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Tackling Truck Routing and Curb Management

Posted: 6/20/2024 3:17:28 PM

The explosion of e-commerce since the pandemic makes it easy for consumers to order almost anything at any time but the flip side is that it’s created challenges for towns and cities overrun with delivery trucks.

The NJTPA’s Freight Initiatives Committee hosted a panel discussion during its June 17 meeting, featuring three planners in the region to provide their perspectives on truck routing and curb management.

“If you are going to guarantee delivery of something within an hour, you can’t have it on the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel to be delivered into Manhattan," said Alison Conway, associate professor of civil engineering at The City College of New York’s Grove School of Engineering “So that means we have to have distribution facilities in the heart of the city, which would have been unheard of 10 or 15 years ago,” she said. That’s led to the emergence of combined retail distribution models, where retail stores have become delivery points, as well as “dark stores,” which are retail stores that don’t provide a retail function but serve as small-scale distribution facilities fulfilling on-demand, even 15-minute deliveries, mainly via e-bike.

The City Council recently approved the first major rezoning in New York City since the early 1970s. The changes have the potential to enable some innovative distribution, Conway said, such as the allowing the development of micro distribution facilities in commercial districts zoned primarily for retail, and and flexible use of private parking garages, which have become underutilized in many cities with the shift to work from home.

The growing use of E-bikes, including E-cargo bikes, for deliveries is an area where “the industry is ahead of regulation so there’s still more work needed to figure out exactly where we define the vehicle as a bicycle and a motor vehicle,” Conway said. “We need to figure out how to set uniform regulations for these things."

Freight and Complete Streets
Kristen Scudder, Freight Program Manager for the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) , which covers nine counties in the Philadelphia region, including parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, discussed the Philadelphia Truck Network and Complete Streets Integration Guidebook. It was developed in conjunction with Philadelphia but many elements are applicable around the region and beyond.

"Freight considerations are not only about the efficiency and effectiveness of goods movement, they’re really more about the safety and quality of life of other road users and of members of our community,” Scudder said."We have clear networks for other modes on our streets” -- cars, bikes, transit – but what’s mostly lacking, Scudder said. is a truck network. Defining a truck network can help communities better understand where trucks are moving and be used across all transportation planning efforts, she added.

Kevin Force, Supervising Planner at the Hudson County Division of Planning served as program manager for the Hudson County Truck Routes Assessment, funded through the NJTPA’s Subregional Studies Program. The assessment offered a variety of recommendations, organized around the needs of the commercial, residential, and industrial sectors to address issues like delivery trucks using local streets as cut-throughs, the need for loading zones, and trucks operating in restricted areas.

In commercial or mixed-use districts, Force said, designated curbed loading zones at peak delivery times could serve as parking at other times and different pricing levels could encourage the turnover of those spaces. In residential areas, consolidated deliveries and the use of e-cargo bikes could be encouraged. Industrial areas are about accommodating large trucks while reducing emissions and noise and the study found a need for truck parking and rest stops.

A recording of the FIC meeting can be accessed here.

New safety data dashboard is a tool to understand, address crash patterns

Posted: 6/18/2024 11:14:52 AM

NJ Traffic Safety Overview dashboardA wealth of travel safety data can now be accessed through a web dashboard thanks to the New Jersey Safety and Health Outcomes Center. The organization, launched 13 years ago, is compiling and consolidating data from various sources in a publicly accessible website for use by safety planners and practitioners, among others. 

“Our goal really is to reimagine how data—particularly traffic safety data—are collected, integrated, analyzed and shared to support safe transport in New Jersey,” said Allison E. Curry, who is director of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She spoke about the dashboard at the June 10 meeting of the NJTPA’s Regional Transportation Advisory Committee.

The dashboard draws upon a data warehouse built by the New Jersey Safety and Health Outcomes Center, which includes various kinds of safety data from 2004 through 2020, including data on crashes, driver licensing, EMS activity, trauma center registrations and discharges, and more. She said integrating all the data is a “laborious process.”. It includes 125 million records on 24,000 individuals who are tracked over time.

