The Lackawanna Plaza redevelopment.

By Tina Pappas

for Montclair Local

Loading dock configurations, landscape architecture, lighting and a traffic analysis for the proposed Lackawanna Plaza redevelopment plan were discussed at the April 9 Planning Board meeting.

The mixed-use project would transform the historic Lackawanna railroad station property into a multi-use development with a supermarket and 154 units of housing. The nearly vacant shopping center property, which at one time housed a Pathmark supermarket and a historic train station, and is now home to the Pig & Prince Restaurant. Future plans include a four-story multi-family dwelling built on the east side next to Grove Street, totaling 154 units, and outdoor deck-top pool and retail including a supermarket. The site’s current footprint will be maintained while keeping the aesthetics historical, particularly in its relation to the original railway terminal.

Roadway data was collected in September 2017 to compile data on traffic flow conditions and peak traffic increases. Meetings were held with county officials to discuss the project and obtain feedback, said Karl Pehnke, traffic site engineer, Langan Engineering and Environmental Services. The study showed the increase in traffic will be minor with morning, afternoon and Saturday afternoon drive times.

“All in all, you are dealing with very similar traffic characteristics and it’s a wash,” he said.
The biggest development for future traffic improvements is the receipt of a federal grant, which will allow the county to make upgrades in a series of intersections along Bloomfield Avenue including new traffic signalization, ADA and pedestrian upgrades and repaving, said Pehnke.

Plans for re-striping Grove Street are also in the works, as well as formalizing proper signage for lane configurations on Bloomfield Avenue. A slight modification to the driveway off Bloomfield Avenue, shifting towards Grove Street, will move traffic circular more efficiently from the parking lot. The addition of another driveway on Grove Street will also provide parking access, said Pehnke.

The driveway on Bloomfield Avenue on the east parcel will remain a right turn in and right turn out. The Glenridge Avenue driveway will be effectively maintained as it is today.
A drop-off and pick-up area along the frontage of the residential building on Grove Street will be added as a safety measure for residents of that location.

Site Landscaping & Lighting
Steven Laudati, site landscape architect for Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, presented an overview of the proposed landscaping.

There is roughly 6,000 square feet of the renovated plaza at the intersection of Lackawanna and Bloomfield Avenues that is available for open space along with another for the proposed landscape. He described many of the trees currently in the parking area as dead or in poor condition with 30 having to be removed. The plan proposes planting 62 trees total on the sites and on the streetscape, 48 trees onsite, 2,100 shrubs, 300 grass, and 1,200 perennials. The goal is to provide seasonal interests throughout the year, extend the blooming time with the perennials, and have a landscape that “compliments the historic architecture and the proposed architecture.” Trees will be drought tolerant with a one-year warranty period. No oak trees are being used due to being disease prone. A combination of native and adaptive trees will be planted.

Laudati said the lighting plan proposed is for PSEG to match the existing lights and to use a uniform fixture throughout the site, with the use of LED lighting and all wiring located underground.

Loading Dock Redesign
Kevin Webb, site engineer for Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, presented modifications of the site plan exhibit that contained new configurations of the truck loading dock area. Changes centered on the grocery store loading dock area along Glenridge Avenue, located on the northern end of the site.

The truck access was reevaluated in order to make a more efficient, safer pedestrian crossing resulting in a single driveway opening, which would replace the previously proposed two driveways.

An area of 550 square feet would also be created based on the board’s recommendations for handling snow removal and creating a stockpile area, without interrupting the landscaping along the Glenridge Avenue corridor.

Two formal loading docks would be in place, along with a ramp up for smaller trucks to park and unload. Tractor trailers would make a left off Glenridge Avenue, onto the two loading dock spaces.

Webb said a regional analysis was done based on where trucks would be coming from into the facility. Trucks would not be permitted to make a left turn out of the loading facility.

Fire Truck Site Access/Bike Racks
An evaluation concluded there was adequate clearance to accommodate fire truck access, Webb said.

In addition to the current number of bike racks, four more are being proposed to the commercial side.

“One to two racks at the tunnel on the eastern side and we think two more bike racks in the plaza space near Bloomfield Avenue and Lackawanna is needed,” Webb said.

Talley announced a special meeting will be held by the planning board on May 14 in order to continue testimony to include onsite parking. Access to the pedestrian tunnel would also be reviewed at the next meeting.

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