A stretch of Glenridge Avenue from Bloomfield Avenue to Forest Street is getting a makeover, complementing the new Midtown garage and upgrades along Bloomfield Avenue.

The garage could open by the end of April, while the Bloomfield Avenue upgrades are expected to be done by the end of May.

On April 5, the Township Council approved a contract award to D.S. Meyer Enterprises, LLC, the low bidder at $104,101, to repave the Glenridge Avenue section. The improvements will also include new curbs, ADA ramps at the corners and a bike path on the southern side of Glenridge Avenue.  

The traffic flow on the one-way Glenridge Avenue will also be reversed, becoming one-way from Bloomfield Avenue to Forest Street and thereby allowing motorists heading northeast on Bloomfield Avenue (toward Verona) to make a right turn onto Glenridge. The change in traffic flow will give access to the new municipal garage from Bloomfield Avenue.

The bike path, which will be Montclair’s first dedicated path, will only be one block long, and should be thought of as a “demonstration project,” Councilman Peter Yacobellis said.

“A one-block [lane] is not really helping anyone to get from point A to point B,” he said.

The bike path could become part of a larger project that extends all the way down Glenridge Avenue past Lackawanna Plaza to the planned Essex-Hudson Greenway project. That project consists of nine miles of abandoned rail line that would contain biking and walking trails running from Montclair to Jersey City.

There are sharrows on some streets in town, but there are no dedicated bike lanes in Montclair, except for within county-owned Brookdale Park, Yacobellis said.

Essex County provided funding of $140,946 through a Community Development Block Grant for the Glenridge Avenue project. The funds must be expended by June 30, planner Janice Talley told the council.

Township Communications Director Katya Wowk could not provide a date when the road construction would begin.

The Midtown deck was expected to open in mid-February, but the opening was delayed.  Director of Utilities Gary Obszarny said the postponement was due to rainwater puddling in the deck lobby, which needs to be addressed before the deck can open. He expected the repairs to be completed this week, but did not give a date of when the garage would open to the public. 

What was once the Midtown lot at Glenridge Avenue and North Willow Street closed for construction of the new facility in January 2021. The new garage, part of the $135 million Seymour Street development, will now hold almost four times as many vehicles as before, with 314 public parking spots, up from the 83 spaces in the lot. 

In the agreement allowing for the mixed-use Seymour Street project, which resulted in the loss of the two municipal lots at South Willow Street and South Fullerton Avenue, developers agreed to build the Midtown garage and, upon completion, turn it over to the township.

Parking fees have been set at $70 per month for daytime parking, $60 per month for night parking and $130 per month for 24 passes. Visitors will also have access for $2 per hour. The township has set aside parking on the rooftop level at a 20% discount for downtown employees and business owners.

Essex County has been updating 12 intersections along Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair.

New traffic signals would be installed at the intersection of Bloomfield Avenue and Midland Avenue, and at the intersection of Bloomfield Avenue and Seymour Street. A pedestrian crosswalk signal will be installed at the intersection of Bloomfield Avenue and Seymour Street. 

County Principal Engineer Asif Mahmood told Montclair Local in November that the completion date was expected in May, but County Communications Director Anthony Puglisi said that date has been pushed back to the fall of 2022. 

“Supply chain issues have delayed the delivery of the sign equipment,” Puglisi said.

Last week, stop signs were installed along Glenridge Avenue at the corner of North Willow Street, making the intersection a four-way stop. The developer of the Seymour Street housing, office and retail redevelopment project, near the Wellmont Theater, first erected the signs, required as part of the approval of the project, in mid-February, but they were taken down after township officials realized that the council had not approved the installation. 

On April 5, council members approved the installation through an ordinance and a resolution declaring an emergency and directing that the ordinance take effect immediately, in order for the signs to be installed last week.