Program promotes mixed-use development and Complete Streets accommodations near transit facilities
TRENTON – Governor Murphy and New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti today announced that the City of Newark in Essex County has been designated as a Transit Village, making it the 34th municipality to be recognized since the program began in 1999.
The state’s Transit Village Initiative connects designated municipalities with a task force comprising state agencies that help implement mixed-use development and Complete Streets accommodations near transit facilities. Those agencies provide funding and technical assistance to municipalities that have been designated as a Transit Village.
“Newark has been undergoing a renaissance for the past several years, and this designation is a recognition of the city’s continued growth, revitalization, and success,” said Governor Murphy. “Our Administration stands as a ready and committed partner to the City of Newark, and this initiative will stand to assist the City in it’s efforts to continue groundbreaking and transformative development that is accessible to public transportation and some of our state’s greatest cultural treasures. None of this would be possible without the leadership of Mayor Baraka and many other dedicated stakeholders.”
“On behalf of our residents and visitors, we thank Governor Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Transportation for designating the City of Newark as a Transit Village," said Mayor Ras J. Baraka. "It's been important to my administration to enhance public transit, strengthen our economy, and provide affordable and market-rate housing. With this recognition and support, we will continue our efforts to make even greater improvements for our community.”
“To receive a Transit Village designation, a municipality must develop a plan for redevelopment that promotes economic activity and public transportation,” said NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “Newark has demonstrated a comprehensive approach to transforming the downtown of New Jersey’s largest city to make it vibrant, day and night, and accessible through any mode of transportation. Newark can expect priority consideration in funding and technical assistance from many of the participating agencies.”
Newark’s vision is to create a pedestrian-friendly, downtown environment that supports opportunities for higher densities of mixed use, residential, retail, and commercial development in the specific area of the regional bus hub at the intersection of Broad and Market Streets. The city is looking to transform the intersection, a significant crossroads of commerce and culture, into the epicenter of a more equitable, empowered, and collaborative transportation system.
The Transit Village District, which is centered on Broad and Market Streets, includes multiple institutions of higher learning, entertainment venues, residential incubators, and a cluster of corporate headquarters. Most of the Transit Village District is covered by redevelopment plans, including the Living Downtown Redevelopment Plan and the Downtown Core Redevelopment Plan. These plans aim to create more mixed-use development, promote the restoration of historic assets, enhance the downtown’s cultural resources, and reduce the dependence on automobiles by improving public transit, pedestrian, and bicycle accommodations.
The district contains 63 bus stops, three light rail stations, and one commuter rail station—Newark Penn Station, which accommodates PATH, NJ TRANSIT, Amtrak, and private inter-city bus companies. There are 17 bus routes that serve the intersection of Broad and Market Streets, and each weekday approximately 80,000 passengers use some form of transit within the Transit Village District.
In 2012, Newark adopted a Complete Streets policy that ensures transportation projects are developed to safely accommodate users of all ages and abilities, including pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation users, motorists, and freight vehicles. The city is working on implementing bus lanes, level-boarding stations, off-board fare payment, and all-door-boarding vehicles in the proposed Transit Village District.
The NJDOT-administered Transit Village Initiative provides participating municipalities with planning expertise and grant opportunities to redevelop land near train or other transit facilities in a way that promotes economic activity and the use of public transportation.
Transit Village designation provides:
1. State of New Jersey commitment to the municipality’s redevelopment vision
2. Coordination and technical assistance among State agencies that comprise the Transit Village Task Force
3. Priority consideration for certain funding opportunities
New Jersey’s first Transit Village was designated in 1999. The roster now includes Pleasantville, Morristown, Rutherford, South Amboy, South Orange, Riverside, Rahway, Metuchen, Belmar, Collingswood, Bloomfield, Bound Brook, Cranford, Matawan, New Brunswick, Journal Square/Jersey City, Netcong, Elizabeth, Burlington City, Orange, Somerville, Montclair, Linden, West Windsor, East Orange, Dunellen, Summit, Plainfield, Park Ridge, Irvington, Hackensack, Long Branch, Asbury Park, and now Newark.
The Department has programmed $1 million in the Fiscal Year 2022 Capital Program to provide funding to the 34 municipalities designated Transit Villages. Applications for Transit Village designation are accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed by the Transit Village Task Force. The task force reviews applications and makes recommendations to the NJDOT Commissioner, who has final approval of Transit Village designations.