Bergen County, NJ (2004-2006)

Client: New Jersey Department of Transportation

Project for Public Spaces is working in collaboration with NJDOT and HNTB on a sustainable, integrated transportation / land-use plan for a 10 mile section along the NJ Route 17 corridor, one of the most congested roadways in the most densely populated county in the State of New Jersey. The purpose of this project is to establish a framework for responsible transportation and development planning, focusing on strategic planning and Smart Growth applications for the study corridor and eight adjacent municipalities, as an alternative to a costly, disruptive, and in all probability, ineffectual widening of a two mile section of roadway as the sole means of reducing traffic congestion.

This project takes a detailed view of land use issues facing the communities along the corridor and the impact of these issues in relation to traffic management and traffic generation. Through workshops and individual meetings with municipalities in the study area, and following careful review of municipal planning, land use and zoning documents, the project team identified and discussed community issues and future development opportunities and their impact on Route 17 and local roadways. A holistic study of the corridor resulted in a package of solutions to manage congestion on Route 17 that would strengthen the long term effect of any future capacity increase through widening.

Seventeen strategies for addressing congestion on Route 17 were identified collectively by local communities and touched upon improvements to roadway operation, land use changes, options for making transit service more comprehensive, and traffic calming for local streets and county roads. These strategies were developed into preliminary concepts that will be discussed and evaluated more fully, and with broader community participation, in the next phase of the study.

Unfortunately, the project was put on indefinite hold due to the fact that Bergen County is seeking funding for the widening independently and they, as well as a number of local municipalities within the study area, chose not to cooperate with the DOT on pursuing alternative congestion mitigate strategies.