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]