NJTPA Update Blog

September 2019

Together North Jersey Forum Puts Spotlight on Healthy Communities

Posted: 9/20/2019 2:51:42 PM

Together North Jersey Forum speakersThe average health of New Jersey residents is improving. But there are significant and troubling gaps, particularly affecting low income people and minorities.  That was one of the points raised during presentations on health and heath policy held at the Together North Jersey Forum that NJTPA hosted on September 17.

According to Dr. Giridhar Mallya, Senior Policy Officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the solution to health gaps is not equality — giving people the same health services — but equity: “Everyone should get what they need to thrive.”

Paths to achieve health equity are included in the Foundation’s recent report Building a Culture of Health.  He said it focuses on three areas: healthy children and families, healthy communities and high-quality, equitable health and social service systems.

Cailean Kok, Project Associate at Project for Public Spaces, said communities can use the approach of cooperative “placemaking” to create healthy parks, downtowns, neighborhood streets and other public spaces.  As called for in 2017 report, The Case for Healthy Places, this requires attention to five key features: social support and interaction; play and active recreation; green and natural environments; healthy food; and walking and biking.

She said, in seeking to improve health, it is useful to shift from a “pathogenic” outlook, which focuses on the causes of health problems, to a “salutogenic” approach, which focuses on factors that that support human health and well-being, on “what makes life worth living.”
Stephanie Hunsinger, State Director of AARP New Jersey, said her organization increasingly is promoting livable communities to meet the needs of the nation’s aging population.

Most seniors, she said, prefer to remain in their communities as they age. To make that possible, AARP is creating a network of “age friendly communities” around the nation. Participating towns, cities, and counties undertake a five-year process, including an initial needs survey and implementing an action plan.  In the more than 400 communities in the program, projects have included new housing, farm markets, improving parks, creating wellness centers, holding cooking classes or installing parklets.  Even small projects, she said, can have “long term sustainable effects.”

In addition to the September 17 panel discussion, Together North Jersey is helping to promote health in the region through the work of its four task forces and through its various community assistance programs. More details are on the Together North Jersey website.

Five New Bridge Concept Development Studies

Posted: 9/9/2019 1:35:44 PM

Cars travel over the Oradell Avenue Bridge in Oradell, NJ.The NJTPA Board at its September 9 meeting approved funding for five new Concept Development studies of critical local bridges.

The studies are part of the Local Capital Project Delivery Program, a competitive program which provides federal funding to NJTPA subregions—the 15 city and county members of the NJTPA—to prepare projects for eventual construction with federal funding.  

The approved studies are being funded for Fiscal Year 2020, which began July 1. The studies, totalling $2.4 million, are:

Bergen County: Oradell Avenue Bridge over the Hackensack River, Borough of Oradell
Project Poster          Fact Sheet

Middlesex & Monmouth Counties: Matawan Road (CR 516) Bridge over Lake Lefferts, Old Bridge Township, Matawan Borough, Aberdeen Township
Project Poster          Fact Sheet

Monmouth County: Corlies Avenue Bridge over Deal Lake, Borough of Allenhurst, Township of Ocean
Project Poster          Fact Sheet

Morris County: East Main Street (CR 644) Bridge over Rockaway River, Rockaway Borough
Project Poster          Fact Sheet

Somerset County: Great Road (CR 601) Bridge over Bedens Brook, Montgomery Township
Project Poster          Fact Sheet

At the Board meeting, NJTPA Executive Director Mary Ameen announced that three projects that previously went through Concept Development have been approved by an Inter-Agency Review Committee to advance to Preliminary Engineering and federal funding through the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).  The three projects are:

  • Valley Road Bridge over the Passaic River in Somerset and Morris Counties;
  • Manhattan Ave Retaining Wall and Slope Stabilization Improvements in Hudson County; and 
  • Columbia Turnpike Bridge over the Black Brook in Morris County
Go to the Local Capital Project Delivery webpage for further information on current and past studies.