Program promotes dense, mixed-use development near transit facilities
(cnbnews.net) Trenton – The New Jersey Department of Transportation today announced that East Orange (Essex County) and Dunellen (Middlesex County) have been accepted into the Transit Village program that now includes 26 municipalities statewide.
The program provides participating towns with planning expertise and grant opportunities to redevelop land near train or other transit facilities in a way that promotes economic activity and the use of public transportation. All Transit Village proposals must include residential components.
“The Transit Village program promotes a desirable style of development that creates car-free opportunities for residents and visitors to walk to and from transit facilities and to and from local shopping, dining, employment and other destinations,” said NJDOT Commissioner James Simpson. “Transit Villages reduce roadway congestion, benefit the environment and help create healthful, vibrant neighborhoods.”
The East Orange and Dunellen proposals include plans to promote the use of bicycles, consistent with Complete Streets principles that encourage the safe accommodation of all users of streets and roads, including pedestrians and bicyclists. East Orange included a Complete Streets policy in its Transit Village ordinance.
Dunellen has identified three parcels totaling 23.5 acres for redevelopment near its NJ TRANSIT Raritan Valley Line train station.
The East Orange Transit Village District encompasses six redevelopment areas along a five-block area of Main Street bookended by the NJ TRANSIT Morris & Essex Lines Brick Church and East Orange train stations, and also includes a streetscape improvement plan for nearby Central Avenue.
Transit Village designation provides:
· State of New Jersey commitment to the municipality’s redevelopment vision
· Coordination among State agencies that comprise the Transit village Task Force and technical assistance from state agencies
· Priority consideration for certain funding opportunities
New Jersey’s first Transit Village was designated in 1999. The roster now includes Pleasantville, Morristown, Rutherford, South Amboy, South Orange, Riverside, Rahway, Metuchen, Belmar, Collingswood, Bloomfield, Bound Brook, Cranford, Matawan, New Brunswick, Journal Square/Jersey City, Netcong, Elizabeth City, Burlington City, Orange, Somerville, Montclair, Linden, West Windsor, East Orange and Dunellen.
While there was no specific line item in the NJDOT FY 12 budget for Transit Village grants under Local Aid, 14 Transit Village municipalities were awarded $4.2 million through the Municipal Aid grant program to advance projects within their Transit Village districts.
Such funding opportunities remain in place for FY 13 and will be bolstered by a $1 million grant program specifically for Transit Village projects. Applications are now being accepted by NJDOT through October 16, 2012 for FY 13 grants.
More information about the Transit Village program is available online at the NJDOT website,www.nj.gov/transportation, by clicking on Community Programs and selecting Transit Village Initiative from the drop-down menu.