DUNELLEN – Earlier this week, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno joined state and local officials to announce the Borough of Dunellen has become the 26th municipality to be accepted into the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s (DOT) statewide Transit Village program.
The designation culminates a detailed planning process that aims to revitalize the neighborhood near Dunellen’s public transportation facilities. The redevelopment site is located in Dunellen’s central business district.
“The Transit Village Initiative is a perfect example of the Christie Administration’s commitment to spurring investment, revitalization, and job creation in some of our hardest hit communities. This program establishes partnerships with communities to help them carry out local redevelopment objectives, while building infrastructure and development in areas already connected by our transit network,” said Guadagno. “This designation gives us the opportunity to extend these benefits to the Dunellen community and encourage the use of public transportation in a way that makes sense in people’s everyday lives.”
Overall, the program provides participating towns 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. All Transit Village proposals must include residential components.
“The Transit Village program promotes a desirable style of development that creates car-free opportunities for residents and visitors to walk to and from transit facilities and to and from local shopping, dining, employment and other destinations,” said NJDOT Commissioner James Simpson. “Transit Villages reduce roadway congestion, benefit the environment and help create healthful, vibrant neighborhoods.”
In addition to housing and mixed-use development, the Dunellen proposal include plans to promote the use of bicycles, consistent with Complete Streets principles that encourage the safe accommodation of all users of streets and roads, including pedestrians and bicyclists.
“We have worked very hard to obtain this Transit Village designation because it will help Dunellen residents and businesses build on the momentum we have created to reinvent our downtown business district,” said Dunellen Mayor Robert Seader.
Dunellen has identified three parcels totaling 23.5 acres for redevelopment near its NJ TRANSIT Raritan Valley Line train station.
Transit Village designation provides:
· State of New Jersey commitment to the municipality’s redevelopment vision
· Coordination among ten State agencies that comprise the Transit Village Task Force and technical assistance from state agencies
· 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 City, Burlington City, Orange, Somerville, Montclair, Linden, West Windsor, East Orange and Dunellen.
There was no specific line item in the NJDOT Fiscal Year 2012 budget for Transit Village grants under Local Aid, however 14 Transit Village municipalities were awarded $4.2 million through the Municipal Aid grant program to advance projects within their Transit Village districts.
Such funding opportunities remain in place for Fiscal Year 2013 and will be bolstered by a $1 million grant program specifically for Transit Village projects. Applications are now being accepted by NJDOT through Oct. 16 for Fiscal Year 2013 grants.