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1921: Jersey City Under Commission Government
A Book of Achievement

The End Of Macadam

This Web version:
COPYRIGHT 2003, GET NJ

EFORE the advent of Commission Government macadam was popular with the taxpayer because the initial cost was low. Once laid, the cost of maintenance fell upon the city. Besides wearing out quickly, requiring repairs annually, it was dusty in dry weather and muddy in wet. The upkeep of these thirty miles of macadam cost the city a large sum of money annually.

Commissioner Fagen refused to waste any more money on building or repairing macadam, instead he had asphalt laid, with the result that now there are only three or four short blocks of macadam, and these blocks will he soon paved with asphalt also.

The Public Service Railway Company is hound by their franchises to repair the pavement between their tracks and eighteen inches outside of the rails, and to keep their tracks and pavement in good condition, but this duty is not performed by the railway company.

A New Policy.

The City Commission has no jurisdiction over this matter. It is a matter for the State Public Utility Commissioners. Failing to get the proper response from the Public Service Railway Company in regard to the pavement, and because of the dangerous condition that in many instances existed between the trolley tracks and the eighteen inches outside which they are required to keep in good condition, Commissioner Fagen has now adopted the policy of having the city make the repairs which the company should make, and then make the company repay the city. Some of these bills are now in litigation.

An improvement that Commissioner Fagen brought about is a continuous asphalt pavement on the easterly side of the hill, from the Bayonne city line to the West Hoboken line. This was done by placing sheet asphalt pavement on the old paving blocks of Astor Place, Summit Avenue, Baldwin Avenue and Webster Avenue.

Projected Extension of Central Avenue.

Upon the recommendation of Commissioner Fagen the Commissioners have decided to extend Central Avenue from its (lead end at Hohoken Avenue through to Pavonia Avenue, with a width varying from 150 feet to 75 feet. This extension will bring Central Avenue within reach of the great tube zone at Summit Avenue, and will make Central Avenue one of the finest business streets in the metropolitan district.

Street Lighting.

The street lighting system inaugurated by Commissioner Ferris has been continued and augmented by Commissioner Fagen. The city is lighted under contract with the Public Service Electric & Gas Company. During the war period the government would not allow any additional lights to he installed, but when that embargo was lifted the placing of new lights was renewed by the city. A new style of lamp has been strung under the elevated railroad on Central Avenue, and under the railroad trestle on Railroad Avenue from Newark Avenue to Brunswick Street, with globes of non-glare glass that illuminate every part of the roadway without any glare that interferes with vehicular traffic. Additional lights have been placed upon Montgomery Street, from Grove Street to Baldwin Avenue, and on Mercer Street, Grand Street, Pacific Avenue, Communipaw Avenue, Ocean Avenue, Old Bergen Road and Jackson Avenue.

Department Garage and Repair Shop.

To keep abreast of the times, Commissioner Fagen has gradually motorized the department wherever possible. A central garage for the department was built on Montgomery Park, where a fully equipped machine shop and storeroom is maintained, and all cars of the department are stored and cared for, and all necessary repairs made.

Bureau of Removal of Ashes and Garbage.

The removal of ashes and garbage of the city is done by contract under competitive bidding. The supervision of removing the ashes is car- ried on by a superintendent and a corps of inspectors. The city is divided into collection districts, and the garbage is collected in each of these collection districts twice each week. Through the intelligent handling of this bureau by its superintendent and inspectors, the work has been brought to a high state of efficiency. During the very severe winter of 1920, when the snow was piled in mounds throughout the city, the ashes and garbage were removed more promptly and completely than was done in any other city in this vicinity.

Keeping Streets Clean.

The efficiency of the Street Cleaning Bureau has been increased by intelligent propaganda among the people. Leaflets containing city ordinances are delivered to every householder in the city, instructing them what should be put in ash cans, and requesting them not to litter the streets. The schools were asked to lend their aid, as were also the police. The result of this propaganda showed itself almost immediately in the appearance of the city, whereas before that the streets were littered with papers which added to the work of the street cleaners and made the streets very untidy.

There was inaugurated during the last three years, from the month of May to October, a system of early collections of ashes and garbage. Two-thirds of the ashes were removed before the street cleaners went to work in the morning, thus adding to the cleanliness and tidy appearance of the streets. It also added to the sanitary conditions in general to have the ashes and garbage removed before the heat of the day during the hot season of the summer.

Sewer Cleaning.

Commissioner Fagen has inaugurated up-to-date methods in cleaning sewers. He has purchased a gasoline motor-driven sewer cleaning machine, which has proved very effective. The city is also experimenting with a water nozzle, fastened to the end of a fire hose, which is then attached to a fire hydrant and the pressure applied. The jet is directed opposite to the point of the nozzle, causing the sewage to be backed up to the manhole through which the hose is placed. It is planned also to install a portable centrifugal pump, mounted on wheels, which will be placed directly over the manhole and the sewage sucked into water tight carts. Periodical cleanings and flushings of sewers will keep them in proper working condition and prevent accumulation of filth, from which generate obnoxious gases and disease germs.

Street Cleaning.

The Street Cleaning Department under Commissioner Fagen has greatly improved. Additional men and new machinery have made possible more frequent cleanings of business and residential sections of the city. The collection of ashes and garbage is now made before the street cleaning men have gone over the streets. The working conditions of the men have been improved, resulting in the willing co-operation of the men in this bureau.

Bureau of Street Repairs.

The Bureau of Street Repairs has been reorganized and the work of repairing depressions and holes in the streets has been systematized.

It must be remembered that the streets of Jersey City are subject to more heavy traffic than any other city in the country. Heavy motor trucks from places as far as Cincinnati and from other Southern and Western cities, as well as from the neighboring cities, pass over our streets on the way to New York and places as far east as Boston. These trucks are very destructive to pavements. This is one of the handicaps under which the Commissioner of Streets is compelled to work.

Street Improvements Under Contract.

Commissioner Fagen has made many radical changes in the method of street improvements under contract. After making a thorough study of the system then in vogue in Jersey City, he visited other cities, studied their methods and worked out an improved system for Jersey City.

He drafted new specifications for street improvements, which secured for the city open competitive bidding and material of the highest quality, and the construction of improvements performed by certain definite methods under intelligent inspection.

In order to secure asphalt up to the new standard specifications, the Commissioner had a system of inspection which prominent engineers have said could not be improved upon. He not only has inspectors in the street to take the temperature of the asphalt and see that it is properly laid and rolled, but also at the plant he has inspectors to see that the proper mixture is made for each batch that is sent out. As a check he also has samples of the asphalt taken from the street and sent by messenger to the chemist to make immediate analysis and report daily.

Bergen and Sip Avenue Widening.

Commissioner Fagen has commenced condemnation proceedings for the ten-foot widening of Bergen Avenue from Hudson Boulevard to Bergen Square, and a five-foot widening of Sip Avenue from Bergen Avenue to Summit Avenue, for these streets are the main arteries from the tube station at Journal Square, the property abutting is increasing in value daily, and costly buildings are being erected in this neighborhood, and delay in widening these streets would cost the city many thousands of dollars in excess of what it will cost at this time.

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