The largest regional planning initiative in New jersey THIS MORNING

May 5th, in Newark. The largest regional planning initiative in New jersey, Together North Jersey, will be hosting an open forum featuring 40 local planning projects that have been completed over the past three years. Of interest in Hunterdon County are:

  • Together 220
  • Kingwood Implementation of the Route 12 Center-based Scenic Corridor Economic Strategy

We expect over 300 people to attend, including many mayors and freeholders from across the region. We will also be hosting senior leadership from several federal agencies, including US Department of Transportation, US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and will be exhibiting all 40 of our local projects staffed by our local partners and representatives.

Federal agency senior leadership will include:

  • Robert Clark, NJ Division of USDOT-FHWA Region 2 Administrator
  • John Filippelli, Clean Air and Sustainability Division, USEPA Region 2
  • Holly Leicht, HUD Region 2 Administrator
  • Matthew Suchodolski, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Vermont Regional Office, USEDA
  • Marilyn G. Shazor, USDOT-FTA Region 2 Administrator


The event will take place at the Robeson Campus center at Rutgers-Newark, located at: 350 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Newark, NJ 07102

Leading the Way: An Overview of Poster Session Projects


Since 2012, Together North Jersey has invested nearly half of its funds and leveraged state and local resources in local planning projects throughout North Jersey communities through three different initiatives – the Local Demonstration Project Program, the Local Government Capacity Grant Program, and the NGO Micro-Grant Program.  Not only do these local plans tackle specific problems in various communities – such as making a roadway safer for pedestrians and cyclists, improving access to jobs, building the local economy through the arts, or improving transportation options – they also helped us to test solutions to these problems in the real world. Many of these projects also demonstrated how diverse communities and municipalities facing common challenges can effectively collaborate to develop a shared vision and plan for a sustainable future.


Below you will find short descriptions of each of the projects. The projects are numbered in the order in which they are displayed in the poster session.


  1. Countywide Economic System Evaluation and Analysis, Characterization and Future Growth Analysis for Sussex County: A follow-up to the County’s 2005 Strategic Growth Plan, this project developed strategies to reduce or reverse the loss of population and economic base that the County has been experiencing in recent years. The project resulted in a Plan of Action that focuses on policy and partnerships, as well as small-scale projects and programs.


  1. Regional Workforce Collaboration Study:The Regional Workforce Collaboration Study looked at regional solutions to workforce issues as well as strategies to address the gaps in transportation service between population centers and employment destinations. This project helped increase understanding of the gaps between skills available in the workforce and the needs of the employers. It also helped identify the need for improved bus routes and employer-sponsored shuttle services.


  1. Pompton Lakes Transit Access Study: This project looked at local demand for public transit and explored different types of transit service improvements that could support efforts to revive historic downtown Pompton Lakes Borough through the Pompton Lakes Downtown Redevelopment Area. Study recommendations addressed regional bus service, local shuttle service, bus stop area improvements, and creating suburban commuter park & ride lots with service to New York City on existing underutilized parking lots in strategic locations.


  1. Paterson Northside Community Action Plan: The Paterson Northside Community Action Plan provides a set of strategies for improving quality of life in the neighborhood through enhanced public safety, economic development, increased access to job opportunities, and plans for new open space and recreation. The Action Plan builds on Paterson Habitat for Humanity’s revitalization work and the “Building Pride in the Northside” Community Revitalization Plan.


  1. Newark Access to Opportunity Study: The Newark Access to Opportunity Study identified the specific barriers to employment facing residents of four Newark neighborhoods, and put forward strategies to help residents find pedestrian- and transit-accessible living wage jobs by building on the work of local community-based organizations.


  1. Woodbridge Rahway Regional Access to the Arts:The Woodbridge Rahway Regional Access to the Arts plan builds on the efforts of Woodbridge Township and the City of Rahway to advance an arts-driven, transit-oriented, downtown revitalization strategy. The towns are hoping to create an inter-county arts region encompassing both Union and Middlesex counties that will be based on transit connections, compatibility of programming and venues, and cross-promotion of events. The result will be an arts region that will be unique in New Jersey and attract more visitors and investment to both municipalities.


