Watchung Plaza

Top 10 Walkable Places in Montclair

1. The train station (any one of the six)

2.Watchung Plaza for a dozen bagels on Sunday morning

3.The farmer's market on a Saturday in June for local rhubarb and asparagus

4.Tierney's Tavern on the way home from work for a retro burger and beer (no phone, no credit cards!)

5.The Wellmont Theater on a Saturday night to see David Byrne, Kathy Griffith or Rosie O'Donnell

6.Tinga Tacqueria on Monday and Tuesday nights when kids eat for $2

7.The "all children" playground in Edgemont Park on a weekday afternoon in spring

8.Anderson Park on the way to work for early morning Tai Chi

9.American Royal Hardware (aka Mr. Charlie's) for that whatchamadoohickey that you'll never find at Home Depot

10. Van Vleck House and Garden for a leafy respite

Find Your Community Walkability Rating

What Is Your Community Walkability Score?

 

walking in Montclair neighborhood

walking in Montclair neighborhood

 

I'm a big fan of the rating website, www.walkscore.com, but its algorithm relies mostly on the proximity of a house to stores and community resources.  But to find walkability rating, it's not just about distance -- it's also about the quality and ease of the walk.  Factors like wide sidewalks, shade trees, good lighting and flat topography matter a great deal in determining a walkability rating.  I downloaded this walkability checklist from www.walkinginfo.org and walked through my own Watchung Plaza neighborhood in Montclair.

Here's what I found, both good and bad.

What makes Montclair a Walkable Community?

 

Montclair NJ

walking in Montclair neighborhood

 

  • Lot's of large trees to keep the sun off your back
  • Most streets not to wide to cross
  • Most streets have sidewalks
  • Streets and sidewalks are free of litter and debris
  • No loose dogs
  • Curb cuts in many sidewalks (for strollers and wheelchairs)
  • Flat heading East toward the train station

Things to Improve...

  • Many sidewalks uneven and cracked from tree roots
  • Spotty lighting - some areas well lit, others not so much.
  • Steep hill heading West toward the "Mont" of Montclair
  • Tricky intersection at Park St. and Watchung Ave

How walkable is your neighborhood?  Download the checklist and let me know.

May in Montclair!

magnoliaMay in Montclair is hard to describe...but I'm going to try. First, it's incredibly beautiful. The magnolia trees and all the fruit trees are in bloom, so it's pink and bright, and when the wind blows, petals rain down like confetti. Gardens blossom, parks fill up, people stroll leisurely after their dinner. But that's just the beginning.

May in Montclair is a "thing." So much so, there's a web page devoted to it. There are so many happenings and events it's almost impossible to keep track of them all. For example, there's an Herb Sale at the Montclair Historical Society, a Plant Sale at Van Vleck House, Hawk Watching at Mills Reservation, a May Day performance at Watchung Plaza, a Digital Scavenger Hunt for teens, a performance of "Hair" at the college, a Walking Tour, a Street Fair, a Jewelry Making Workshop at the art museum, an Author Event at the library, and that's just one weekend!

The first weekend in May also opens the Montclair Film Festival as well as the high school production of "Rent." And May 8th marks the opening ceremony of the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens, a public garden displaying a world-renowned collection of irises. This list goes on and on.

If you're visiting Montclair this month, to look at houses or just to get to know the area, I urge you to take a little extra time to see for yourself what May in Montclair is like. It's really pretty magical.