Office of the Governor |
$340,000 for Pleasantville Transit Village
Governor, Commissioner call
Pleasantville Transit Village a model for smart growth
(Pleasantville) - Reinforcing his commitment to smart growth planning, Governor James E. McGreevey and Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere today announced that Pleasantville will receive $340,000 for improvements to its transit village. The State’s Transit Village program partners communities with 10 State agencies to help implement redevelopment and smart growth goals.
“Drivers in New Jersey lose 261 million hours a year to congestion – an average of 45 hours per driver,” said McGreevey. “New Jerseyans deserve a quality of life that is not diminished by congestion and endless sprawl. That is why we are expanding transit villages throughout the State and providing assistance to towns like Pleasantville who are using smart growth principles to plan around mass transportation, and not the automobile.”
"This $340,000 check is a testament to the Governor's commitment to Smart Growth, reducing congestion and increasing the quality of life for all New Jerseyans," said Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere. "Transit Villages are an effective tool in our fight against sprawl and in making mass transit in our state a viable option, not a last resort."
“As we mayors like to say, ‘once a mayor, always a mayor,’ and we are certainly appreciative of this assistance from Governor McGreevey, who knows the impact that transportation projects like this one will have on our town,” said Mayor Peterson. “This money will be instrumental in our efforts to revitalize our downtown, as well as beautify the area surrounding bus terminal.”
“This project is not just a building block for Pleasantville, but a positive step for regional planning,” said Senator William L. Gormley (R-Atlantic), who was also present at the announcement.
The $340,000 will be used for parking improvements to Milan Avenue, which will be reconstructed to provide parking for the Pleasantville Bus Terminal and downtown businesses. In addition to 80 new spaces, the project will include the widening of sidewalks leading to the terminal, installation of new decorative street lights, repave sections of Milan Avenue and install a fence between Milan Avenue and adjacent railroad tracks. The money will also be used to build a sidewalk on Reading Avenue and for a traffic management study to help the town deal with the smart growth development that will occur.
State’s Transit Village Initiative:
The Transit Village program is designed to spur economic development, urban revitalization and private-sector investment around passenger rail stations. A designated Transit Village is a community with a bus, train, light rail or ferry station that developed a plan to achieve its goals.
A municipality must demonstrate a commitment to smart growth planning and transit-oriented development, as well as a commitment to maintain the architectural history of the area, and create housing, cultural and commercial opportunities within walking distance of the facility.
In January, the Governor set a goal to double the number of transit villages from 7 to 14.
Including Pleasantville, there are currently eight municipalities that have the Transit Village designation throughout the state. The other municipalities are Morristown, Metuchen, Rutherford, South Amboy, South Orange, Riverside and Rahway.
The Transit Village initiative seeks to provide much-needed congestion relief on New Jersey roadways through the promotion of public transit expansion and partnerships with the private sector. Municipalities designated as Transit Villages will be given priority consideration for funding and technical assistance by the participating agencies.
Other participating agencies include, the NJ Commerce and Economic Growth Commission, NJ Department of Community Affairs, NJ Redevelopment Authority, NJ Department of Environmental Protection, NJ State Council on the Arts, NJ Economic Development Authority, NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency and the NJ Office of Smart Growth.
The Governor’s Commitment to Combating Sprawl:
In his State of the State address, Governor McGreevey outlined ways the State can help target new development to urban centers and older suburbs, control sprawl, and protect the State’s most valuable natural resources, including:
- Preserving 20,000 acres of farmland a year to preserve rural areas.
- Creating or upgrading 200 local parks and adding at least two state parks in the next three years and planting 100,000 new trees across the Garden State.
- Devoting at least an additional $100 million over the next three years—a 15 percent increase—to open space protection in areas such as the Highlands.
- Creating an incentive for conservation by implementing a limited time capital gains tax waiver for landowners who sell their property to the State’s open space program.
The Governor also stated his unequivocal commitment to combating over-development and sprawl by giving local governments the power they need to fight developers and protect their residents, including:
- Empowering towns with the legal and zoning tools to control and manage future development.
- Allowing municipalities to impose a one-year building moratorium.
- Establishing impact fees so that developers, not taxpayers, bear the burdens for the cost of new roads and schools.
- Making county and regional planning authorities more effective and professional since the negative impacts of development are not limited to the boundaries of individual towns.