  1. Route 37 Economic Corridor Vision Plan:The Route 37 Economic Corridor Vision Plan created an economic development corridor spanning Toms River Township, Berkeley Township, Lakehurst Borough, and Manchester Township and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Ocean County. The focus of the plan was to develop better use of existing assets and linking technology-oriented employment and mixed use development to improve the corridor. Strategies included: preparing a detailed market study and inventory of existing commercial space, suggesting master plan updates for all the communities, including, zoning changes to allow mixed-use development, expanding upon, exploring new educational partnerships, and exploring ways to bring additional transportation options to the area.


  1. Hunterdon County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS):The Hunterdon County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS)is the first economic plan in Hunterdon County’s 300-year history. The CEDS will serve as the blueprint for the County’s economic future, emphasizing support for entrepreneurship, repurposing underutilized commercial and industrial properties, and developing and marketing the County’s arts, cultural, recreational and historic assets, such as theaters, farms, national parks, historic mills and quaint towns.


  1. Together 202:The Together 202 LDP identified opportunities to create new clusters of development along Route 202, and to reposition obsolete office parks to transform the business environment. Together 202 looked at the communities along Route 202 in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties together to encourage coordinated decision-making on shared concerns like transit and land use, and to create a cohesive corridor-wide vision to guide these decisions.


  1. Kingwood Implementation of the Route 12 Center-based Scenic Corridor Economic Strategy: The Kingwood Implementation of the Route 12 Center-based Scenic Corridor Economic Strategy provides a plan for how Kingwood Township in Hunterdon County can balance anticipated future growth of development and transportation while maintaining the area’s scenic rural character along Route 12. Together North Jersey’s project team helped Kingwood explore the market potential for transferring development rights from its more rural western end to the eastern end of the corridor.


  1. Supporting Priority Investment in Somerset County: Phase 1: Supporting Priority Investment in Somerset County: Phase 1 focused on characterizing the socio-economic, real estate, land use, infrastructure and other assets, strengths and needs for each of the County’s 24 Priority Growth Investment Areas (PGIAs). Data from the Somerset County study is being incorporated into two additional studies that will develop specific recommendations for policy changes and investment priorities for the County’s PGIAs.


  1. Monmouth County Bus Rapid Transit Opportunities Study:The Monmouth County Bus Rapid Transit Opportunities Study assessed the current conditions of transit in Monmouth County. The study found that while regional express bus services enjoy high ridership, the region would benefit from more improvements to local bus services and facilities, exploring new bus routes and stops, and implementing bus rapid transit features Following this project, the draft Monmouth County Master Plan update included the recommendations to improve bus service along critical corridors.


  1. Exploration of a Public Bike Share Program in Hudson County:The Exploration of a Public Bike Share Program in Hudson County study produced recommendations for implementation of a bike share system that can be used across multiple cities or towns in either urban or suburban areas. The study identified a potential service area in Hudson county and potential locations for bike share stations, developed forecasts for ridership and membership, and recommendations for a low- or no-cost bike share membership model for social equity. This project also developed an assessment methodology that other areas in the region could use if they are considering a bike share program.


  1. McGinley Square-Montgomery Street Mobility Plan:The McGinley Square-Montgomery Street Mobility Plan identifies needed transportation, pedestrian and bicycle access improvements along this Jersey City corridor. These improvements have an ultimate goal of improving the economic viability of the redevelopment of McGinley Square. This Plan includes a set of comprehensive transportation improvements addressing transit, pedestrian improvements and traffic calming, bicycle integration and streetscape and urban design.


  1. Urban Essex Strategic Corridor Plan:The Urban Essex Strategic Corridor Plan developed a coordinated vision for revitalization around five existing train stations along the Inner Morris and Essex Rail Line (M&E) with a focus on fostering development with easy access to transit, vibrant arts districts and other important amenities. The project successfully created the Urban Essex Coalition for Smart Growth and hired staff to pursue funding for corridor-wide priorities.


  1. Irvington Avenue: Creating a Complete Corridor Plan:The Irvington Avenue: Creating a Complete Corridor Plan re-envisions Irvington Avenue, which winds through South Orange, Newark, and Maplewood, as a complete street with revitalized public space capable of supporting new development. The project seeks to develop the eastern end of the corridor as a new anchor entitled “Maplewood Corners.” A central feature of the plan is to develop a Corridor-long bike route. This not only has the potential to better unite the communities, but it will make bicycling a viable mode to access the train station.


