The Transit Friendly Communities for New Jersey program is a unique partnership between NJ Transit, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, the Office of State Planning, and non-profit groups (Project for Public Spaces, Regional Plan Association, Downtown New Jersey, Rutgers Transportation Policy Institute and New Jersey Future). The program was developed to demonstrate to New Jersey communities that over $7.5 billion in transit investments for repairing and connecting all of the State's passenger train lines can be leveraged to revitalize downtowns, encourage business and local economic development, and reduce reliance on the private car.
Following two workshops, eleven stations were selected for the program to represent diversity including those in developed downtowns (Rutherford, Red Bank), new light rail stations (Bayonne, Riverton, Palmyra), and stations where there is considerable development opportunity (Hackensack, Matawan/Aberdeen). Tailored to the needs of each community, technical assistance involved a full range of issues: walkability and bikeability analysis to all stations; traffic calming; community visioning; new development and zoning strategies to support higher density uses that support transit; revitalization of adjacent retail or downtown districts; and making the train station an important community place. The goal is to achieve immediate, visible results in the selected demonstration communities, while greatly increasing public interest and awareness across the State of the opportunity for transportation to leverage community enhancements and support land use development practices that are transit friendly.
Transit is a component, but by no means the extent, of your experience at a station that is a place. Memorable and enjoyable stations and stops that create value for neighborhoods are perfectly attainable. In fact, a transit station or stop can serve much more than a transportation function; it can be a setting for community interaction, a place that fosters a diversity of activities.