Planning for Emerging Centers is a program that provides technical assistance in support of efforts by municipalities to create more sustainable, transit-supportive and walkable communities as well as comprehensive approaches to strategic planning at the local level. Through this program, the NJTPA provides consultant and staff support to municipalities to conduct various planning studies including integrating transportation into land use plans, transit area plans, multimodal (e.g. vehicular, bus, bike, pedestrian) circulation elements of master plans, climate change and sustainability plans and others.
The program seeks to advance the goals found in the NJTPA Long Range Transportation Plan (Plan 2045) and implement the strategies and actions developed through Together North Jersey, a consortium of public, private and non-profit groups that developed a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development. The NJTPA has been a leading partner in the Together North Jersey consortium.
A solicitation for funding proposals under the program is conducted periodically. A committee including NJTPA staff and representation from NJDOT, NJ TRANSIT, and RTAC reviews and scores municipal applications to select program participants.
Current Planning for Emerging Centers Program Projects
Borough of Raritan
The NJTPA will assist the Borough in creating a Sustainable Economic Development Plan. This study will develop a plan for Downtown Raritan to maintain and expand the existing employment and economic base while identifying land use and mobility strategies to realize these goals. The plan will also make recommendations for redevelopment opportunities and place-making strategies to advance the Borough's overall economic and sustainability goals. This project will build on prior planning efforts including the 2017 Master Plan update.
Borough of Keyport
The NJTPA will assist the Borough in the development of a Complete Streets Policy and Implementation Plan. This plan will advance the Borough’s sustainable land use, transportation, economic, and green building planning elements by establishing Completer Streets goals, a design standards and review checklist, and a complete streets ordinance. This project will build on prior planning efforts such as Borough’s updated Master Plan.
Recently Completed Projects
City of Hoboken (Hudson County) - Complete Streets Design and Implementation Plan
The City of Hoboken sought assistance with updating its five-year-old Complete Streets Policy with a new design guide, policy, ordinance, and checklists. The Hoboken Street Design Guide
is a roadmap that provides policy and design guidance to all parties involved in street design decisions, including governmental agencies, consultants, private developers, and community groups. The Design Guide provides information on the City’s adopted street typology and contains specific guidance on the appropriate bicycle, pedestrian, transit, and travelway treatments to apply within each street type. The guide will enable planners, engineers, and policy makers to identify context-sensitive street elements that are consistent with Complete Streets best practices and suitable for Hoboken’s unique context, while incorporating green infrastructure to address resiliency. The overall goal of this project is to support development of streets that are safe and accessible for all users.
Town of Boonton (Morris County) - Transit Village Initiative Planning
The Town of Boonton sought technical assistance to undertake planning efforts that would sharpen its focus on achieving Transit Village designation by NJDOT for the area surrounding the Boonton train station. Significant community outreach and engagement helped shift that vision and focus toward initiatives that will enhance Main Street businesses, improve pedestrian safety and parking, provide attractive new public spaces, and increase housing choices within the Study Area. Zoning and other regulatory changes are proposed as part of the Vision Plan that seeks to leverage the community’s overlooked and under-utilized assets and create a more pleasant experience for those who live, work or frequently visit the downtown. The plan includes a variety of strategies such as parking management, downtown circulation and streetscape improvements, and public spaces that the town can pursue as it carries out its vision.
Borough of Freehold (Monmouth County)- Transit Village Initiative Planning
In pursuit of NJDOT Transit Village Designation, the Borough of Freehold wanted to build on its Freehold Center Core Revitalization Plan (2008) to explore the creation of a Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) zoning district around the Freehold Center Bus Station. The resulting Freehold Downtown Vision Plan outlines a comprehensive redevelopment plan for the Transit Gateway Area and the Courthouse Square Area. A “toolkit” section provides guidance on pursuing redevelopment that incorporates TOD strategies, economic and environmental sustainability, improved safety and mobility, parking management, creative place making, and redevelopment methods and opportunities. The recommendations for site design, architecture and parking guidelines not only align with Transit Village Designation Criteria, but also present the most viable pathways for redeveloping the downtown in accordance with the local officials and public visioning.
Green Brook Township’s project focused on zoning amendments to the existing Township Village Commercial District in order to facilitate successful development of a Village Center. The project team divided the Village Center into three districts with distinct functions: the Village Commercial District provides a concentration of commercial, mixed use and public realm improvements; 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 proximate to the Commercial District. The Final Vision Report also outlines recommendations within each district for public realm improvements, branding, regulatory changes, improving transit access and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and reducing traffic and congestion along Washington Avenue and Green Brook Road.
The Planning for Emerging Centers Program initially undertook two pilot projects and were successfully completed in 2014:
Morristown: Morristown Moving Forward
Using the Mobility and Community Form model created by the NJDOT (www.state.nj.us/transportation/community/mobility/) The NJTPA and the Town of Morristown, Morris County, worked together to create an innovative unified land use and mobility master plan element that addresses redevelopment opportunities and transportation with a single set of goals, objectives, actions and performance measures. Engaging residents, business owners, and public sector partners in defining a vision for Morristown, this effort developed an inclusive, innovative plan that will help create a more walkable, transit-friendly community while improving access to opportunities for residents, workers, and visitors.
Bound Brook Urban Design Plan Implementation Project
Through this effort, the NJTPA worked with the Borough of Bound Brook, Somerset County, to develop a number of regulatory updates and planning recommendations to implement Bound Brook’s award-winning Urban Design Plan and make this state-designated Transit Village more attractive to residents, businesses, visitors, and others looking to invest in this historic borough.