  1. Perth Amboy Bay City Transit District Strategy:The Perth Amboy Bay City Transit District Strategy creates a new vision for Downtown Perth Amboy, oriented around transit.  The plan includes ideas for redeveloping the train station, reusing upper levels of old commercial buildings to develop more residential housing, capitalizing on the Downtown’s existing Latino niche market and food offerings, and rezoning downtown in order to encourage mixed-use development. The plan is built around a number of key places including a new “Station Green” and a revitalized Five Points intersection, which will anchor the downtown’s main commercial corridor along Smith Street.



  1. The Smith Street Central Business District Study:The Smith Street Central Business District Study developed a vision for the Gateway area in Perth Amboy. The reimagined Gateway area would be an interesting, eclectic market, combined with art and cultural events that attract visitors. To achieve this vision, the plan lays out several strategies including traffic calming measures, better regulated parking, improved connections to the water front, and potential redevelopment projects. The Gateway area would be directly connected to a redeveloped “transition” area, which in turn would connect to a revamped station area with improved pedestrian walkways, streetscaping, green public space, and zoning that promotes the use of transit.


  1. Essex County Complete Streets Implementation Action Plan:The Essex County Complete Streets Implementation Action Plan turns the County’s 2012 Complete Streets policy into on-the-ground improvements. The Plan serves as a roadmap for implementing complete streets strategies and projects in order to create networks of safe streets countywide. The checklists and protocols provided in the Plan will be used for future Essex County road maintenance, resurfacing, and design & construction projects starting in the spring of 2015.


  1. Valley We Design: Art from the Heart of Community:The Valley We Design: Art from the Heart of Community project presents a plan for improving the public space of the Valley Arts District in the City of Orange. Through public art and urban design, the district’s streets and other public areas will be used to connect the many art amenities located throughout the area. The plan follows the growing trend of Creative Placemaking as a way of revitalizing communities. Local artists were engaged in every aspect of preparing the plan, ensuring that the project is authentically local and invested in by the creative community, residents, and businesses.


  1. Bloomfield Avenue Complete Corridor Plan:The Bloomfield Avenue Complete Corridor Plan brought together the municipalities of Bloomfield, Montclair, Glen Ridge and Verona to create a plan for transforming a 4-1/2 mile section of Bloomfield Avenue from an automobile-dominated regional arterial into a “complete street,” enabling safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities.


  1. Bloomfield Avenue Health Impact Assessment:The Bloomfield Avenue Health Impact Assessment focuses on predicting the health outcomes of reducing at least one lane of motor vehicle traffic along a four-lane segment of the road, which many people avoid due to safety concerns. The results of the study suggest this “road diet” would increase the safety of all road users by providing a significant reduction in motor vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist crashes within the study area and likely reductions in the stress experienced by those who commute to work or school as well as shoppers and patrons of other services and venues in the area.


  1. Middlesex Greenway Health Impact Assessment: The Middlesex Greenway Health Impact Assessment examined the potential health impacts of strategies being considered to attract new users to the Middlesex Greenway in Middlesex County. The study revealed that the Greenway is an important but underutilized asset for improving physical fitness. However, the study also found that safety around the Greenway should be improved, including increasing users’ sense of personal safety and preventing potential collisions on the Greenway and surrounding roads.


  1. Middlesex Greenway Access Plan:The Middlesex Greenway Access Plancreated strategies to expand the use of the existing Middlesex Greenway through Edison, Metuchen, and Woodbridge. This includes promoting new partnerships and identifying new connections to link the Greenway to nearby public transit stops, schools, activity centers, parks, and places of employment, as well as ways to market the Greenway in order to attract visitors and support economic development. As part of the Middlesex Greenway Access Plan, Together North Jersey also partnered with the New Jersey Health Impact Collaborative to complete a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) that evaluated the potential positive and negative health effects of expanded Greenway use.


  1. Beyond the Curb: A Parklet ManualIn Morristown, Beyond the Curb explored the potential for a new type of public open space using on-street parking spaces, called “parklets,” to enhance New Jersey’s downtowns. Using Morristown as a test case, Beyond the Curb demonstrated the potential of parklets to create a more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly downtown and showed how parklets can be used to bring public art and recreation space into downtowns.


