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Two New Transit Villages Named, Including Second Bus-Centered Designation

July 10th, 2015 by

Irvington's bus terminal. Photo: Jim Henderson

Irvington’s bus terminal. Photo: Jim Henderson

On July 8 the New Jersey Department of Transportation announced the designation of two new Transit Villages, its 29th and 30th. The two new designees are Park Ridge in Bergen County and Irvington in Essex County.

Park Ridge’s designation comes after more than seven years of downtown-focused planning, initiated in 2008 by a community-wide visioning process and furthered by local ordinances that have encouraged downtown redevelopment. Park Ridge has also been building out its bicycle and pedestrian network in an effort to connect nearby neighborhoods to downtown amenities.

Currently Park Ridge, with a 2013 population of 8,803, has 3,619 jobs, or 0.41 jobs per resident. However, it is facing the loss of a large local employer; Hertz announced in 2013 that it was moving much of its operations out of state. The Transit Village designation should help the borough create the kind of vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood around its transit station that will attract both residents and new businesses.

The Transit Village designation in Irvington is only the second designation given to a neighborhood around a bus terminal rather than a train station (Pleasantville, in Atlantic County, was the first, and one of the first Transit Village designations overall). The township hopes to use the designation to accelerate transformation of the area around the terminal, which handles approximately 13,000 riders every day, into a mixed-use neighborhood that will attract residents and businesses as well as serve commuters.

New Jersey Future has long supported the state’s Transit Village program, which enables coordination among, and provides technical assistance and grant funds from, 10 state agencies, all with the goal of catalyzing economic activity and public-transit use in the designated areas. Awardees are selected based on their commitment to planning, zoning and redevelopment initiatives that will foster lively, mixed-use communities around their transit assets. The DOT has again earmarked $1 million for the program in the 2016 capital program.

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