BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Berkeley Heights is thrilled to announce that we are the recipient of a $410,000 Fiscal Year 2019 Safe Streets to Transit Program (SSTS) grant.
The Murphy Administration today announced the 2019 SSTS grant winners; the New Jersey Department of Transportation, Division of Local Aid and Economic Development selected five municipal projects that are in Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, Monmouth and Union Counties totaling $1 million. The Berkeley Heights SSTS grant application was spearheaded by Councilwoman Jeanne Kingsley.
“I could not be more thrilled - winning this grant means the state has approved of our long-term vision for our downtown area,” said Councilwoman Kingsley. “This is extremely important, given all of the development going on in our town, including our new municipal complex. Revitalizing our downtown area and increasing walkability not only to the train station but throughout the entire downtown area, will greatly benefit our downtown businesses, attract potential new residents and increase our residents’ overall quality of life here in Berkeley Heights.”
“This is a significant Safe Streets to Transit award that can greatly benefit Berkeley Heights and our residents,” added Mayor Angie Devanney. “I would like to personally thank Councilwoman Jeanne Kingsley for her diligence and dedication to obtaining these much-needed funds for our town. There’s no doubt that many of our sidewalks are in disrepair, but major reconstruction requires major funds to complete. This grant money will be a significant boost to our sidewalk repair and reconstruction efforts on these important walking routes.”
The grant is a matching grant; money will be used to expand and improve its sidewalk network and crosswalks in the area surrounding the train station – including sidewalks on Plainfield Ave, Roosevelt Avenue – and to improve connectivity to the south of the train station. The program will also increase the walkability of the area surrounding Columbia Middle School. The overall goal of the SSTT is to increase the number of people walking, instead of driving, to the train station, which will help alleviate parking issues downtown, reduce the township’s environmental footprint, and get more residents walking!
The end result will be to not only increase these walking routes, but will also increase nearby home values, make our town more commuter-transit friendly, and hopefully increase the number of people who visit businesses downtown near the train station.
The SSTT program provides funds to counties and municipalities to improve the overall safety and accessibility for mass transit riders walking to transit facilities. The program encourages mass transit users to walk to transit stations, and facilitates the implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety near transit stations or facilities (within one mile). The New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund funds these grants.
“The Safe Streets to Transit Program focuses on pedestrian safety to and from transit facilities,” stated NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez- Scaccetti. “Providing sidewalks, safe and convenient ways to cross streets and comfortable and attractive environments, encourages walking as part of a healthy lifestyle, and reduces roadway congestion.”
The following five municipalities received grants totaling $1 million available in the FY 2019 Transit Village grant program:
- Berkeley Heights, Union County: $410,000
- Delran, Burlington County: $250,000
- Margate, Atlantic County: $150,000
- Red Bank, Monmouth County: $100,000
- Middle Township, Cape May County: $90,000
A 25-point rating system was used to review the applications with criteria that included, proximity to a transit facility, safety, accessibility, project need, and applicant’s past performance using other Local Aid funds. The decision-making process considered the geographical distribution of the final recommendations. To accomplish this, the highest rated project in each Metropolitan Planning Organization region was considered first, and then this process was repeated until all funds were committed.
**Please see attached map. Orange line indicates where the grant money will be spent.