Together North Jersey announces funding for local planning projects
Together North Jersey announced funding today for six projects through its Local Demonstration Project Program (LDP). These projects are being led by Bloomfield Township, the Borough of Glen Ridge, the Edison Greenways Group, Maplewood, Montclair Township, North Jersey Partners, Toms River Township, and Woodbridge Township.
The LDP Program is a major component of Together North Jersey, a regional collaborative planning initiative currently underway in the 13-county North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority region of New Jersey. Together North Jersey and its members are working to create a comprehensive and balanced plan that invests in the region’s existing communities to make housing, jobs, educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities more easily accessible.
The LDP Program is intended to provide technical assistance to local partners throughout the region to undertake strategic planning activities promoting sustainable, livable, and transit-oriented development, and advance the broader goals of Together North Jersey. Partnerships of local municipalities, counties, nongovernmental organizations, community development corporations and other interested parties can apply to participate in the LDP Program through a competitive selection process. With the announcement of these six projects, a total of eighteen will have received funding.
The Edison Greenways Group, in partnership with the Borough of Metuchen, Edison Township, Woodbridge Township, the Middlesex County Office of Parks and Recreation, and the Middlesex County Office of Planning will collaborate on the “Middlesex Greenway Access Plan.” The Middlesex Greenway is an existing rails-to-trails project that runs through the partner municipalities, and the goal of this project is to increase usage of the trail by developing an access plan that will enhance linkage to public transit, activity centers, and recreation facilities. The expectation is that increased usage will benefit public health. This project will run from January to May 2014.
Maplewood will work with Newark, South Orange, the Essex County Community Development Block Grant Program, and the Maplewood Chamber of Commerce for the “Irvington Avenue Corridor Study.” The project will create an action plan to revitalize the Irvington Avenue Corridor, which is in close proximity to the South Orange train station. Objectives include identifying capacity improvements to the existing roads through improved pedestrian and bike access, streetscape improvements, and promoting revitalization of the area. The project will run from January to May 2014.
Toms River Township will work with Manchester Township, Berkeley Township, Lakehurst Borough, the Ocean County Planning Department and OCEAN Inc. on the “Toms River Lakehurst Route 37 Economic Corridor Vision Plan.” The study will focus on a half-mile wide, six-mile long corridor centered on Route 37, west of the Garden State Parkway. Goals of the study include encouraging municipalities to look at the corridor in a wider-context, tie regional assets together, and explore changing land-use patterns that would be able to support transit service. The project is scheduled to run from January to May 2014.
The Township of Woodbridge, together with the City of Rahway, the Woodbridge Arts Alliance, and the Rahway Arts District, will use their Together North Jersey funding for the “Woodbridge Rahway Regional Access to the Arts Study.” The project will identify opportunities to fill transit gaps in the area by promoting arts-related uses as destinations, and explore how transit can be used to support the arts district. This project is scheduled to begin in April and conclude in August 2014.
Bloomfield Township, Montclair Township, and the Borough of Glen Ridge, in partnership with the Montclair Business Improvement District and the Bloomfield Center Alliance Improvement District, will use their grant for the “Bloomfield Avenue Complete Corridor Plan.” The goal of the plan is to create design standards that support the implementation of complete street standards, improve mobility and safety for all users, and attract economic investment. This project is scheduled to run from April to August 2014.
Passaic, Morris, Sussex, Warren, Hudson, Essex and Bergen Counties, will work together as North Jersey Partners on a “Regional Access to Employment Study” for the seven county region. The goal of this project is to identify ways to address the needs of regional employers and adapt existing training dollars to match economic growth. The project is intended to complement the workforce development conducted daily where the unemployed and underemployed are provided training and employment resources. This project will inform the organization and its customers on where job and population centers are located and how they are served by mass transit. The final goal is to provide the background research necessary for North Jersey Partners to create a regional economic development plan. The project is scheduled to run from April to August 2014.
Details on all proposed Local Demonstration Projects can be found on the Together North Jersey Website, http://togethernorthjersey.com/?page_id=14208. Individual pages will be added for this round of projects shortly.
Together North Jersey membership is open to any public jurisdiction, agency or authority; non-governmental organization; neighborhood association; community and faith-based organization; private business or company; or educational institution located in the region or serving the region. Funding support for Together North Jersey is provided through a Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development received by Rutgers University in January 2012.
The LDP program is led by NJ TRANSIT, a member of Together North Jersey and one of the key project partners. NJ TRANSIT, along with the Edward J. Bloustein School for Planning and Policy and several other agencies and organizations around the region, provide the organizational capacity and expertise necessary to execute day-to-day the work of Together North Jersey. Technical assistance for individual LDPs will be provided by one of NJ TRANSIT’s three existing “on-call” Transit Friendly Planning, Land Use and Development Task Order Consultant Teams. These Teams are led by EE&K a Perkins Eastman company, Looney Ricks Kiss, and Regional Plan Association.
For more information on Together North Jersey or the Local Demonstration Project Program, contact Miriam Salerno at email@example.com or visit www.togethernorthjersey.com.