NJTPA Update Blog

Newsroom > NJTPA News > NJPTA Update Blog Print

NJPTA Update Blog

Professor Myron Orfield Calls for Action on Racial Diversity in NJ Suburbs

Posted: 7/17/2019 9:41:53 AM

New Jersey has made great progress in realizing racial diversity in its suburbs in the last two decades, but dozens of communities face the threat of resegregation due to ongoing discrimination and disinvestment, according to Myron Orfield, Director of the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity at the University of Minnesota Law School. Orfield highlighted these trends in a presentation to the NJTPA Board on July 8.
His presentation, “The Challenges and Opportunities of Growing Racial Diversity in the Suburbs of Northern New Jersey,” was part of NJTPA’s ongoing series of speakers, forums and events in preparation for updating its long range transportation plan from 2045 to 2050.
Communities that are racially diverse (where minorities compose 20 to 60 percent of the population) have better school achievement, more upward mobility and more positive attitudes about racial differences, Orfield said.  Nationwide, such communities are growing.  By 2040, he said, the nation will be fully multi-racial, with no race having a majority.
In New Jersey, diversity has grown dramatically.  In 2000, 41 percent of the state’s population lived in predominately white suburbs.  That number dropped to 17 percent in 2017. 
Despite the progress, he said, suburban areas tend not to stay integrated for long.  New Jersey leads the nation in the rate at which suburban communities are losing their diversity, as whites shift to “whiter enclaves” In other suburbs or center cities. 
The reason he says is “relentless driving discrimination,” in which some real estate brokers steer buyers to areas based on race, some mortgage lenders hamper minority homeownership and zoning policies undermine affordable housing. The result are communities that lose their “tax capacity” and suffer declining schools along with their ability to attract and retain residents and businesses.
Unless the situation is addressed, said Orfield, once thriving suburbs will become “disinvested places” that developers and investors will “write off” for future projects.
One of the key solutions is affordable housing.  New Jersey’s Mt. Laurel court decision, which required each town to build an equitable share of affordable housing, was not fully implemented in the state.  But it has become the model, he said, for at least 10 other states, such as Minnesota, Washington and Oregon, that are stabilizing diversity through affordable housing. 
Creating networks of magnet schools in and around cities such as Louisville based on a metropolitan-wide approach to governance, he said, has also helped counteract resegregation. 
He predicted that emerging court challenges to school segregation in New Jersey will soon lead to other opportunities for the state to foster diversity. The state, he said, must rise to the challenge. “It’s a hard thing to work on but important thing in a multi-racial, metropolitan nation.”
View the video of his presentation above.  Presentation slides can be downloaded here.


Updated NJTPA Website

Posted: 6/28/2019 1:47:21 PM

You’re viewing NJTPA’s newly updated website!  It meets the latest in technology standards for websites, including now being “responsive”—that is, easily viewable on mobile devices including smartphones and tablets. It also fully meets federal requirements for accessibility. 

It is built on the Kentico Content Management System and was created with expert help from our web consultant, Weblications of Princeton, New Jersey.

Have a look around. Tell us what you think. Give ideas for additional features. 

New Tool Helps Communities Address Goods Movement Needs

Posted: 6/21/2019 11:16:21 AM

NJTPA Goods Movement Strategies for Communities LogoThe NJTPA has developed a web tool to help communities address issues involving goods movement by trucks. The NJTPA region relies on vehicles of all sizes to deliver goods to our many communities, whether that’s large trucks delivering food to local grocery stores or smaller delivery vans bringing packages directly to residents' homes.

About 508 million tons of goods move through the NJTPA’s 13-county region, predominately by truck, each year.

The Goods Movement Strategies for Communities tool was designed by NJTPA staff to help communities that have identified issues related to trucks find strategies that address their concerns. The database includes strategies on last mile delivery parking management; parking and rest stop management; traffic management and access control; freight demand management; road infrastructure improvement; modal optimization; land use and zoning; freight facility consolidation centers; environmental concerns; and safety improvements.

The tool is designed to help foster conversation about goods movement. Users can include local officials, developers, transportation providers and property owners.

In the future, the NJTPA hopes to expand the tool to include strategies for rail freight.

