FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEWARK – The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) has authorized three studies exploring improved transportation options in Hudson County, two focusing on Jersey City and one on Jersey City/Bayonne. These options include the potential for new transit services in and around Liberty State Park, creating a bike and pedestrian greenway along the filled Morris Canal and a new Bus Rapid Transit service between Bayonne and Jersey City.
The studies are among 11 county- and city-led studies slated for funding in the NJTPA’s next work program. The NJTPA Board of Trustees endorsed the Fiscal Year 2010-2011 Unified Planning Work Program at its May meeting. Funding will begin on July 1.
"Hudson County residents live in the most densely populated county in the state, and we need to give them new ways to travel without adding to traffic congestion," said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, who serves as the NJTPA’s Second Vice-Chairman. "These studies will help provide better access to jobs, recreation, shopping and other destinations."
One study will examine the potential costs and benefits of improved mass transit serving Liberty State Park and adjacent residential development and businesses, including the light rail station and nearby industrial areas. While mass transit currently serves the western and northern edges of the park, there is no mass transit service to the interior of the 1,212-acre park, which sees 6 million visitors each year.
"Liberty State Park is a vital natural resource and an attraction for people from throughout New Jersey and indeed from around the world," said Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy of Jersey City, also an NJTPA Board member. "With this study, we can find approaches to using mass transit to create more effective access to the park and also links to the larger transportation network."
Another study will prepare a plan for a bicycle and pedestrian greenway along the 6-mile path of the historic Morris Canal in Jersey City, most of which has been filled. The Morris Canal links the Hudson and Hackensack rivers and is largely publically owned. It is anticipated that the greenway would not only be used for recreation but as a travelway for commuting and other regular trips.
A third study is a preliminary examination of the feasibility of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service between Bayonne and the Greenville section of Jersey City and the Journal Square Transportation Center in Jersey City. BRT services that will be explored include kiosks for passengers to easily and quickly purchase bus tickets to reduce boarding time; intelligent transportation systems which will provide countdown timers for real-time bus arrivals and bus information at the bus shelter and via website; optimizing the distance between bus stops with specific BRT branding; and specialized BRT vehicles for faster boarding and alighting of pre-ticketed passengers.
The three studies are part of the NJTPA’s Subregional Studies Program, which provides two-year grants on a competitive basis to the 13 counties and two cities on the NJTPA Board. The two Jersey City studies are estimated to cost $220,000 each and the Jersey City/Bayonne BRT study is estimated to cost $250,000. All three studies will be paid for primarily with federal funds.
The Subregional Studies Program is designed to help counties and cities develop transportation improvement strategies rooted in the NJTPA’s Regional Transportation Plan. Ultimately, the program aims to generate project concepts ready for further development or implementation consistent with regional planning goals. The NJTPA Board approved the most recent group of Subregional Studies at its Board meeting in May.
The NJTPA is the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for 13 northern New Jersey Counties. Under federal legislation, MPOs provide a forum where local officials, public transportation providers and state agency representatives can come together and cooperatively plan to meet the region’s current and future transportation needs. It establishes the region’s eligibility to receive federal tax dollars for transportation projects.
The NJTPA Board consists of one local elected official from each of the 13 counties in the region (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren), and the cities of Newark and Jersey City. The Board also includes a Governor’s Representative, the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, the Executive Directors of NJ Transit and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and a Citizen’s Representative appointed by the Governor.
David Behrend, NJTPA