On Friday, January 29 the American Planning Association- New Jersey chapter recognized planning initiatives, built projects, individuals and organizations that are at the forefront of planning and design at the APA-NJ Annual Planning Conference Awards Luncheon.
Bloustein School Associate Research Professor Stuart Meck was selected as the recipient of the Budd Chavooshian Award for Outstanding Professional Planner, which is given to a professional planner for sustained contributions to the profession through distinguished practice, teaching or writing, and the 2015 West Orange Walking and Cycling graduate studio was this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Student Project Award. This award is presented to outstanding class projects or papers by students from any secondary education institution that contribute to advances in the field of planning on a NJ-based project.
Previously the director of the Center for Planning Practice in the Bloustein School, Stuart Meck teaches planning law, planning and land use administration, history and theory of planning, ethics in planning and public policy, and transportation impact analysis for development proposals. A specialist in planning statute reform and land use controls, Meck is a former national president of the American Planning Association, has 44 years of experience as a professional planner, researcher, and municipal administrator, and has written widely on planning and land use controls. His two major works are the Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook: Model Statutes for Planning and the Management of Change, 2002 edition (American Planning Association, 2002), for which he served as principal investigator and general editor; and, with Kenneth Pearlman, Ohio Planning and Zoning Law, 20th edition (Thomson-Reuters-West 2015), which is published annually. Meck is also a coauthor, with Professor Daniel R. Mandelker of the Washington University School of Law and several other attorneys and law professors, of Planning and Control of Land Development: Cases and Materials, 9th Edition (Lexis/Nexis, 2015). He serves as the Bloustein School’s faculty liaison to the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association.
He has done consulting work for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Czech Republic, the Fannie Mae Foundation, the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hillsborough County, Florida, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, among others. He has also provided technical assistance to a number of New Jersey municipalities.
Concerned with the overall safety and comfort of pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists in West Orange, N.J., a group of West Orange stakeholders tasked the 2015 Walking and Cycling Studio at the Bloustein School with developing a Complete Streets Concept Plan for the township. The students began their work by conducting a comprehensive literature review, highlighting the current status of complete streets policy adoption and implementation in the U.S. and more specifically, in N.J.. Over a three-week period, they then conducted a comprehensive built environment assessment/audit; researched and documented a brief history of West Orange; reviewed and documented a list of existing plans, programs, and policies; identified and mapped community assets and resources; analyzed and mapped the socio-economic characteristics of township; analyzed and mapped 10 years of crash statistics throughout the township; and attended meetings with the public and project partners.
As a result, the students were able to develop a comprehensive West Orange Complete Streets Concept Plan that includes before and after renderings of proposed complete streets improvements, which include a West Orange Bicycle Network, complete with customized street sign toppers, bicycle racks, and bicycle signage; a customized West Orange Walkability Guide, designed and formatted for use by anyone wishing to access the walkability of the streets throughout the township; a vision for a first-ever “shared street” in the township; and customized wayfinding signage which can be attached to existing poles and bus shelters or at standalone kiosks. The students also created an animation video of all the proposed improvements and drafted a Vision Zero plan for the township.
Led by Bloustein School adjunct professor Charles Brown, MPA (Adjunct Professor), the studio team members were Mary Dena Apodaca (teaching assistant); Mark Bauer, Channing Bickford, Daniel Brooks, Tianyi Chen, Daniel Chibbaro, Kenneth Fung, Ziye Guo, Ganlin Huang, Steven Lubrano, Michelle Mayer, Virginie Nadimi, Julene Paul, Rachana Shivaswamy, and Ai Yamanaka. Special thanks is given to the Township of West Orange and the Pleasant Valley Civic Association, primary project partners, as well as the numerous other stakeholders whose support make this project possible.