Haddon Avenue: Collingswood, New Jersey


As the main street of Collingswood, a borough with 14,000 residents, Haddon Avenue is a mixture of small town friendliness and larger city diversity. The tree-lined avenue with its historic buildings, wide sidewalks, town clock, period lamp posts, flower baskets, and pole banners captures the look and feel of late 19th and early 20th century small town America. At the same time, a more contemporary side to the avenue is making Collingswood one of New Jersey's smart growth leaders. Transit-oriented development known as the LumberYard is being completed this year.

Designated Area

Ten blocks between Homestead Avenue to the east and Madison Avenue to the west.

The Borough of Collingswood holds more than 40 arts- and entertainment-related events along Haddon Avenue each year including the May Fair, which features more than 100 artists and four stages of live music. Photo courtesy of Cassandra Duffey.

Planning Excellence

Haddon Avenue's current fortunes have been years in the planning and making. Under the leadership of Mayor Jim Maley and past and current borough commissioners, a Master Plan for Collingswood was completed in 1997.

Twelve years later the plan, refined by the Haddon Avenue Corridor Study and the Heart of Collingswood study, continues to guide implementation and continuing redevelopment along Haddon Avenue and elsewhere in the community.

Decorated for the holiday season, Haddon Avenue radiates a distinctive sense of place for the 14,000 residents of Collingswood. Photo courtesy of Action Sports Photograph.

Defining Characteristics, Features

Turn-of-the-Century Character

  • In 1871, the busy Pennsylvania Railroad made Collingswood a stop on the popular Atlantic City run; area grew quickly and by early 20th century Haddon Avenue was Collingswood's commercial center
  • Collingswood Commercial Historic District listed as a state historic area and is on the National Register of Historic Places (1990); District contains 79 buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries given their significance and well-preserved condition; buildings located on eight of Haddon Avenue's 10 blocks designated as an APA Great Street and along one block of Collings Avenue (just off Haddon Avenue)
  • Local historic district also designated along Haddon Avenue, adding further protection for historic properties on street from being altered or compromised
  • Adaptive reuse along the avenue includes a modern office building occupying an old school house and a seafood distributor using a restored historic gas station

Years-Long Revitalization Efforts

  • Haddon Avenue begins to rebound in 1990s after decades of blight and disinvestment; leading the way is revitalization of Collingswood; first project involves public-private joint venture purchase of existing Sutton Towers high-rise residential building; city eventually turns $3 million profit on building's sale
  • Two capital improvement and infrastructure repair programs lead to streetscape improvements along avenue including a Millennium Clock, Memorial Walk, lamp post flower baskets, pole banners, street trees, street furniture
  • Haddon Avenue Business Improvement District organized to promote commerce along avenue and further enhance avenue's commercial area; district entity managed by Collingswood Partners Inc.

New Jersey Transit-Oriented Development Model

  • In 2007 Collingswood becomes first community in New Jersey selected for transit-oriented development at a Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO) commuter train stop on Haddon Avenue; of 13 municipalities with park-and-ride stations along commuter train line, Collingswood was most actively pursued opportunity
  • First stage of the transit village proposal for Collingswood involves city-owned site named the LumberYard, a mixed-use development on Haddon Avenue with 120 residential condominiums, 21 shops, an underground parking garage, and a fully equipped outdoor stage; completed 2009; near PATCO commuter train station
  • Second stage of transit-oriented development underway on Atlantic Avenue, one block next to Haddon Avenue; involves approximately 9 acres previously used for surface parking; new development will include high-density, mixed-use residential buildings, parking structures, civic plaza, streetscape improvements
  • Bus service also available along Haddon Avenue

Community Events

  • Borough holds more than 40 arts- and entertainment-related events a year along street; view events as one of the main engines for stimulating the local economy; the annual arts and crafts May Fair, introduced in 1979, features more than 100 artists and four stages of live music
  • Other major events besides May Fair include August Craft Show, September Gala, October Book Fair; Haddon Avenue closed to traffic for these events
  • Bustling farmer's market operates Saturday mornings; recently named best small market in the nation by American Farmer's Market Association

Capital improvement and infrastructure repair programs led to streetscape improvements along Haddon Avenue including the Millennium Clock, lamp post flower baskets, pole banners, street trees, and benches. Photo courtesy of Cassandra Duffey.