Four South Jersey towns —Burlington City, Riverside, Collingswood and Pleasantville — have received Transit Village grants totaling more than $1 million for downtown improvements near their commuter rail lines or bus station.
The projects range from parking lot renovation to streetscape, pedestrian walkway and bikeway improvements that will advance transit-oriented goals by reducing reliance on vehicles and encouraging use of mass transportation.
Gov. Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Transportation announced Transit Village grants for fiscal year 2022 of $3.8 million this week — the largest annual grant amount ever awarded — to 14 of the 33 towns designated statewide as Transit Villages since 1999.
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All four South Jersey towns have stations along rail lines. Burlington City and Riverside are Delaware Riverfront towns along the New Jersey Transit RiverLine light rail. Collingswood is along the PATCO HI-Speedline and Pleasantville is along the Atlantic City Rail Line of New Jersey Transit but has a New Jersey Transit Bus Terminal.
These are the grant amounts for projects in South Jersey:
- Burlington City: $250,00 for phase one improvements to the downtown parking lot between Stacey Street and the 300 block of High Street.
- Collingswood: $190,000 for pedestrian walkways and bikeways from downtown areas to the transit station
- Riverside: $100,000 for directional signage to and from the rail station
- Pleasantville: $500,000 for Old Turnpike streetscape improvements
Murphy said his administration is committed to reducing the effects of climate change, and that one of the best approaches is to improve public transportation to reduce reliance on cars.
Burlington City Mayor Barry Conaway said the city appreciates the long sought-after grant for parking renovations for safety and and modernization that will include resurfacing, brick sidewalks, electric vehicle charging stations, new street lighting and new signs to public transit.
The downtown lot provides off-street public parking to businesses fronting on High Street, East Union Street and East Broad Street, the Burlington Towne Center Light Rail Station at the city’s main intersection at High and Broad Streets and to NJ Transit bus routes along both Broad and High Streets and the First Baptist Church.
“In true Transit Village spirit, our downtown has recently become home to new residents and businesses at Pearl Pointe, a 183-unit apartment and mixed-use complex on a former gravel lot at the end of High Street, so safety improvements and modernization of this parking lot are necessary for that project as well,” the mayor explained.
The parking lot also allows its users to connect with other downtown housing and to take walking tours in the historic city, founded in 1677 before Philadelphia.
“The increase in Transit Village grants means more communities will be state able to fund projects that promote economic growth near rail and bus stations,” state DOT commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said in a joint statement with Murphy.
“Initiatives like the Transit Village program ensures our entire transportation system is modern, accessible, and equitable, benefitting all New Jersey residents and visitors.”
Carol Comegno loves telling stories about South Jersey life, history and military veterans for the Courier Post, Burlington County Times and The Daily Journal. If you have a story to share, call her at 856-486-2473 or email email@example.com.
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