FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEWARK – The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) has authorized a study that will identify transportation improvements that can help advance smart growth and economic development initiatives throughout Somerset County. The study, called "Using Access and Mobility Improvements to Support Redevelopment Opportunities in Somerset County," is one of 11 county- and city-led studies slated for funding in the NJTPA’s next work program.
The NJTPA Board of Trustees endorsed the study as part of its Unified Planning Work Program at its May meeting. Funding for the project will begin on July 1.
The study will conduct a thorough analysis of officially designated redevelopment sites and other smart growth/economic development areas to determine their current and future transportation needs, taking into consideration the extra traffic they may generate. Special attention will be paid to pedestrian, bicycle, and mass transit needs that are sometimes overlooked in the traffic impact studies typically conducted for development projects.
Once the assessments are completed, a ranking system will be used to select sites that will have sketch plans prepared showing the recommended transportation upgrades overlaid on aerial photographs. In addition, the study will produce specific land use and zoning recommendations that the municipalities could use during their redevelopment planning efforts.
"A healthy transportation network goes hand in hand with a healthy economy," said Somerset County Freeholder and NJTPA Board member Peter S. Palmer. "This study will determine some key transportation investments that can be made to help encourage important redevelopment opportunities and smart growth in Somerset County."
The study is projected to cost $300,000, which will be paid for primarily with federal funds.
The effort is part of the NJTPA’s Subregional Studies Program, which provides two-year grants on a competitive basis to the 13 counties and two cities represented by the NJTPA Board. The 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 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