NJDOT unveils 6 new
$1.2 million in grants
Villages delivered as part of Governor's Smart Growth promise
(Collingswood) - State Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere today announced 6 new Transit Villages throughout New Jersey and $1.2 million to fund associated projects.
"Drivers in New Jersey lose 261 million hours a year to congestion - an average of 45 hours per driver," said Governor James E. McGreevey. "New Jerseyans deserve a quality of life that is not diminished by congestion and endless sprawl. We need to spend our precious time with our families, not stuck traffic jams. By adhering to the Smart Growth principles and building upon our mass transit system, and expanding the Transit Village program, we are succeeding.”
Lettiere joined with State and local officials near the Collingswood PATCO Station this morning and announced six new Transit Villages and a $200,000 grant for each community. They included: Collingswood, Bound Brook, Belmar, Bloomfield, Matawan and Cranford. The monies will be used for a range of improvements including streetscaping, traffic calming measures, road improvements, bicycle paths and station improvements.
“If we want to take cars off our highways, we must make mass transit a viable option, not a last resort,” said Lettiere. “Under Governor McGreevey’s leadership, we’re doing just that – by creating 20,000 new parking spaces at our bus and rail terminals, by adding 20,000 new seats on our NJ TRANSIT trains, and now by designating six new Transit Villages that will allow people to live, shop and reach work without a car.”
In his State of the State address, Governor McGreevey outlined ways to improve the overall quality of life in New Jersey, such as fighting sprawl, preserving open space and protecting our drinking water. The Governor has made New Jersey a leader in farmland preservation with over 112,000 acres permanently preserved, and has moved aggressively on his promise to improve 200 local parks. He has also taken the unprecedented action of applying the highest protection possible-C1 designation-to over 40 percent of the State's drinking water. The Governor also vowed to double the number of Transit Villages by FY04.
"Collingswood has a long-standing history of promoting environmentally-friendly alternative modes of transportation and mass-transit to reduce congestion in the Borough," said Senator John H. Adler (D-6). "The Transit Village grants being announced by the DOT today reflect the State's growing emphasis on controlling automobile congestion and the recognition that the pattern followed by Collingswood will ultimately do just that in New Jersey."
“Collingswood is experiencing a rebirth,” said Assemblyman Lou Greenwald (D-6). “This Transit Village designation and the addition of a bike path will further enhance this great community. This will help ease traffic congestion and aid in the help against sprawl.”
The Transit Village program is designed to spur economic development, urban revitalization and private-sector investment around public transportation. A designated Transit Village is a community with a bus, train, light rail or ferry station that has 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.
New Jersey’s six new Transit Villages join a list eight others including: Rutherford, Metuchen, Morristown, Pleasantville, 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.