The NJTPA Board of Trustees endorsed seven projects to receive $2.8 million in federal funding through the fiscal year 2013 Local Safety and High Risk Rural Road programs at its Sept. 24 meeting.
The programs provide competitive grant funding for high-impact safety improvements that are “quick fix” in nature. The Local Safety Program funds remedies for documented safety hazards on county and local roads, while the High Risk Rural Roads Program pays for safety projects on rural road segments with crash rates that exceed the state average.
“These programs have a strong track record of success going back a decade,” said NJTPA Chairman and Hunterdon County Freeholder Matthew Holt. “With today’s projects included, the NJTPA has invested over $22 million in more than 70 places across the region to make travel safer.”
The following Local Safety Program projects were approved:
- Essex County: Park Avenue (CR 658) and 4th Street intersection upgrades, Newark, $470,000.
- Monmouth County: Shrewsbury Avenue and West Bergen Place/Dr. James Parker Boulevard intersection upgrades, Red Bank, $225,000.
- Newark: Broad Street and South Street intersection upgrades, $500,000
- Essex County: Intersection upgrades to Park Avenue at High Street and Glenwood Avenue, $630,000.
- The following High Risk Rural Roads Program projects were approved:
- Hunterdon County: Improvements to Little York Road/Pattenburg Road, Alexandria and Union, $300,000.
- Hunterdon County: Improvements to Byram-Kingwood Road, Kingwood, $380,000.
- Somerset County: Improvements to River Road, Hillsborough, $300,000
Additional details and multimedia related to each project, including photos of the locations, maps and handouts, are available here.
NJTPA Chairman and Hunterdon County Freeholder Matthew Holt discusses the NJTPA's Local Safety and High Risk Rural Roads programs at the September Board meeting.
Chairman Holt noted that due to funding limitations, several important and worthy applications that were also reviewed and recommended by a technical review committee could not be advanced in this round. He said the NJTPA would continue to work with the state move the projects forward.
“But this again demonstrates the bigger problem—our infrastructure investment needs far outstrip the resources available, and we still have no long-term federal funding solution in place,” Holt said. “We should never forget that our call for greater investment in transportation is tied directly to projects that can save lives and prevent injury.”
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NJTPA representatives joined local officials in September to celebrate the completion of a pair of local bridge projects.
Bergen County Executive and NJTPA Board member Kathleen Donovan led a ceremony on Sept. 7 to reopen and rededicate the Harold J. Dillard Memorial Bridge, which crosses the Hackensack River between Hackensack and Bogota on Court Street. The $20 million reconstruction of the circa-1908 span was completed with federal funding allocated through the NJTPA.
Bergen County Executive and NJTPA Board member Kathleen Donovan
at the new Harold J. Dillard Memorial Bridge
On Sept. 20, Somerset County Freeholder Deputy Director and NJTPA Board Secretary Peter S. Palmer and NJTPA Chairman and Hunterdon County Freeholder Matthew Holt were on hand for a ribbon-cutting for a new pedestrian bridge over Route 202/206 that links greenways in Bridgewater and Somerville. The NJTPA authorized $2 million in federal funding for the $3.6 million project, with the remainder coming from the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
NJTPA Secretary Peter Palmer (center, with scissors)
and Chairman Matthew Holt
attended a ceremony
for the opening of a new pedestrian bridge
in Somerset County.
“These are perfect examples of how the NJTPA invests federal funding in projects that are high priorities for our counties and cities —and that address our regional goals,” Holt said.
This month, the NJTPA began accepting applications for new candidate projects to undergo concept development through the NJTPA’s Local Capital Project Delivery Program, which can be instrumental in helping projects such as the two mentioned above advance from the drawing board to reality. The program is making available
$2.5 million in federal funding to support the advancement of priority local projects through the initial stages of the New Jersey Depart-ment of Transportation’s project delivery process.
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The region’s Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) are assisting commuters in coping with disruptions of commuting due to Hurricane Sandy. In particular, they can assist in matching commuters with ridesharing partners. The eight TMAs serving New Jersey also work with employers and local governments to promote transit use, operate shuttle services, and many other initiatives.
A map and contact information for the TMAs can be accessed at tmacouncilnj.org or at njtpa.org/Project/Mobility/TMA. Commuters or local organizations can also get assistance solving transportation problems related to Hurricane Sandy by calling the NJTPA at (973) 639-8400 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The NJTPA will provide guidance to appropriate TMAs, government programs or agencies.
The TMAs are: Cross County Connection (south-ern counties), Greater Mercer TMA (Mercer and Ocean), HART (Hunterdon), Hudson TMA (Hudson), Keep Middlesex Moving (Middlesex), Meadowlink (Bergen and portions of Hudson, Passaic, Union, Essex and Monmouth), Ridewise (Somerset), TransOptions (Morris, Sussex, Warren, and portions of Passaic and Essex).
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NJTPA Board members and staff recently participated in an initial standing committee meeting for a consortium that is drafting a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development (RPSD) for northern New Jersey. The NJTPA is a member of a broad consortium, led by Rutgers University, to develop the RPSD through a $5 million federal grant.
