On April 10, 2019, New Jersey‘s governor, Phil Murphy, announced new Transit Village grants totaling $1 million to help create transit-oriented revitalization in five municipalities. The grants are designed to advance Transit Village projects that will improve quality of life without burdening local property tax payers.
Municipalities included: Bloomfield (Essex County), Morristown (Morris County), Somerville (Somerset County), Hackensack (Bergen County), and West Windsor (Mercer County).
“Public transportation is an asset to our commuting public within a state as densely populated as New Jersey,” NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti stated. “The Transit Village program provides funding to communities that are committed to revitalizing neighborhoods near existing transit facilities to improve our communities and the quality of life of our residents.”
Under this multi-agency smart growth initiative, municipalities that have transit facilities within their borders can seek to be designated as a Transit Village by developing plans for dense, mixed-use redevelopment that includes housing near their transit facility.
The initiative creates incentives to revitalize areas around transit stations to create attractive, vibrant, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods where people can live, shop, work and play without relying on automobiles.
Today, there are 33 municipalities in the transit village program. Among the benefits of the transit village designation are priority funding and technical assistance from some state agencies, and enhanced eligibility for grants from the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Each municipality with a Transit Village designation may submit one application for funding. Applications must be for projects located within one-half mile of the transit facility and the projects are awarded on a competitive basis taking into consideration proximity to a transit facility, walkability, bicycling, project need and applicant’s past performance using other Local Aid funds.
The following five municipalities received grants totaling $1 million available in the FY 2019 Transit Village grant program:
- Bloomfield, Essex County: $230,000
- Morristown, Morris County: $200,000
- Somerville, Somerset County: $130,000
- Hackensack, Bergen County: $370,000
- West Windsor, Mercer County: $70,000
The Transit Village Program seeks to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality by increasing transit ridership. Studies have shown that adding residential housing options within walking distance of a transit facility; typically a one-half mile radius, increases transit ridership more than any other type of development. Therefore, one of the goals of the Transit Village Initiative is to bring more housing, businesses and people into the neighborhoods around transit stations.
Featured photo by ZeWrestler (via en.wikipedia) shows the War of the Worlds monument Grover’s Mill, New Jersey. The landing site marked by the monument is the current day Van Nest Park in West Windsor Township, New Jersey.