BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
Plans for an upgrade to a one-block portion of Glenridge Avenue between Bloomfield Avenue and Forest Street were unveiled at the June 18 meeting of the Montclair Historic Preservation Commission.
The direction of the one-way street will be reversed, with traffic flowing east and right turns from Bloomfield Avenue allowed. Parking will be eliminated along the north side of the street, and adjustments will be made to parking spaces on the south side.
The reversal of direction will give motorists easier access to the new municipal garage on Glenridge Avenue that is expected to open sometime next year. The street overhaul project is part of the county’s overhaul of Bloomfield Avenue presented last October.
According to Superintendent of Parking Manny Germano, the contractor is scheduled to start construction of the Glenridge deck at the end of July. The deck is expected to be finished around September 2021.
County officials said that they hope to break ground on the overhaul this fall, with construction lasting until the fall of 2021. County projects were never shut down during the pandemic.
The project was met positively by most, but at the Oct. 15 Township Council meeting some residents — and Councilman-at-large Rich McMahon — were against the change to Glenridge, voicing concern over the reversal of the direction and the effects it might have on traffic and businesses.
Bloomfield Avenue, officially part of County Route 506, is owned by the county and is a major transportation link. The project will encompass a 1.2-mile section beginning at the intersection of North and South Mountain avenues and ending at the intersection of Maple Avenue and Pine Street. The current 10-traffic-light section will have 11 lights when done — the signal at Glenridge Avenue will be removed, but lights will be added at Midland Avenue and Seymour Street.
Design phase costs are being covered by the county, while the federal Local Safety Program will fund the construction costs, estimated at $15 million.
The main impetus for the overhaul is the problematic and dangerous traffic flow around the Five Corners intersection — where South Fullerton Avenue, North Fullerton Avenue, Church Street, Glenridge Avenue and Bloomfield Avenue converge — said Martin Schwartz, who has lobbied the county for a change for more than a decade.
County engineers said that the overhaul has been in the works since 2006, and that they met with town planners, the engineer, and committees to come up with the plans. Maser Consulting is doing the designs.