Presentation graphicShe said consolidating the data serves a vital purpose since the official state crash reports miss one-third of injuries because they don’t capture data from hospitals. Integrating this and other data sources, the Center presents a more complete picture of traffic safety across the state.

The database includes geocoded data on where people involved in crashes live and where the crashes occurred. Algorithms analyzing last names cross-referenced with demographic information from the Census help identify the race and ethnicity of the people, which is not available on crash reports or in licensing files. This enhances the ability to add equity considerations in targeting safety campaigns and improvements.

She offered the example of using data to identify where crashes of cars without child restraint systems occurred, based on records of crashes causing injuries to children. The data patterns can be used to target communities with programs to improve use of the restraints. A similar analysis can be used, she said, to guide interventions to promote seatbelt use.

The dashboard is available at njsho.chop.edu and includes 10 webpages focusing on various aspects of traffic safety. The data can be shown for individual counties and allows comparisons among counties. Curry said the Center is planning to host trainings for people interested in using the dashboard. She said partners in the effort include the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety, New Jersey Department of Transportation, New Jersey Department of Health, the state Office of Information Technology and the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. A video of Curry’s presentation is here.

A Hiker's Guide to the Morris Canal, Other Greenway Updates

Posted: 5/30/2024 12:34:03 PM

The Morris Canal Working Group learned about several trail projects underway and efforts to create a hiker’s guide to existing segments, at its May 22 meeting.

Steve Krinsky presented “A Hiker’s Guide to the Morris Canal Greenway,” a project he is working on with three others to update information about trail segments listed on the All Trails hiking app.

The group decided to focus on All Trails, because it is well suited for hikers and offers convenient mechanisms for input and feedback, “which we used with much success,” Krinsky said. So far, they’ve hiked and mapped 10 Morris Canal Greenway sections, including portions as far east as Jersey City and Newark and as far west as Hackettstown.

Krinsky said the group may continue to make updates as the trails change and new information becomes available. Up next, he said, is mapping portions of the greenway in Warren, Sussex and Passaic counties. 

Greenway Additions
Locktenders house sits on the left at Lock 2 in WhartonJoe Macasek and Tim Roth, of the Canal Society of New Jersey, provided updates on several projects underway.

Macasek said work on the Lock 2 East restoration is expected to be completed by June, when the mechanism to operate the lock is completed.

Many projects are in the works, and Macasek noted it can take years to complete everything from planning to financing to actual construction. “Sometimes it’s very frustrating, but you gotta stick with it."

One such long-planned project is stabilizing the railroad trestle in Boonton so it can be transformed into a pedestrian walkway. The trestle is a spur trail that gives additional access to the main trail, Macasek said. Work is also being done to restore the Arch Bridge in Boonton.

In Morris County, the Canal Society recently began working with the Town of Dover, a new greenway partner, that is using a grant from T-Mobile to create the Princeton Avenue Greenway Trail, a short segment parallel to Princeton Avenue. The Canal Society provided signage and financing to complete the trail and the township is looking to do some more, Macasek said. The town is also planning to hold an event in June to celebrate new interpretive signage in JFK Park, which explains the area was once a canal basin.

Also in Morris County, Mount Olive helped to acquire a narrow landlocked property where Inclined Plane 3 was located and is working on a grant to acquire the adjacent Carson Roberts property, which would provide access to the inclined plane, Macasek said. A nearby water-filled canal section with public access easement contains the ruins of a lock tenders house, a semi-restored landmark along the trail.

The Belleville Greenway Trail is a short but interesting piece of the canal that will connect with the existing greenway in Bloomfield and the proposed greenway in Newark. Another Canal Society project will provide an interpretive panel and five wayfinding signs to connect those segments.

The Canal Society also funded an interpretive panel at Lock 15 East at the corner of Lock and New streets in Newark. “We see this as a first effort in Newark, and now with the city looking to create a bikeway, we hope to do more of this,” Macasek said.

Warren County is looking to acquire land within an area called Rockport, a canal village in Mansfield Township, Roth said. There is a trail on a nearby state game farm property that goes by an old canal basin. The area is overgrown, but once cleared, there would be trails on either side of the village.

