NJTPA Update Blog

May 2021

NJTPA Expo Spotlights Planning Tools

Posted: 5/20/2021 4:34:05 PM

The NJTPA hosted its seventh annual Tech Tools for Planning Expo showcasing four innovative applications that have been deployed or are now being developed in the region. More than 80 people attended the virtual event today.
The following tools were featured: 

  • Esri ArcGIS Hub Initiative Sites
  • Rutgers University’s NJ Flood Mapper tool
  • NJTPA’s Engage! public engagement toolkit
  • NJ TRANSIT’s NJ Land Use + Transit Data Application
“These innovations make it possible for us to do more effective and efficient transportation planning work,” said NJTPA Executive Director Mary D. Ameen in her welcoming remarks, noting that the expo’s virtual format enabled more people than ever to participate. (Blog post continues below event video)

Gabrielle Fausel, NJTPA staff, gave a presentation on the NJTPA’s use of Esri ArcGIS Hub initiatives on various projects and programs. It’s an easy-to-configure community engagement platform that organizes people, data, and tools through information-driven initiatives. To date, the NJTPA has successfully launched several Hub-based initiatives including the Open Data Portal, Metropolitan Area Planning Forum, Local Concept Development studies, and Plan 2050 (the NJTPA’s next Long Range Transportation Plan). These initiatives provide data, information on upcoming events, and interactive maps and applications to support community engagement and data exchange.
Next, Rutgers University’s Lucas Marxen demonstrated the NJ Flood Mapper interactive tool (https://www.njfloodmapper.org/). The tool allows users to analyze flood exposure based on the best available science for sea level rise and other parameters, including Hurricane Sandy surge, FEMA flood zones, and more.  Marxen said this application was designed and created to provide a user-friendly visualization tool for those who make coastal decisions. It can be used to promote enhanced resilience and land use planning decisions with considerations for possible future conditions.
Ted Ritter, NJTPA staff, highlighted upgrades to the agency’s Engage! public outreach database, which was developed with help from Rutgers University’s Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC).   The interactive toolkit allows users to search through 200 innovative public engagement strategies. Approaches and tools range from best practices to specific methods or platforms to conduct research and obtain valuable input from stakeholders and the public. Users can set search parameters for audience, place-type, budget, timeframe, or even type of project. New additions to the database include reports from focus groups, interviews with public services providers, and tools designed for virtual public engagement.  Engage is available at https://njtpa.org/engage.
Finally, Marxen and Rutgers-VTC Executive Director Jon Carnegie presented the second generation of the NJ Land Use + Transit Data Application (https://njlutrans.org/).  The application, first launched in 2017 and allows users to map, report, and download a range of land use, travel, public transit, demographic, and real estate development data. The 2.0 version of this tool will be available later this spring and will feature a new user interface, updated data, including local development data for municipalities in Bergen, Hudson, and Passaic counties, plus the City of Newark, and high-frequency bus corridors statewide. In addition, several new tools are designed for corridor planning, assessing transit-oriented development opportunities, analyzing flood exposure; and visualizing social justice data. Marxen and Carnegie previewed the app’s new layout, data, and data exploration functions.

Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside grants will help municipalities in North Jersey

Posted: 5/13/2021 12:05:34 PM

The NJTPA, in partnership with New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), today announced the award of $8.8 million for 10 federal grants under the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside (TA Set-Aside) program.

“As part of NJDOT’s Commitment to Communities, we work with the three regional planning authorities to provide federal funding to counties and municipalities for local transportation projects that improve safety and strengthen the cultural, aesthetic, and environmental aspects of our transportation system,” NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “The grants announced today will fund projects to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists in 10 North Jersey communities without having to impact local property taxes.”

