Transportation Commissioner delivers
funding for Rutherford Transit Village
Lettiere praises Borough's successful Smart Growth planning
(Rutherford) - State Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere today delivered $420,000 in funding to Rutherford officials to aid in the completion of traffic calming measures associated with the Borough’s designation as a Transit Village.
"Drivers in New Jersey lose 261 million hours a year to congestion - an average of 45 hours per driver," said Governor James E. McGreevey. "New Jerseyans deserve a quality of life that is not diminished by congestion and endless sprawl. That is why we are improving transit villages throughout the State and providing assistance to towns like Rutherford who are planning around mass transportation, and not the automobile."
“From its creation of a pedestrian-friendly downtown to its encouragement of the use of public transportation, Rutherford has thrived since its designation as a Transit Village,” said Lettiere. “Displaying a true cooperative effort between public and private entities, Mayor McPherson and the Borough Council have revitalized their community and stayed true to the principles of smart growth. Rutherford stands as a model for all communities that wish to ease congestion and improve the quality of life for New Jersey’s residents.”
In his State of the State address, Governor McGreevey outlined ways to improve the overall quality of life in New Jersey, such as fighting sprawl, preserving open space and protecting our drinking water. The Governor has made New Jersey a leader in farmland preservation with over 112,000 acres permanently preserved, and has moved aggressively on his promise to improve 200 local parks. He has also taken the unprecedented action of applying the highest protection possible-C1 designation-to over 40 percent of the State's drinking water.
The $420,000 will allow Rutherford to finalize plans to address pedestrian and vehicular safety issues at Station Square in front of the Rutherford Train Station through the completion of a modern roundabout. Approaches will be yield controlled which allows for free flow movements in the roundabout and slows vehicle speeds. Pavement markings and raised landscape islands used to form traffic lanes will also provide safe passage for pedestrians crossing to the station, bus stop and nearby businesses.
Since its designation as a Transit Village in 1999, Rutherford’s central business district has a variety of changes including enhanced streetscapes with new lighting fixtures, decorative trash receptacles, wide brick sidewalks and plantings to create a more attractive pedestrian environment, as well as raised pedestrian islands and pavement markings for safe crossing near the rail station. A community shuttle service that transports people from various neighborhoods right to the train station was also initiated to encourage the use of bus and rail transportation.
In addition to the public sector investment, Rutherford Borough gained support local businesses including Boiling Springs Bank, which is constructing a mixed-used project near the train station. The project calls for a new structure with retail space, a day care center, medical offices, 48 up-scale apartments, and parking facilities to accommodate 510 vehicles.
“The Transit Village concept in Rutherford is a clear cut example of smart growth and moving New Jersey forward,” said Senator Paul Sarlo. “The borough’s downtown Renaissance has come to fruition through a strong public-private partnership and a commitment to encouraging the use of public transportation. These efforts have further enhanced the sense of community and improved the quality of life for area residents.”
The Transit Village program is designed to spur economic development, urban revitalization and private-sector investment around public transportation. A designated Transit Village is a community with a bus, train, light rail or ferry station that has developed a plan to achieve its goals.
A municipality must demonstrate a commitment to smart growth planning and transit-oriented development, as well as a commitment to maintain the architectural history of the area, and create housing, cultural and commercial opportunities within walking distance of the facility.
Rutherford is among eight municipalities in New Jersey to have the Transit Village designation. The other municipalities are Metuchen, Morristown, Pleasantville, South Amboy, South Orange, Riverside and Rahway.
The Transit Village initiative seeks to provide much-needed congestion relief on New Jersey roadways through the promotion of public transit expansion and partnerships with the private sector. Municipalities designated as Transit Villages will be given priority consideration for funding and technical assistance by the participating agencies.
Other participating agencies include, the NJ Commerce and Economic Growth Commission, NJ Department of Community Affairs, NJ Redevelopment Authority, NJ Department of Environmental Protection, NJ State Council on the Arts, NJ Economic Development Authority, NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency and the NJ Office of Smart Growth.