are eager to get started,” Nerwinski said.

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