This month, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) announced which municipalities would be receiving grants that aim to develop safe transportation options. In addition to $164.25 million in grant money being made available in Local Aid funding, NJDOT also announced the winners of the Bikeway and Safe Streets to Transit (SST) grants. These programs distribute $1 million in funds annually. Additional funds were distributed to municipalities participating in the Transit Village program.
What are the grants?
The Bikeways grant focuses on developing infrastructure that promotes “safety and quality-of-life projects for the biking community,” according to NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. It is part of the State’s goal to create 1,000 new miles of bike paths to facilitate a better regional cycling network.
The three municipalities receiving funding from the Bikeway grant are Somers Point in Atlantic County ($130,000), Lawrence in Mercer County ($370,000) and Garfield in Bergen County ($500,000).
The Safe Street to Transit (SST) grant focuses on creating safe options for mass-transit users to walk to transit stations. The grant support projects improving safety within 1 mile of transit stops and facilities. According to Commissioner Gutierrez- Scaccetti, “providing sidewalks, safe and convenient ways to cross streets and comfortable and attractive environments, encourages walking as part of a healthy lifestyle, and reduces roadway congestion.”
The five municipalities receiving funding from the SST grant are: Berkeley Heights in Union County ($410,000); Delran in Burlington County ($250,000); Margate in Atlantic County ($150,000); Red Bank in Monmouth County ($100,000); and Middle Township in Cape May County ($90,000).
The Transit Village grants are designed 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.
The five municipalities receiving grants from the Transit Village program were: Bloomfield in Essex County ($230,000); Morristown in Morris County ($200,000); Somerville in Somerset County ($130,000); Hackensack in Bergen County ($370,000); and West Windsor in Mercer County ($70,000).
Somers Point will use funding to add bike lanes to Somers Point-Mays Landing Road, which will be used to connect the existing bike path and the Route 52 multi-use path to the new Garden State Parkway multi-use path and bike lanes on Route 9. Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2020, with completion in summer 2020.
Lawrence Township is using the funding to build an off-road bike path and pedestrian trail made of pervious pavement, allowing for water permeation, and a boardwalk in environmentally sensitive areas. This will also help connect the municipal bike paths to recreational trails by allowing access to the Mercer County Park and the Lawrence Hopewell Trail system. The hope is that this trail will eventually connect paths that link with Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park. Funding will also help improve an old bike path with clear striping to improve safety.
Berkley Heights SST funding will go towards a larger vision to revitalize their downtown corridor. The aim is to improve walkability to the train station and around the middle school as well as throughout the entire downtown area. The hope is that the investment in the area will help businesses especially near the train station, increase quality of life for residents, increase home values, make the town more commuter friendly and attract new residents and visitors.
Margate will use the funding to improve the area around Washington and Ventnor avenues.
Middle Township’s funding will go towards new sidewalks where there aren’t any currently and reconstruction of existing deteriorating sidewalks. This also includes the installation of handicap ramps at driveway and roadway intersections and improvements to drainage systems.
Hackensack plans to combine $370,000 from the Transit Village program with the $255,610 Municipal Aid Grant Award to complete streetscape improvements along Main Street between Berry Street and Banta Place.
Morristown will use $200,000 in funding for pedestrian safety improvements along Lafayette Avenue, between Ridgedale Avenue and the NJ Transit Train Trestle. The concept design improves the corridor’s walkability by widening sidewalks with new shade trees and includes important measures for pedestrian safety such as new crosswalk signage and the realignment of nearby access roads.