NJTPA Update Blog

September 2018

NJTPA Seeks Comment on Updated Public Engagement Plan

Posted: 9/12/2018 12:00:00 AM


The NJTPA is looking to better involve the region's residents in its programs, projects and plans. A new draft Public Engagement Plan (PEP) outlines the agency’s goals for public engagement and identifies specific techniques and opportunities for ongoing interaction with the public. The draft plan, available at www.njtpa.org/PEP, is undergoing a formal public comment period through November 2, 2018.

Public comments can be submitted to [email protected] A public meeting on the draft PEP will be held on Thursday October 11, 2018 from 5 to 7 p.m. (with a short presentation at 6:00 p.m.) at NJTPA offices in Newark.

The PEP is the latest update of the NJTPA's public participation plans. It’s the product of extensive research into public participation best practices, as well as the agency's first-hand experience from its own innovative and award-winning outreach efforts for Plan 2045: Connecting North Jersey

Some new opportunities for engagement in the plan include: the proposed establishment of a Public Engagement Advisory Committee; the establishment of a young adult advisory committee; strategies to better include under-represented populations in decision-making; and guidance for developing future public participation plans for NJTPA-sponsored programs and projects.  

Nine Municipalities Getting Complete Streets Assistance

Posted: 9/12/2018 12:00:00 AM

Picture of temporary corner bump outs in Jersey City.
Jersey City used demonstration projects during a recent study to show community members what pedestrian improvements, including corner extensions, could look like at six intersections.

The NJTPA has awarded complete streets technical assistance to nine municipalities in North Jersey. Work will include walkability workshops, a bicycle network audit and low-cost temporary changes, called tactical urbanism, to demonstrate what improvements — such as corner extensions — could look like.

Complete streets are roads that are designed to be accessible to all users and all ability levels.

The NJTPA is funding the assistance — up to $10,000 for each municipality — which is being provided by Sustainable Jersey and the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Awardees include:

  • Bernardsville Borough (Somerset County) — Walkability Workshop
  • Cranford Township (Union County) — Complete Streets Conceptualizations
  • Eatontown Borough (Monmouth County) — Complete Streets Conceptualizations
  • Glen Rock Borough (Bergen County) — Walkability Workshop
  • Leonia Borough (with Fort Lee & Palisades Park in Bergen County) — Bicycle Audit and Corridor Plan with Maps and Narrative
  • Milltown Borough (Middlesex County) — Tactical Urbanism Guidance
  • Parsippany-Troy Hills Township (Morris County) — Walkability Workshop
  • Red Bank Borough (Monmouth County) — Tactical Urbanism Guidance
  • Westfield Township (Union County) — Walkability Workshop

In addition to the technical assistance, the NJTPA, in partnership with Sustainable Jersey and the Voorhees Transportation Center, has already conducted three workshops for municipalities on implementing complete streets at the local level.

[September 12, 2018]

Boonton, Freehold, Green Brook Complete Plans to Create Walkable, Transit-Supportive Areas

Posted: 9/11/2018 12:00:00 AM

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Three municipalities recently completed vision plans that aim to bolster their downtowns through transit-supportive development and policies.

The planning initiatives in the Town of Boonton, Morris County; Borough of Freehold, Monmouth County; and Town of Green Brook, Somerset County, were completed as part of the NJTPA’s Planning for Emerging Centers Program. The program provides technical assistance to municipalities wanting to create more sustainable, transit-supportive and walkable communities. All of the reports are available on the Planning for Emerging Centers page.

Both Boonton and Freehold developed their plans with a focus on achieving Transit Village designation from the New Jersey Department of Transportation. The state’s Transit Village Initiative creates incentives for municipalities to revitalize or redevelop mixed-use areas around transit stations. A limited number of designations are awarded each year, but once a municipality successfully applies to the program it can receive technical assistance and priority funding from some state agencies.

Boonton’s plan focuses on enhancing the area around the train station and includes pedestrian safety improvements, changes to parking, new public spaces and increased housing choices. Freehold’s plan focuses on the area around the Freehold Center Bus Station and includes comprehensive redevelopment plans for two areas in the downtown, the Transit Gateway Area and Courthouse Square Area.