The competitive TA Set-Asides program provides funds to build pedestrian and bicycle facilities, improve access to transportation, create safe routes to school, preserve historic transportation structures, provide environmental mitigation, and create trail projects that serve a transportation purpose while promoting safety and mobility. It is administered by the NJDOT in partnership with NJTPA, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), and the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization (SJTPO). The DVRPC and SJTPO previously announced their grants. The 10 NJTPA grants include:

  • Mola Boulevard Improvement Project, $690,000 (Elmwood Park, Bergen County): This streetscape project will make pedestrian safety improvements between Broadway and Philip Avenue. This includes sidewalk improvements, pedestrian and vehicle signage, lighting and plantings.
  • Anderson Avenue Restoration Phase III Project, $1,000,000 (Fairview, Bergen County): This streetscape project will make improvements from Kamena Street to Edgewater Road. (Previous phases included Fairview Avenue to Kamena Street.) Sidewalk and curbing will be replaced with stamped concrete, curb ramps will be upgraded to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and trash receptacles, benches, bus depots and lighting will be installed.
  • Washington Street Corridor Improvement Project, $780,000 (West Orange, Essex County): This project will make improvements from Main Street to High Street. It includes improved crosswalks, signage, new widened sidewalks and curbs, ADA-compliant curb ramps, detectable warning surfaces, flashing speed limit signs, flashing pedestrian crossing signs, enhanced lighting, and landscaping.
  • Waterfront Commuter Trail, $1,000,000 (South Amboy, Middlesex County): This project will construct a multi-use trail that connects the NJ TRANSIT station to the South Amboy Ferry Terminal, which is under construction. This includes installing a two-way buffered bike lane on Augusta Street; intersection improvements; and a paved shared-use path along Manhattan Beach that transitions to a concrete paver trail at the Raritan Bay to connect to the ferry terminal. Security cameras, landscaping and trail markings will also be installed.
  • Channel Drive Revitalization Project, $1,000,000 (Point Pleasant Beach, Ocean County): This project includes new 6-foot-wide sidewalks, ADA-compliant curb ramps, curbing, benches, bicycle racks, signage, stormwater catch basins and pipes, improved lighting and landscaping. Utility poles will be relocated to remove obstructions.
  • Main Avenue Streetscape Improvements, $880,000 (Clifton, Passaic County): This project includes improvements from Piaget Avenue (Route 46) to West 5th Street. Deteriorating sidewalks will be replaced, ADA-compliant curbs will be installed, as well as brick pavers, lighting, benches, bicycle racks near community centers, trees, and a wayfinding system to identify points of interest and public transit.
  • Transformative Railroad Project, $1,000,000 (Passaic, Passaic County): This project will convert 2,000 square feet of decommissioned railway into an off-road pedestrian and bicycle greenway, which would connect Dundee Island Park and Pulaski Park. Storm water retention and rain gardens will also be installed.
  • Great Falls-Hinchliffe Bike-Ped Connection Phase 1, $820,000 (Paterson, Passaic County): This project will make improvements to Wayne Avenue (north of the Wayne Avenue Bridge) and Maple Street. It includes restoring curbing, sidewalks and ramps; shared road markings; green infrastructure improvements and street trees; andwayfinding signage leading from the Garret Mountain Reservation to the Great Falls.
  • Hamilton Street Plaza Project, $1,000,000 (Bound Brook, Somerset County): This project will close Hamilton Street between Main Street and East 2nd Street to vehicle traffic, restricting it to bicycle and pedestrian uses. The plaza will include event spaces, loading zones for businesses, decorative paving, planters, moveable tables and chairs, flexible seating areas and overhead lighting.
  • East Cherry Street Streetscape Improvements, $630,000 (Rahway, Union County): This project will improve Irving Street to Main Street. East Cherry Street will be reconfigured into a semi-pedestrian promenade with 10-foot sidewalks on both sides and one-way vehicle travel. ADA-compliant curb ramps will be installed. There will be parking on one side of the street and removeable bollards will be installed along the curbline to allow the parking area to be used for flexible outdoor dining and seating.
Municipalities in the NJTPA region submitted 83 applications, requesting a combined $75 million. The total grant funding available was $8.8 million.

New this year was an equity component to the program. Projects in eligible communities received additional technical assistance with the grant application, as well as additional points during the scoring process. Eligible communities were determined by U.S. Census data identifying low-income residents, racial and ethnic minorities, those with limited English proficiency, persons with disabilities, children, and older adults.
For more information about Local Aid programs visit www.njdotlocalaidrc.com.