September 23rd, 2014 by Elaine Clisham
New Jersey Future will honor its longtime trustee Henry A. Coleman, at a reception Oct. 30 in New Brunswick.
Henry is the embodiment of an exemplary scholar and public servant. His legacy can be seen in the students he has taught, through his work in government – notably as executive director of the State and Local Expenditure and Revenue Policy Commission and director of the Center for Local Government Services – and through his influential service on numerous boards, including New Jersey Future, the Fund for New Jersey, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and many, many others.
September 23rd, 2014 by Steve Nelson
More than 1,000 attendees came to the biennial ProWalk ProBike ProPlace conference in Pittsburgh, Pa., in early September to hear the latest from experts from across the US and abroad on bicycle and pedestrian policies, projects, products and issues.
The city welcomed the participants by unveiling its first “cycle track” – a protected two-way bike lane that runs through the heart of downtown. This cycle track was the latest in the city’s efforts to encourage more bicycling and walking, and to make Pittsburgh a more livable and desirable place. Read the rest of this entry »
September 18th, 2014 by Chris Sturm
On Sept. 5, New Jersey Future filed official comments (PDF) with the state Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) expressing the organization’s strong support for New Jersey’s continued membership in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). These comments were filed in response to the department’s proposed rule change that would permit the state to end its participation in RGGI.
“As an organization committed to smart growth, a healthy environment and a prosperous economy, we recognize the importance of reducing carbon emissions,” said Senior Director of State Policy Chris Sturm in the comments. “RGGI provides New Jersey with the resources needed to help lower energy costs by reducing electricity prices, encouraging energy conservation, and giving residents more … transportation choices.” Read the rest of this entry »
September 17th, 2014 by Elaine Clisham
A survey being conducted by New Jersey Future, in conjunction with the downtown economic consulting firm JGSC Group, is designed to identify unmet needs for capacity or technical assistance in local downtown revitalization efforts.
“Revitalizing our traditional downtowns is a key way for New Jersey to grow smart,” said New Jersey Future Executive Director Peter Kasabach. “There is increasing market demand for both housing and jobs in these places, and we want to help towns access the resources they need in order to meet that demand. This survey will help us identify the most urgent needs.” Read the rest of this entry »
September 16th, 2014 by New Jersey Future staff
The following article was written by New Jersey Future summer intern MicKenzie Roberts-Lahti.
In 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ranked stormwater management – the control of flooding and pollution caused by rainwater runoff – as New Jersey’s number one water-related need. Stormwater management affects urban, suburban, and rural municipalities, above and below ground. When aging water infrastructure breaks, when flooding results from pipe systems overloaded with rainwater, when sewage backs up into streets and basements, and when runoff pollutes waterways, New Jerseyans experience the negative effects firsthand. A failure to manage stormwater infrastructure effectively can create sinkholes, close businesses, damage property, contaminate drinking water and cause sewage overflows.
A new report (PDF) prepared by New Jersey Future intern MicKenzie Roberts-Lahti, examines the use of one tool – the stormwater utility – to manage stormwater. Stormwater utilities provide a mechanism for raising funds dedicated to stormwater management – for the construction, operation, and maintenance of stormwater infrastructure and for the development of related water-quality programs and public education. Stormwater utilities assume responsibility for maintenance and upgrading of things like storm sewers and for developing asset management plans to maximize their useful life. Read the rest of this entry »
September 15th, 2014 by Chris Sturm
On Sept. 5, New Jersey Future submitted its official comments (PDF) on the state’s proposal to establish an Energy Resiliency Bank (ERB). The ERB would provide a funding mechanism, available initially to water and wastewater utilities, for use in making their power systems more resilient to flooding and severe weather.
As the comments stressed, the overall proposal marries the need for “hardening” critical pieces of infrastructure with innovative financing and fills an undeniable need. New Jersey is vulnerable to flooding and has suffered severe hurricane damage in two successive years, leaving some communities without water and threatening the integrity of many wastewater systems. The threat to these facilities will only grow as sea levels rise. Read the rest of this entry »
September 11th, 2014 by Nicholas Dickerson
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Trenton are preparing to undertake a habitat restoration project in the city’s downtown that will add additional parkland and natural space.
TRENTON–Downtown Trenton will finally reclaim the Assunpink Creek, a vital piece of the city’s historical and natural character, after a decade of studies, plans and immeasurable red tape. This exciting project will create new public park land, remove an unsafe and unsightly eyesore and establish an important new, visually appealing nature-based centerpiece for the downtown. More than 40 years ago the Assunpink Creek, a natural waterway that begins in Monmouth County, was diverted into a concrete tube – a culvert – between S. Broad Street and S. Warren Street in downtown Trenton, and buried underground. The action of burying the creek caused significant ecological harm and disregarded the creek’s historical and cultural importance. Today, the only visual evidence that something exists below ground there are gaping concrete holes in the top of the culvert and an unsightly chain-link fence.
Read the rest of this entry »
September 11th, 2014 by Peter Kasabach
On Sept. 9 a small delegation of disaster-preparedness experts from Japan came to the New Jersey Future offices to discuss policy, planning and local capacity-building. This was just one stop on their multi-day tour of post-Sandy America. They had come to learn as much as possible in preparation for dealing with the increasing frequency of natural disasters facing Japan.
Some of the highlights from the discussion: Read the rest of this entry »
Report: Prompt Action Is Needed for Best-Practices Upgrade of New Jersey’s Urban Water Infrastructure
September 9th, 2014 by Nicholas Dickerson
On Sept. 4, The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread released its convening report detailing the findings and lessons learned from the May 20-21 event that explored how New Jersey’s municipalities can address the problems presented by aging water infrastructure systems. Hosted by The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and New Jersey Future and with the support of honorary co-chairs, former Governors Jim Florio and Christie Whitman, the gathering allowed New Jersey thought leaders to hear from experts from Washington, D.C., Cincinnati and North Carolina. The message from these speakers was clear: New Jersey’s cities should address their aging water systems and required upgrades now, to avoid potential litigation and court-imposed sanctions that would limit their flexibility.
Roxanne Qualls, former mayor and two-time councilwoman of Cincinnati, stressed the importance of keeping the community engaged throughout the process of planning for water infrastructure upgrades. She described how Cincinnati officials made the benefits of upgrading their infrastructure tangible and visible by incorporating green infrastructure that created new parks and green jobs for residents and revitalized neighborhoods. Read the rest of this entry »
September 4th, 2014 by New Jersey Future staff
Deborah Kim Gaddy is an environmental justice organizer for Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund
Cross-posted from The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread’s Inspiring Solutions series on urban water infrastructure
New Jersey’s older cities were built with water at their core – for industry, goods movement, plumbing, drinking and recreational enjoyment. Despite these best-laid plans, pipes and treatment plants alone are no longer affordable as the sole solution to growing needs and climate change. Climate change means both more extreme wet AND dry weather ahead. Future cities must be designed to absorb more water onsite and at other times save it for future beneficial uses. Adding low-cost water infrastructure, such as rain barrels and cisterns, collects floodwaters for a more positive purpose while conserving more expensive potable water for its primary use – drinking. We all know the benefits of green infrastructure are both immediate and long-term. This type of infrastructure can:
- Reduce routine flooding, as well as during extreme weather events;
- Create less strain on older pipes and treatment plants to manage capacity;
- Temper the heat island effect;
- Create recreational space for much-needed physical exercise, play and restorative enjoyment; and
- Provide more oxygen-producing plants and trees that improve physical, psychological and emotional health.
Read the full article on The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread’s website.