More than 150 people, including elected officials, city and county representatives, business professionals, civic organizations and planners, participated in the Sept. 25 meeting in Elizabeth. After sketching out the overall structure and objectives of the consortium, attendees took part in a discussion and interactive survey exercise to gauge shared values, followed by separate breakout sessions to talk about priorities, challenges and goals.
In addition, the NJTPA co-leads (with Rutgers University) the Local Government Capacity Grant Program, a supplemental assistance program to support the participation of counties and cities in the RPSD process. NJTPA staff has performed several site visits to discuss potential grant opportunities with county and city staffs. An information workshop was held to explain the stipulations of the grant and allow applicants an opportunity to ask questions. NJTPA staff also will lead the RPSD’s public involvement efforts.
Attendees take part in breakout group discussions at a Sept. 25 meeting about
the Regional Plan for Sustainable Development in Elizabeth
There will be additional grant opportunities for municipalities, counties, non-governmental organizations and other parties in northern New Jersey through the Local Demonstration Project program led by NJ TRANSIT (also a member of the RPSD consortium). The program will provide technical assistance to local partners to undertake strategic planning activities that promote livable and sustainable development near transit hubs. A public information session on the Local Demonstration Project Program is scheduled for Nov. 7 at Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg.
For more information about the RPSD, visit www.policy.rutgers.edu/njscc.
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The last remaining rail carfloat terminal in northern New Jersey is being rehabilitated to handle thousands of additional freight rail cars each year. Laura Shabe of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey gave a presentation to the NJTPA Freight Initiatives Committee on Oct. 15 about the facility, which allows freight trains to travel by barge from Brooklyn to the Greenville section of Jersey City, where they connect with existing rail tracks.
The operation effectively removes freight trucks from the region’s highways and cross-
Hudson bridges. According to Shabe, the carfloat facility will be able to handle 18,000 freight rail cars a year in its first phase as planned improvements such as the reconfiguration of the rail yard, and rehabilitation of the transfer bridges, barges and support tracks are completed over the next few years. It’s currently on pace to handle 2,400 freight rail cars next year.
The Greenville Yard carfloat operation dates back to the early 1900s and was once one of many on the harbor.
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Jim Kirkos, President and CEO of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber, delivered a presentation at the Sept. 24 NJTPA Board meeting outlining the vital role transportation investments play in supporting jobs and economic development in the area.
According to Kirkos, a recent study showed that travelers to the Meadowlands spent $225 million on transportation in 2009. He noted that a series of key transportation investments—such as the opening of the Secaucus Transfer rail station, road and bridge projects and adaptive traffic light signal technology currently being installed—are contributing to the success of the Meadowlands.
Kirkos said this infrastructure will be as important as ever in the year ahead, as the Meadowlands plays host to major events like the Super Bowl and Wrestlemania and the new American Dream entertainment complex opens.
NJTPA Executive Director Mary K. Murphy served as moderator of a panel discussion at a Meadowlands Transportation Summit held on Sept. 13. The panel also included New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner James Simpson and NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein, both of whom are members of the NJTPA Board.
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Somerset County Freeholder Deputy Director and NJTPA Board Secretary Peter S. Palmer was recognized on the floor of the House of Representatives on Sept. 12 by Congressman Leonard Lance for his long history of public service. This year marks 50 years since Palmer was first elected to his local school board in 1962. He has held several elected offices since then, including Borough Councilman and Mayor of Bernardsville, and Freeholder beginning in 1997.
Palmer joined the NJTPA Board in 1999, serving as its chairman from 2004 to 2006. He founded the NJTPA’s Freight Initiatives Committee in 2002 and has served as its chairman each year since.
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The NJTPA is moving forward with a pair of pilot projects under its new Local Planning Assistance Program, which will provide technical assistance to municipalities to help facilitate more transit-supportive and walkable communities.
The NJTPA kicked off the first of the pilot projects, the Morristown Unified Land Use and Mobility Plan, on Sept. 24. This project will create a plan that addresses Morristown’s land use and transportation needs in a single set of goals, objectives, actions and performance measures.
The NJTPA will assist Morristown in the creation of a plan that
improve mobility for pedestrians, transit riders and motorists.
The second pilot project, the Bound Brook Urban Design Plan Implementation Project, will incorporate a number of regulatory updates and planning efforts to implement Bound Brook’s award-winning Urban Design Plan and make this state-designated Transit Village more attractive to developers, residents, businesses and visitors.
In addition, the NJTPA is working with the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) Office of Strategic Initiatives to develop an informational presentation that can be delivered to municipalities interested in exploring their potential for transit-supportive and transit-oriented development.
For more information on the Local Planning Assistance Program, contact Scott Rowe at email@example.com.
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The NJTPA held a two-day workshop Oct. 23 and 24 that focused on ways to use “scenario planning” to guide some of its most important transportation planning efforts. About 100 representatives from federal, state, and local agencies participated.
During the workshop, officials from the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration (both were co-sponsors) provided a federal overview of scenario planning, which entails using tools to simulate future transportation and land use trends, and then soliciting input on those scenarios for long-term planning efforts. Peer presentations were given on successful scenario planning efforts conducted recently in southwestern Pennsylvania, Chicago and Utah.
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