Transportation was identified as a key theme in the Blueprint for Action for Bound Brook and South Bound Brook. As discussed in our previous blog post, we worked with graduate students at the Rutgers Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy to do a comprehensive assessment of transportation infrastructure and walkability in the two towns.
One exciting strategy to improve walkability and sense of community is to develop murals and a parklet. This also gives us a chance to collaborate with the Bound Brook Student Ambassadors, who are part of the NJHI Next Generation Community Leaders initiative. That grant is a shared project between 4-H and Middle Earth, a member of the “Building Bridges” grant leadership team.
The students have met with local councilmen, county planning staff, RideWise, and the Bloustein graduate group. Together, they developed their own project idea. In July, the students are coordinating mural painting at 4 sites in Bound Brook, including two schools, a park, and the train station plaza. They will invite the general public to help paint the murals, turning the process into a community engagement opportunity.
The students will also build a parklet this summer. What’s a parklet? According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials, “Parklets are public seating platforms that convert curbside parking spaces into vibrant community spaces…Designs may include seating, greenery, bicycle racks or other features, but should always strive to become a focal point for the community and a welcoming public gathering place.” The parklet will be displayed every Wednesday night during town movie nights, as well as every Thursday afternoon for the farmer’s market.
Our hope is to see more people taking advantage of walkable downtown Bound Brook, with colorful murals and an inviting parklet. Better walkability and sense of community will help to make Bound Brook a stronger and healthier town.