To learn more about the tool visit https://goodsmovement.njtpa.org.
[June 18, 2019]

Workshop and Guidebook on Developing Transit Hubs

Posted: 6/6/2019 1:18:26 PM

South Main Street Bridge over the Washington Secondary Line in PhillipsburgEfforts of three communities to revitalize areas to better connect their businesses, public spaces, neighborhoods and public transportation resources were highlighted at a June 6 Together North Jersey (TNJ) Transit Hub workshop at NJTPA.

The workshop marked the release of a Guidebook for Developing Transit Hub Strategic Plans developed by the TNJ  Efficient Task Force, the NJTPA and Rutgers University’s Voorhees Transportation Center. The guidebook is available for download on the TNJ website. 

The workshop showcased the work of the 2018 Transit Hub Pilot Program, which created strategic plans for the City of Passaic, Bloomfield Township, and the Borough of Dunellen in northern New Jersey. These plans were developed by the TNJ Efficient Task Force and volunteers from the Community Planning Assistance Program of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Among other speakers at the workshop were Carlos Rodrigues who spoke about the pilot effort in Dunellen; Nadia Mian who spoke about the pilot at the Watsessing Avenue Station, Bloomfield; and Paul Drake who spoke about the pilot in Passaic.
[June 6, 2019]

Freight Rail Investments Reflect Growing Trade

Posted: 4/22/2019 1:15:41 PM


South Main Street Bridge over the Washington Secondary Line in Phillipsburg

A strong growth in demand for freight rail services in northern New Jersey is prompting major rail investments, boosting the prospects for attracting new companies and jobs to the region. That was a key insight delivered by three industry officials at the April 15 NJTPA Freight Initiatives Committee meeting.
Freight Initiatives Committee Chair Charles Kenny, a Middlesex County Freeholder, welcomed the speakers, noting that the briefing was an annual event to provide the committee an update on the status of freight rail in the region.

The first speaker was Timothy Tierney, President & Chief Operating Officer, Conrail Shared Assets. He said that Conrail is jointly owned by Norfolk Southern and CSX, handling traffic to and from the port and the region for over 200 customers. It interfaces with 11 of the 15 smaller shortline railroads in the region. He said port and intermodal traffic has grown 16 percent from 2017 to 2018.

As a result, Conrail is investing $21 million in upgrading rail infrastructure. This includes the Waverly Loop project, which is set to go to construction next year. It will add another route for rail freight in and out of the port. Another major project is reconstruction of the Point No Point bridge over the Passaic River which is planned for construction in 2021.

The next presenter was Kean Burenga, President and Managing Partner, Chesapeake & Delaware, which operates four shortline rail services in the NJTPA region. It recently started operations of a new shortline, the Dover and Delaware River Railroad, over 109 route miles that include the lease of the Washington Secondary line from Norfolk Southern and trackage rights over several NJ TRANSIT lines. This railroad currently serves 14 customers.

The company is undertaking projects to improve the line to better serve existing customers and attract new ones. Of particular importance are upgrades needed to accommodate the national standard taller and heavier rail cars.

He noted that one “hugely important project” is addressing the vertical clearance restriction under the South Main Street Bridge over the Washington Secondary line in Phillipsburg (pictured above) by replacing wooden ties with low profile steel ties. Other projects in the pipeline include upgrading interchanges and grade crossings.

The third presenter was Dan Mulligan, Director of Sales and Marketing, Global Container Terminals. The Global Terminal in Bayonne, he said, is a 170-acre facility with eight cranes for moving containers to and from vessels. It operates with an innovative appointment system for truckers which reduces delays and improves efficiency.

The ExpressRail Port Jersey on-dock rail facility became operational at half capacity in January and will be operating at full capacity with a total of 9,600 feet of track later this year. The new facility provides the terminal with significant cost and time savings for service to the Midwest over its competitors and reduces the amount of terminal related truck traffic. In addition to the new on-dock rail facility the terminal continues to make capital investments and operational improvements to accommodate the growing trade.

The committee meeting also included a presentation by Richard Semenick, Associate Vice President, HDR on the NJTPA’s Freight Rail Industrial Opportunity (FRIO) Corridors Program which is being finalized. HDR is NJTPA’s consultant on the project.
[April 22, 2019]