Roth said he hopes to report back at the fall Working Group meeting that the Warren Heritage Museum at Bread Lock Park is reopened. Tours have been suspended due to mold remediation, but the park is open daily from sunrise to sunset. The road bridge was washed out by storms last summer, however, pedestrian traffic is allowed via Thomas Carling Drive.

A complete recording of the May 22 Morris Canal Working Group meeting can be accessed at MorrisCanalGreenway.org

Passaic County Breaks Ground on Highlands Rail Trail

Posted: 5/24/2024 1:43:06 PM

Passaic County and local officials broke ground Friday on the first phase of the Highlands Rail Trail in Wanaque.

“The trail is going to provide a safe way for access between neighborhoods, schools, and many retail options including grocery, restaurants and services,” said Passaic County Commissioner Director John Bartlett, who represents the County on the NJTPA’s Board of Trustees. “This is part of a larger project, and in fact the Highlands Rail Trail Feasibility Study was completed in 2017 to contemplate the possibility of as many as five phases, of which this is just phase one.”

This phase, funded with a $1.8 million Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Grant previously awarded by the NJTPA Board, will stretch 1.72 miles from Union Avenue to F.A. Orechio Drive/Ringwood Avenue. The project is expected to be completed next year, Bartlett said.

The 10-foot-wide pedestrian and bicycle-friendly path is being built on the former New York and Greenwood Lake Railway right-of-way in northern Passaic County.

The NJTPA is also providing $1.6 million in funding toward Phase II of the project, which is under design and expected to break ground next year, through its Transportation Clean Air Measures Program. Phase II includes installing a rapid flashing beacon pedestrian crossing at Ringwood Avenue and continues to Conklin Town Road in Wanaque. The trail would run adjacent to Wanaque Elementary School, the Hagstrom Field athletic complex and Lakeland Regional High School.

Bartlett said if completed, the fives phases would create a nearly 8-mile trail from Wanaque to the Monksville Reservoir and Stonetown Road in Ringwood, with a spur trail going to Ringwood Manor.

“When you get something started is when people can begin to envision what it might be and whereas we look behind us now and see an old empty rail bed, in a year or so you’re going to see 1.7 miles of trail where you can walk and bike and enjoy the outdoors, on a beautiful day like today,” Bartlett said. “That’s going to be a vision I think is going to help us move through those other phases, get buy-in from folks, because how amazing would it be to be able to ride that bike all the way up to Ringwood Manor from where we are right here.”

Construction on New Midtown Bus Terminal Slated to Begin by 2025

Posted: 5/15/2024 11:27:12 AM

Construction of a new Midtown Manhattan Bus Terminal, the nation’s busiest and largest bus terminal, is slated to begin around the end of this year.

Jay Shuffield, Manager of Regional Transportation Policy for The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, provided an overview of the project during a brief presentation at the NJTPA Board of Trustees meeting on Monday.

“We’re really working hard to deliver world-class space for passengers inside the terminal, at the entrances, around the terminal, and in the parts of the community that have been divided by transportation infrastructure for decades,” Shuffield said.

The project currently is coming to the end of the environmental review process with a draft Environmental Impact Statement published in February and public comment period that closed in March. He said they’re hoping for construction to begin around the end of the year. The $10 billion facility will include a new 2.1-million-square-foot main terminal, a separate storage and staging building and new ramps leading directly into and out of the Lincoln Tunnel.

Phase 1 would include a new ramp system that will be built while the terminal is still in operation. A new staging and storage facility will also be built which, in the second phase, will initially be used as an interim bus terminal while the existing facility is demolished and the new terminal constructed.

The project is necessary because some of the existing structure has reached the end of its life and cannot accommodate expected future growth in bus travel. “This has been a collaborative effort with the community and elected officials to develop a solution that improves the efficiency of bus operations and designs the facilities to make all this regional transportation fit into the neighborhood in a much better way," he said.

Existing bus terminal
The original building was erected in 1950, expanded vertically in the 1960s, and to the adjoining block across the street in 1980. The existing terminal takes up more than a city block in Midtown with an extensive ramp system and several at-grade bus parking lots. The current configuration requires some buses to maneuver city streets adding to congestion. A staging and storage facility will replace the surface parking lots, improving the ability to get buses to the gates and out of the buildings without delays, Shuffield said. The project will create new public spaces including on decks over much of the current Lincoln tunnel portal.