  1. Sustainable Development in Union County: A Livability Guide:Sustainable Development in Union County: A Livability Guide provides strategy recommendations for county and municipal decision-makers involved in policy-making and planning. Based on the six Principles of Livability developed by the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, the guide identifies specific opportunities to formulate and coordinate county and municipal policies and programs to advance a countywide livability program.


  1. The Morris Ave Corridor Vision & Mobility Plan (Springfield):The Morris Ave Corridor Vision & Mobility Plan in Springfield illustrated how improving the pedestrian experience along a typical suburban transportation corridor can transform an automobile-dominated thoroughfare into the linchpin of a more walkable and vibrant suburban downtown. The planenabled the Township to win a grant from the Port Authority to update its master plan. The Township has also entered into redeveloper agreements on two sites in the study area and is incorporating design recommendations from the vision plan.


  1. Complete Streets Concept Plan for Morris Avenue (Elizabeth) + Elizabeth Development Opportunities Website:The City of Elizabeth developed aComplete Streets Concept Plan for Morris Avenue to increase the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers along a 1.2-mile section Morris Avenue, a gateway corridor that connects the Midtown Elizabeth Train Station to Kean University, and functions as the heart of “Little Colombia.” The concept plan proposes low, medium, and high cost options to improve safety and security, to support walking, biking and transit use and increase neighborhood vitality.  The Elizabeth Development Opportunities website provides one-stop location for economic development resources information.


  1. Safe Route to School and Walkability in Elizabeth:Safe Route to School and Walkability in Elizabethwas a project of Groundwork Elizabeth to implement a Safe Routes to School initiative in the Elizabethport neighborhood of Elizabeth. Safe Routes to School is a Federal program managed in New Jersey by the State Department of Transportation (NJDOT) with the goal of enabling and encouraging children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school.


  1. New Brunswick Ciclovia Program:The City of New Brunswick used Together North Jersey resources to pilot and evaluate the New Brunswick Ciclovia Program. A ciclovia–a Spanish term that means “cycleway”– involves opening up certain streets to pedestrians and bicyclists by temporarily restricting use of the streets by automobiles. New Brunswick shut down traffic along a 3.4 mile route. Held in June 2013, the Ciclovia allowed 4,000 participants of all ages and abilities to enjoy free physical activity and recreation, from biking to dancing, in a safe and inclusive environment. The City of New Brunswick has expanded its Ciclovia program, holding three additional Ciclovias in 2015 and plans to continue hosting Ciclovias into 2015 and beyond.


  1. Food Environment in the First Ward of Paterson, NJ:Food Environment in the First Ward of Paterson, NJ was an effort by the United Way of Passaic County to assess people’s access to healthy food in the City of Paterson. Two surveys and a mapping exercise revealed unsafe and unsanitary practices in some shops, and showed that the cost of food, the time it takes to shop, and distance to the store were the issues of most concern for local residents.


  1. Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) Training and Audit in Paterson: The City of Paterson conducted a Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) Training and Audit project, which included an intensive two-month training program for city and community stakeholders, extensive outreach and engagement with the community, and identification of potential changes to the physical environment to improve safety in six high-crime areas. Additionally, a written toolkit of CPTED strategies that can be applied to other areas of the city was produced.


  1. Fairmount Heights Community Playground: SafeGrowth Plan: The Urban League of Essex County prepared The Fairmount Heights Community Playground: SafeGrowth Plan after attending Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) training sessions in the spring and summer of 2014. The resulting report makes recommendations for preventing crime, vandalism, and littering at the Fairmount Heights Community Playground and transforming the park into a safe space that is used by and cared for by the community. The recommended strategies include installing gates, repairing equipment, holding regularly scheduled clean-up and stewardship events, and expanding the playground into an adjacent vacant lot.


  1. SafeGrowth Report: Villa Victoria:La Casa De Don Pedro, a Newark-based NGO, prepared SafeGrowth Report: Villa Victoria after attending Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) training sessions in the spring and summer of 2014. The report focuses on providing strategies for making the Villa Victoria housing complex a safe and healthy place for children and families to live with opportunities for recreation, a strong sense of community, and a decreased threat of violence. The report’s recommendations include increasing programming and opportunities for youth, establishing community led patrols, and working with police to increase engagement and patrolling.