Green Brook’s plan focuses on amending the zoning of the Township’s Village Commercial District to facilitate development. The plan splits the Village Center into three districts: the Village Commercial District provides a concentration of improvements to commercial and mixed-use properties, as well as public spaces; the Village Gateway District better connects pedestrians and transit users from Route 22 to the Commercial District; and the Residential/Office District preserves the historic residential character while permitting more small scale office uses near the Commercial District.

As part of this program, the NJTPA recently launched a study with Hoboken to develop a Complete Streets Design and Implementation Plan, which would update the city’s five-year old complete streets policy. This study is scheduled to be completed next year.
[September 11, 2018]

Morris Canal Plan Offers Vision for 111-Mile Greenway

Posted: 9/10/2018 12:00:00 AM

The NJTPA recently completed the Morris Canal Greenway Corridor Study, which identifies the route for a continuous 111-mile pedestrian and bicycle trail from the Delaware River in Warren County to the Hudson River in Hudson County.

The study, which is available at MorrisCanalGreenway.org, identifies 38 miles of existing trails and recommends 76 projects that would connect municipalities in six counties, stretching from Phillipsburg to Jersey City once completed. The greenway would follow the route of the historic canal as closely as possible, though some deviations are necessary to get around developments and major roadways. While several counties have conducted Morris Canal studies in the past, this is the first to provide a comprehensive region-wide plan for the full greenway.

“This trail will provide visitors with an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and learn about the important role the canal played in our state’s history,” Union County Freeholder Angel Estrada, Chair of the NJTPA Board of Trustees said at the Sept. 10 Board meeting. “As it expands, the greenway will serve as a regional destination, attracting tourists and helping boost local economies.”

The Morris Canal was built from 1825 to 1831 to transport Pennsylvania coal to markets in New Jersey and New York. Known as the “Mountain Climbing Canal,” it overcame an elevation change of 1,674 feet over the entire northern part of New Jersey through a system of 23 lift locks and 23 inclined planes, which allowed boats to be raised or lowered up to 100 feet at a time. This feature alone makes the Morris Canal a national engineering marvel.

The study identifies short- and medium-term projects that could be completed within 10 years, ranging from signage installation and improvements to existing paths, to construction of new trail. There are also long-term projects, which could require property acquisition or significant construction, like installation of a bridge. Some of the projects identified in the plan already have funding secured, but others would be completed as additional resources become available. The study identifies temporary trail connections, using roadways or publicly owned land, to get around segments that will take longer and be more challenging to implement.

The study also includes design recommendations for urban, rural and suburban areas that recognize the unique landscape the canal traverses while ensuring the various segments are recognized as a connected corridor. It also recommends that a non-profit be formed to oversee the completion of the greenway and its maintenance in the future.
[September 10, 2018]

Study of Bicycle and Pedestrian Access at Six Transit Stations Released

Posted: 9/10/2018 12:00:00 AM

Cover of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Access StudyA study undertaken by NJ TRANSIT in partnership with NJTPA investigated how to improve bicycle and pedestrian access to transit stations. The study final report has just been posted on the NJTPA website.

The study examined barriers to access and safety for bicyclists, pedestrians, and people with disabilities at a bus station in Irvington, Essex County; and rail stations in Madison, Morris County; Red Bank, Monmouth County; Rutherford, Bergen County; Summit, Union County; and Woodbridge, Middlesex County.

In each community, the study team conducted research and data analysis and gathered input from meetings of a technical advisory committee, discussions with municipal officials, site visits and field observations and public information sessions. The final report includes separate sections on each municipality.

The design concepts recommended by the study focused on low-cost solutions such as crosswalk designs, curb ramps, on-street bicycle accommodations, bicycle parking, curb extensions, intersection markings, lighting and Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons, signs with flashing lights, which pedestrians can activate by pushing a button, to alert drivers before crossing.

The study said many of these concepts could be deployed as “tactical urbanism” projects, which are design changes implemented to street environments in a “light, quick, cheap,” and temporary manner. By showing roadway users – pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers – the design changes in real space, this approach provides an opportunity to build significant community support before making large investments in infrastructure.

NJ Transit issued a statement saying that the study “is a demonstration of NJ TRANSIT’s commitment to safe and accessible transportation…NJ TRANSIT would like to thank the NJTPA and the six host communities that participated in this study.” NJ TRANSIT also noted that the study was a pilot effort that could eventually lead to similar work being done at other transit sites.
[September 10, 2018]