The streetscape around the building will also be improved. The uninviting blank wall along 40th Street will be  opened up with new retail space and a widened sidewalk to improve the streetscape experience.

The project website can be found here.


Workshop Explores Creative Ways to Make Community Improvements

Posted: 4/30/2024 11:42:57 AM

Diane Shelton, a Community Outreach Specialist with Interfaith Neighbors in Asbury Park, speaks during a panel on Creative Placemaking while three other women listen.When Newark commissioned Nina Cooke John to create a monument honoring abolitionist and social activist Harriet Tubman, she envisioned a community space that also celebrated the story of Newark – its role in the Underground Railroad and also the people who live there.

“Ultimately the monument becomes integrated not only into the park, but into the life of the people,” said Cooke, who gave the keynote address at Placemaking in Context: Honoring the Culture and History of Communities, a workshop on creative placemaking.

The NJTPA sponsored the workshop through its Vibrant Communities Initiative, held in partnership with the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers, which hosted the event on April 26.

“Placemaking is all about communities taking intentional steps to make a neighborhood, a park, a city block, a transportation hub, and other locations into great places to live, work, and enjoy. Places that are thriving and vibrant,” NJTPA Executive Director David Behrend said in his opening remarks. 

The workshop highlighted examples of diverse types of placemaking that honor the past and preserve community memories while celebrating the communities that occupy spaces in the present.

Shadow of a Face, the Harriet Tubman monument, is a multi-media experience. In addition to celebrating Tubman’s life, it also integrates the stories of Newark residents, through mosaic tiles and audio recordings they created during a dozen community workshops. Audible, which has offices adjacent to the park, created the audio recordings, which feature narration by Newark native Queen Latifah, an actress and musician.

During a panel discussion following they keynote, Tamara Remedios, Director of Neighborhood Activations for Global Center for Urban Innovations at Audible, said the reimaged park has become a gathering space where families participate in drum circles on Sundays, more than 1,400 people turned out for the Juneteenth celebration last year (they expected about 400), and a host of other community events are held.

The panel also featured Jennifer Souder, Founder of the Asbury Park African-American Music Project, and Diane Shelton, a Community Outreach Specialist with Interfaith Neighbors, who spoke about efforts to create the Springwood Avenue Heritage Walk through the NJTPA’s Vibrant Places Program, part of the Vibrant Communities Initiative.

The project is recording oral histories of people who experienced Springwood Avenue during its prime, before music venues and local businesses shuttered following civil unrest that devastated the community in 1970. The heritage walk and a digital museum will celebrate the community’s vibrant Black History.

“The stories that are shared with us, each one is a gift, and we want to make sure we honor that,” Souder said.

Shelton described the effort as “creative place-keeping” because they’re “trying to maintain the fabric of that community.”

She said younger generations are much more aware of the music scene on the east side of Asbury Park and know nothing about the history Springfield Avenue. But she’s hopeful this project, and others, like weekly music performances at the site of the former Turf Club, will help raise awareness.

“That’s very important, the history of a community, that everybody is aware,” she said.

Rutgers Professor Anette Freytag speaks about the science of walking a community to better understand it during a panel on creative placemaking.The final panel discussion featured Anette Freytag, a professor of history and theory of landscape architecture, and Dan Swern, Co-founder and Producing Director, coLAB Arts. Freytag provided an introduction to strollology, the science of walking a community to understand it better before designing improvements.

Swern spoke about the role murals can play in celebrating a community and also making it safer, for example, street murals can be used to calm traffic and make it easier for pedestrians to cross busy roads.

He also highlighted a project that made improvements to a New Brunswick community garden used by residents who migrated from Oaxaca, Mexico. As part of that effort, coLAB interviewed gardeners about their experiences and why they moved to the United States and created an illustrated comic book sharing their stories. Swern said they learned after completing the project that it was the first documented history of Latino immigration in New Brunswick.