  1. Potential of Monticello Avenue: A SafeGrowth Plan: WomenRising Bergen Communities United prepared the Potential of Monticello Avenue: A SafeGrowth Plan after attending Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) training sessions in the spring and summer of 2014. The report proposes CPTED strategies for revitalizing Monticello Avenue, a historic retail corridor in the Bergen neighborhood of Jersey City. Strategies include improving the quality of retail establishments, transforming recreational facilities, and improving employment prospects of the young men by providing employment and tutoring services.


  1. Connecting Community Corridors (Monmouth County): The Connecting Community Corridors project, which included Asbury Park, Bradley Beach and Neptune Township in Monmouth County, explored ways to invigorate their downtowns through strategies such as new residential development and retail uses, enhanced shuttle services, traffic calming measure, leveraging the area’s renowned music history and its shore culture, and even urban gardening to fill vacant lots.
  1. Hoboken Green Infrastructure Strategic Plan: The Hoboken Green Infrastructure Strategic Plan created a model for how municipalities can integrate green infrastructure into the design and construction of public improvements, private development, and open space projects. Green infrastructure is an efficient and cost effective method of managing stormwater and reducing flooding through natural systems. The plan is a key component of the Hoboken’s “Strategic Recovery Planning Report,” which lays out a roadmap for improving the city’s resiliency.
  1. Jersey City Visualizations of Adaptation Scenarios Project: The Jersey City Visualizations of Adaptation Scenarios Project developed graphic visualizations for potential adaptation concepts designed to prevent and/or mitigate the effects of coastal flooding from storms on neighborhoods in Jersey City. The grant also funded a Next Steps White Paper to guide the city in future decision-making and pursuit of a comprehensive flood adaptation strategy.
  1. Passaic Eastside Transit Oriented Development Strategic Plan:The Passaic Eastside Transit Oriented Development Strategic Plan creates new strategies to protect the Passaic Eastside, a community that lies almost entirely within the flood plain. The plan proposes a resilient and livable Eastside that reengages the community with the Passaic River – the lifeblood of the city going back to the colonial era – through the construction of a multipurpose levee that can also serve as a recreational trail along the banks of the river. The Plan also demonstrates, for other similarly-placed cities, how resiliency improvements can also serve to make communities more livable.
  1. Newark Greenstreets Initiative:The Newark Greenstreets Initiative identified opportunities to implement green stormwater infrastructure pilot projects in three neighborhoods of the City of Newark. Green infrastructure would not only absorb rainwater, but could also improve health and quality of life, create job opportunities, and enhance the vibrancy of Newark’s business environment. The pilot projects focus on publicly-owned land, including streets and sidewalks, vacant City lots and schools.


  1. Ocean County Long-Term Community Recovery Plan: The Ocean County Long-Term Community Recovery Plan developed a post-Sandy vision for a year-round community that is environmentally, economically, socially and culturally stronger. Participants developed a set of potential project ideas that will help achieve this vision, including a countywide infrastructure assessment report, a grant advisor program, residential resiliency improvements for all income groups, and improvements to the county evacuation plan.
  1. Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy: Together North Jersey and the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) have created a Regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the North Jersey region. Funded by the U.S. Economic Development Agency, CEDS are designed to foster public-private partnerships to lay the groundwork for an economic roadmap to diversify and strengthen Regional economies. The CEDS analyzes the Regional economy and serve as a framework for establishing Regional goals and objectives, developing and implementing a Regional plan of action, and identifying investment priorities and funding sources.


Fair Housing and Equity Assessment: Fair Housing an Equity Assessment – As part of the process to develop a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development (RPSD) for the Together North Jersey planning region, the Project Team has worked with the Together North Jersey Steering Committee and Standing Committees to prepare a Regional Fair Housing and Equity Assessment (FHEA).  The FHEA provides an analysis of segregation, racial and ethnic concentrations of poverty, access to places of high “opportunity,” distribution of recent infrastructure investments and explores other regulatory and private market barriers to fair housing choice.  The approach followed combined data analysis, a deliberative process that considers the finding of the analysis, and a “bridge” to implementation that recommends strategies and actions to address regional disparities in access to opportunity and barriers to fair housing as part of the Together North Jersey RPSD.