In order to learn more about how people use various parts of Hammonton, community input beyond what was received at the public workshop was collected. Community members were asked to take part in this process by completing and returning a mailed survey, which provided additional guidance to the planning team. Online versions were also available.
90% of those responding to the survey live in Hammonton , 79.8% of the respondents have lived in Hammonton for more than 15 years, 23% frequent Hammonton daily, 32% frequent Hammonton a few times a week , 28% frequent Hammonton once every few weeks, 33% go to the White Horse Pike daily, 50% go to the White Horse Pike several times a week.
• Downtown Results:
96% come to Hammonton by car, most of the rest walk, and a few ride bikes. Most come to town to eat, go to the drug store, shop, or utilize services such as hair salons.
Respondents said that the best looking places in town are: Annata, Trina’s, Simply Stationary, Casciano’s, Kelly’s Hallmark, Town Hall, the Old Railroad Station and the intersection at Egg Harbor Rd and Bellevue by the consignment shop.
70-90% rated the following as the most important issues to address: The mix of shops downtown, Attracting new businesses downtown, Ability to find parking , The appearance of shop fronts, windows, and signs , The general appearance of buildings.
If a building along Bellevue Avenue between Tilton Street and Egg Harbor Road were to be replaced, most people rated the following design features as important: Architectural style, Facade materials and colors, Night lighting of facades and windows, Relationship to adjacent buildings (in terms of design, height, scale, style, etc.), Shop signs, Walkways to rear parking.
People feel that what is most needed in town are: More nice little shops/boutiques or mom and pop specialty stores, Up-scale or name-brand clothing stores, Bakery, More upscale restaurants Variety store, Bookstore, Children’s clothing store , Shoe stores. Most people do not want housing downtown, although a few respondents favored some up-scale apartments or senior citizen residences.
Train Use: 80% take train to Atlantic City; most of the rest take it to Philadelphia; a few take it to Lindenwold.
• White Horse Pike Results:
Most people like: Walmart , ShopRite, Area’s cleanliness and variety of shopping and restaurants.
Most people dislike: Traffic, Speeding, Traffic lights, “Impersonal” parking lots, Any empty buildings.
The issues that are most critical to those surveyed (in order) about considering the future of this part of White Horse Pike are as follows: Traffic Congestion , Nighttime lighting , The general appearance of buildings , The ability to get from store to store without getting back in White Horse Pike , The appearance of the streetscape/landscape , The appearance of shop fronts and signs , A "gateway" to downtown , The mix of stores on the Pike , The appearance of parking lots , The ability to find parking.
Workshop 2 - "Talking Cards"
September 15, 2009
Members of the community, grouped at tables of randomly selected groups, worked with topic-based “Trading Cards.” A facilitator lead the group through each card, explaining the topics and then allowing time for rankings and comments to be written by the participants. The facilitator then lead the group in a brief discussion of what they felt the most important 2-3 topics were, and what their comments were for each. Finally, a spokesperson chosen by the group had an opportunity to summarize their observations and concerns to the entire room. Consultants projected these summarizations for the group to see on a large screen.
During public sessions, Brown and Keener found that participants strongly supported maintaining the pedestrian-friendly character of downtown, preferred pedestrian-scaled signage, large shop windows, and narrow setbacks from the street, and viewed easy access to parking as important. Interestingly, participants also thought that street-front entrances and large shop windows were desirable on the White Horse Pike. There was strong sentiment that large, blank walls were inappropriate in both the downtown and on the Pike. Finally, participants thought it was very important that buildings “fit in” with their surroundings and that they not be too tall or too wide.
Workshop 3 - Bus Tour & Public Forum
December 12, 2009
A bus tour was held to bring local stakeholders up to speed on the Hammonton Downtown Demonstration Project, and to educate them on Form-Based Coding concepts and benefits. The event was organized around 8 stops around town, each with distinct character. After the tour, consultants presented a slide show to re-emphasize and re-connect the tour experience to the important concepts. Citizens were able to express their thoughts in this forum.
The economics experts working with the planners note that Hammonton captures only 27% of the regional retail market. They are convinced that appropriate development would allow Hammonton to capture a significantly larger share. Right now, Hammonton has a little more than half a million square feet of retail space downtown and almost 2 million square feet on the White Horse Pike. The planners feel that Hammonton could develop another 140 thousand square feet downtown and almost 400,000 square feet on the White Horse Pike. Those numbers represent about a 25% increase in retail floor space.