“We don’t take it for granted that we’re building some special things through this work,” he said.

The full workshop recording is available in the two videos below.

Study Examines Shared Use Path Between George Washington, Cuomo Bridges

Posted: 4/23/2024 3:25:27 PM

A study examining the feasibility of a 20-mile path for bicyclists and pedestrians connecting two of the largest bridges in the region is expected to be completed within the year.

Map of Palisades Shared Use Path study areaLois Goldman, Director of Long Range Transportation Planning at the NJTPA, presented an update on the Palisades Shared Use Path Study to the NJTPA’s Project Prioritization and Planning and Economic Development committees during their April 15 joint meeting. The study led by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) is examining the potential for creating a path on the west side of the Hudson River between the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, formerly the Tappan Zee, in Rockland County and the George Washington Bridge (GWB) in Fort Lee. NYMTC is the Metropolitan Planning Organization for New York City as well as Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester Counties. The NJTPA is assisting with the study.

The impetus for the study was the renovation last year of the GWB pathway for bicyclists and pedestrians. There’s always been a lot of cyclists particularly on the west side of the Hudson, up Route 9W and into New York, Goldman said. The idea is to look at some potential alignments, particularly some of the physical and topographical challenges as it can be very steep along the Palisades.

The study area is divided into five distinct segments, four of which are in New Jersey:

  • Fort Lee
  • Englewood Cliffs
  • Alpine Lookout
  • Borough of Alpine
  • Rockland County
The study is looking at segments individually as well as together to come up with some options, Goldman said. The potential path is closely aligned with the NJTPA’s Active Transportation Plan completed last June, which lays out a conceptual network of what a bicycle network would look like in the NJTPA’s 13-county region.

Three visioning workshops held virtually in March drew more attendance from residents of New York than New Jersey, according to Goldman. Bergen County serves on the study’s Advisory Committee and 14 towns along the route have been invited to serve on the committee. “We want to make sure communities in New York and in New Jersey are on board with this study," she said.

Union County Commissioner Bette Jane Kowalski, Vice Chair of the Planning and Economic Development Committee, asked if there would be separate paths for people walking and biking.

“It’s a shared use path but we don’t preclude anything at this point in terms of what that might be in the future; the objective is a shared use path," Gerry Bogacz, NYMTC’s Assistant Director of Planning and Program Management, said. “Safety is a big part of this, so clearly any type of separation between the modes is something we will look at, no question.”

A draft study report with findings and draft recommendations is expected by fall, when additional public meetings will be held. A final report is slated for completion by winter 2025. For additional information, visit www.palisadespathstudy.com.

Port Growth Slows but Volume Still Above Pre-Pandemic Levels

Posted: 4/22/2024 10:56:13 AM

After the bridge collapse in Baltimore, about 65 percent of the containers heading to that city’s port have been diverted to the Port of New York and New Jersey, which has the capacity to help handle that cargo as well as expected future growth.

Container ship in Port of NY and NJThose were among the insights offered in the annual port industry update at NJTPA’s Freight Initiatives Commitee (FIC) meeting on April 15. The presenters were Beth Rooney, Port Director for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and John Nardi, President of the Shipping Association of New York and New Jersey.

