(Trenton) - The New Jersey Department of Transportation today announced that Montclair Township and Somerville Borough have been designated as the 21st and 22nd Transit Village communities in the state in recognition of their ongoing efforts to create walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods near public transportation centers.
Each municipality will be invited to apply for $100,000 grants through the New Jersey Department of Transportation in support of their Transit Village planning efforts.
“The Transit Village program encourages local officials to surround nearby transit facilities with a vibrant mix of residential, retail and commercial uses,” said Governor Chris Christie. “This type of development spurs sustainable economic growth, maximizes the value of our transit investments and benefits the environment.”
“We are delighted to welcome Montclair and Somerville into the family of Transit Village communities, and we commend them for embracing the Smart Growth principles that are designed to ease roadway congestion,” said NJDOT Commissioner James Simpson. “The Transit Village concept creates enjoyable, walkable communities that benefit – and benefit from – one of the best transit systems in the nation.”
“Transit Villages make it easier for residents and workers to choose NJ TRANSIT, benefitting the environment and reducing road congestion”, said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Jim Weinstein.
The Transit Village program involves numerous state agencies spearheaded by NJDOT and NJ TRANSIT. Participant communities are eligible to compete for grants to advance their plans.
Montclair’s Transit Village centers around its Bay Street Station on NJ TRANSIT’s Montclair-Boonton commuter rail line, while Somerville’s redevelopment efforts surround Somerville Station served by NJ TRANSIT’s Raritan Valley Line.
“The Township of Montclair is excited about achieving designation as a Transit Village and we anticipate great benefits to our local economy and quality of life as a result,” said Montclair Mayor Jerry Fried. “Our six train stations and their accompanying shopping areas along with our extensive central business district make this town one of the most walkable suburbs anywhere, and quality transit-oriented development holds great potential for lessening the burden on our residents by bolstering commercial ratables. Well-designed mixed-use development helps keeps dollars local while reducing the negative effects of overdependence on the automobile. We look forward to working with NJDOT to take advantage of our unique accessibility to mass transit.”
“This designation is important for the borough of Somerville and our redevelopment objectives,” said Somerville Mayor Brian G. Gallagher. “It will identify the Borough as a well planned Transit and pedestrian friendly, Smart Growth community. The Transit Village designation gives the Borough greater opportunities to obtain funding for and to complete transportation related projects which are central to the success of our redevelopment efforts. The Borough’s success in its redevelopment efforts is critical to the economic vitality of not only Somerville, but the entire region.”
Being designated a Transit Village provides a municipality with the following benefits:
• State of New Jersey commitment to the municipality's vision for redevelopment.
• Coordination among the State agencies that make up the Transit Village task force.
• Priority funding from some State agencies.
• Technical assistance from some State agencies.
• Eligibility for grants from NJDOT's dedicated Transit Village funding.
The Transit Village initiative began designating municipalities in 1999. 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 City, Burlington City and the City of Orange have been designated in previous years.
The initiative designates municipalities with a bus, train or light rail station or a ferry terminal that have embraced a Smart Growth vision. That vision encompasses opportunities for growth and economic revitalization; a commitment to compact, mixed-use development; a strong residential component including affordable housing; and jobs, restaurants, arts, entertainment and the preservation of architectural character within walking distance of a passenger transportation facility.