An initiative started more than 20 years ago to promote the idea of smart growth and walkable downtowns is gaining popularity in the Garden State.
The Transit Village program, overseen by the New Jersey Department of Transportation, aims to reduce traffic congestion while increasing transit ridership by improving areas around transit stations that are pedestrian-friendly.
It can mean a lot of money
If a municipality meets certain criteria and is designated as a transit village, it can result in millions of dollars in funding for planning assistance and grants for revitalization projects in that city.
Tim Evans, director of research for New Jersey Future, said transit villages feature clusters of housing, stores and restaurants where people don’t need their cars to get around.
“Some people don’t want to have to drive everywhere and a Transit Village serves those people very well, even if you don’t use the public transit system,” he said.
He said the program is beneficial in several ways.
Good for New Jersey
“The more you can get people to get around by means other than cars, the less congestion you have on the roads, and less driving means less greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. declared.
“It’s not just people taking public transport (to get to work) instead of driving, and people walking instead of driving, but also in places where destinations are close to each other, even people who still drive generally drive shorter distances.”
Evans said another benefit is that “generally these transit villages also include a wider variety of housing types than you’ll find in the suburbs, so they create housing options.”
Popular with millennials
He noted that this type of living environment has become very popular with millennials, who like the idea of a walkable downtown because they don’t want to have to drive everywhere.
Evans said in New Jersey, “there are currently 34 municipalities in the program, and together their population is just over 1.5 million people.”
He said transit villages can be located in towns where there is a train station, a bus terminal or even a ferry terminal, but not all residents necessarily live within walking distance of the train station or terminal. .
Recently, the city of Newark was designated as a transit village.
“It is really important that we try to develop this type of development more, to increase the offer so that more people who want it can have it,” he said.
The list of Transit Villages in New Jersey:
South Amboy (1999)
Orange of the South (1999)
Field of Flowers (2003)
Bound Brook (2003)
New Brunswick (2005)
Newspaper Square/Jersey City (2005)
City of Burlington (2007)
City of Orange (2009)
West Windsor (2012)
East Orange (2012)
Park Ridge (2015)
Long Branch (2016)
Asbury Park (2017)
New York (2021)
The Future of New Jersey is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes reasonable and equitable growth, redevelopment, and infrastructure investment to foster healthy and resilient communities.
David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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