The Port of New York and New Jersey is the second busiest in the United States, in cargo volume. According to Rooney, that volume surged by 28 percent over 2019 levels during the pandemic, severely straining the port’s capacity. During the past year the growth has moderated to a level 4.4 percent higher than pre-pandemic volumes in 2019. Port traffic also includes 3.1 million metric tons of bulk cargo, more than 1 million cruise passengers, and 367,000 automobiles.
Response to Baltimore 
In response to the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore late last month, Port Newark added additional hours and Saturday gates to handle the increase in containers. There’s “more than enough capacity” at the port to address Baltimore’s needs, Rooney said, noting that the ships were already stopping in New Jersey, they’re just offloading more cargo here now. 
To date, the port has issued credentials for about 450 Baltimore truckers now coming to its facilities to pick up cargo originally destined for Baltimore. Norfolk Southern and CSX also have added shuttle trains to move cargo between the ports. 
The port is committed to receiving a third of the automobiles that otherwise would have gone to Baltimore, the nation’s largest port for processing cars and trucks. Many of the diverted vehicles are being trucked on car-carriers back to Baltimore for processing, helping sustain that port’s labor force, she said.
From Shortage to Surplus
“We’re in a very unusual situation for this port,” Nardi said, after the “volume pendulum” swung last year from record cargo volumes to a sharp decline. “We quickly went from daily [labor] shortages and a burned-out workforce to having a surplus of longshoremen,” he said, as many as 400 a day. 
Port of NY and NJThis year, the association has shifted focus to worker retention recognizing that its pool of trained and experienced workers cannot be easily replaced. It has turned to spending $10 to $15 million training all workers, whether actively working or not, on specialized machinery. 
“It looks like ‘Star Wars’ with the type of machinery people are operating,” Nardi said. There were 825 new certifications for handling the equipment in 2023 and 2,130 recertifications. Almost 2,000 workers were trained or retrained. If normal growth occurs, Nardi suggested these workers should find a permanent home or sustainable income in a couple of years. 
All the while his association, as part of the Council on Port Performance, is conducting outreach and working with area schools to secure workers for future labor needs at the port. 
Lessons Learned 

Asked whether there was a silver-lining for the freight industry going through the pandemic, Nardi said, “I feel like we graduated from the pandemic school. … We got a tremendous lesson in in what needs to change going forward.” This includes the need to find the right incentives to create 24/7 operations, which the industry has begun to pursue. 
Rooney said during the surge of freight following the pandemic, the port was straining against its limits, handling volumes not expected until 2030. “But we handled it well and we didn't have the backups that you saw at other ports.” This gave increased confidence to shipping companies that the New York-New Jersey port can handle their needs, even in the face of disruptions and the need for new supply chains, she said. 
A recording of the FIC meeting and the presentation slides are available here.

Five Municipalities to Receive Complete Streets Assistance

Posted: 4/11/2024 2:58:16 PM

Complete Streets Technical Assistance logoFive municipalities have been selected through a competitive application process to participate in the NJTPA’s Complete Streets Technical Assistance Program.

Belmar, Paterson, Readington and Verona will conduct complete street corridor assessments, while Belleville will develop a bicycle corridor plan. The program will assist the municipalities in documenting existing conditions, exploring potential improvements, and developing recommendations to make it safer for people walking and/or biking in the study areas. (See project summaries below).

“Complete Streets help make our roads safer for everyone, especially people walking and biking,” said NJTPA Chair John P. Kelly, an Ocean County Commissioner. “They also help create more equitable and healthy communities by giving people more options when travelling. This program helps municipalities advance their Complete Streets goals.”

The NJTPA funds this program and provides technical assistance in partnership with the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University and Sustainable Jersey. The Complete Streets Technical Assistance Program helps municipalities bring together key stakeholders to explore a local safety concern and develop concepts for potential solutions using a collaborative approach.

 “It is valuable for municipalities to receive hands-on guidance to move their Complete Streets projects forward. Complete and Green Streets have numerous safety, environmental, equity and health benefits,” said Randall Solomon, Executive Director of Sustainable Jersey. “This work is an important element in the comprehensive sustainability programs of our communities and contributes to our mission to create a more sustainable New Jersey." 

 Complete Streets balance the needs of drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, emergency responders, goods movement and stormwater management based on the local context. They help improve health and safety for people walking and biking and create better places to live, work, play, learn, and do business. When streets are not complete, the negative impacts on public health, safety, equity, the economy, and the environment are disproportionately borne by low-income and minority communities. 

Improving safety is a key goal of this program.

“Across New Jersey and the broader nation, we’ve seen a troubling rise in roadway fatalities, particularly among pedestrians and cyclists,” said Jon A. Carnegie, Executive Director of the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center. “The recommendations that are developed through these projects will help communities enhance the safety of their roadways for all users,”

This is the fourth time the NJTPA has offered technical assistance to municipalities in its region. Learn more at njtpa.org/completestreets.

