For the last decade, progressive cities across the country have been focusing on revitalizing alleys into focal points for art, character, and green space. With the backing of alley activation programs, areas that were once ignored at best, or neglected at worst, are instead being used to build community and add new dimension to existing neighborhoods. Largely using analysis from the 2011 study conducted by graduate students at the University of Washington, cities like Baltimore, MD; Fort Wayne, IN; Los Angeles, CA; Denver, CO; Chicago, IL; and more are focusing on alleys as a means to introduce green infrastructure, increase public space, and add murals and artwork to areas that were once either unsafe or unsanitary.
In a Council meeting on February 27, 2019, the Borough of Red Bank sought to follow this progressive suit by voting on Ordinance No. 2019-09 to designate a portion of Emanuel Court as a pedestrian space. As part of the Red Bank RiverCenter’s English Plaza/White Street Streetscape Improvement Project, this designation allows Emanuel Court to be made into a pocket park for Downtown Red Bank.
During the Listening Phase of the Project, many Red Bank stakeholders interviewed cited concerns over the safety of Emanuel Court, noting the poor visibility, inadequate lighting, narrow walkways, and blind spots for motorists. The redesignation of Emanuel Court as a pedestrian space will allow those safety concerns to be addressed, improve pedestrian access to the businesses and parking in English Plaza, and provide a brief respite from the bustle of West Front Street. We look forward to transformation of this once neglected alley to a highlight in the Borough of Red Bank.