Summaries of the five selected projects are as follows:

Belleville Township — A bicycle corridor plan will primarily focus on Division Avenue from Union Avenue to Passaic Street, a wide road that experiences congestion, especially during school drop-off and pick-up. Vehicle speeding is also a concern in the area. This effort will explore the possibility of adding a bicycle lane to the corridor and is expected to include a pop-up demonstration to illustrate to community members what that could look like. 

Belmar Borough — A Complete Streets corridor assessment will focus on a half-mile stretch of 8th Avenue from the beach to near Silver Lake. This busy road connects residents to important services and serves tourists during the busy summer season. This effort will explore ways to improve safety for all travelers, but especially those walking and biking.

Paterson City — A Complete Streets corridor assessment will focus on McBride Avenue from Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park at Wayne Avenue to the pedestrian bridge at Rockland Street. The assessment will explore ways to provide direct pedestrian access to Westside Park and improve pedestrian safety along the busy corridor. 

Readington Township — A Complete Streets corridor assessment will focus on Main Street (County Route 523) from the Whitehouse Train Station to just south of Route 22. The study area is the most densely populated portion of the Township and experiences high vehicular traffic. With housing, the train station, the municipal building, and parks along the county road, many residents walk in this area. This assessment will explore ways to improve safety along this busy corridor.  

Verona Township — A Complete Streets corridor assessment will focus on Linden Avenue from Fairview Avenue to Wildwood Terrace. This corridor is near several public schools as well as the Bloomfield Avenue town center. Pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists traverse Linden Avenue to access these various destinations. Speeding is a concern along Linden Avenue, particularly with the number of students using the road to walk to school. This assessment will explore ways to make the road safer, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists.

Next fiscal year to include new pilot programs, long-range plan update

Posted: 3/18/2024 11:05:35 AM

The NJTPA Board of Trustees approved a work program for the next fiscal year, which includes updating the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), and launching three new pilot programs.

The Fiscal Year 2025 Unified Planning Work Program, which begins July 1, details the work of NJTPA’s Central Staff, its member agencies and the state’s eight transportation management associations.

The LRTP is one of the agency’s core documents. It sets a vision for the region’s transportation future and guides the NJTPA’s work. The Board is set to adopt the plan in September 2025. In tandem with this, Central Staff will also work to update the Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP, which is a four-year list of federally funded projects included in the LRTP. Staff will also lead a consultant effort to estimate the emissions impact of these projects, to ensure they do not have a negative impact on the region’s air quality. This is called the Air Quality Conformity Determination. This determination and the TIP will also go to the Board for consideration in September 2025.

The work program includes several new pilot programs:

  • Complete Streets Conceptualization: This effort will provide consultant-supported planning and project development assistance to advance a local Complete Streets project that addresses community and regional goals regarding safety, accessibility, equitable access to employment and other destinations, access to public transportation, and reduction of single-occupancy vehicle trips. This study will also develop guidelines for a Complete Streets Conceptualization Program including project identification, prioritization and selection, the specific steps to complete the process, and final deliverables.
  • Pedestrian Lighting Analysis: This effort will examine up to 26 locations across the NJTPA region. While only 25 percent of vehicle miles travelled occur at night, the nighttime pedestrian fatality rate is three times higher than during the day. Recommendations will be developed to improve lighting and pedestrian safety at each location. The reports prepared for each location can be used to advance projects through the NJTPA’s Local Safety Program.
  • Intersection Control Evaluation: This effort was recommended in New Jersey’s last Strategic Highway Safety Plan update. It will help develop a performance-based approach for screening alternatives and identifying optimal geometric and traffic control solutions for high-crash intersections. Staff will work with the NJTPA subregions to select 15 locations for evaluation.

The work program also includes two Freight Concept Development studies, Southern Middlesex County North-South Truck Corridor Project in Cranbury and Monroe, Middlesex County; and Hanover Avenue Bridge Catenary Rail Clearance Project in Morris Plains, Morris County.

Several initiatives that began in FY 2024 will conclude in the next fiscal year, including the completion of Local Safety Action Plans for eight counties in the NJTPA region; a consultant-led effort to gather public input for the LRTP; demographics and travel analysis, and freight industry forecasts, which will be used for the LRTP update.