RARITAN, NJ – Raritan Borough will receive a $1 million state grant for pedestrian improvements from the NJ Transit Rail Station on Thompson Street to the riverfront.
The project is one of 27 that were approved July 11 for funding by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) Board of Trustees, according to the authority. The NJTPA will award $19.46 million in grants to fund pedestrian and bicycle facilities, trails, improved access to transit and historical preservation, it said.
Raritan Borough engineer Stan Schrek said the borough is looking at this as an economic development opportunity because it will bring people from the train station down Anderson Street and Thompson Street and down Somerset Street where they will see all the businesses Raritan has to offer.
The new improvements, Schrek said, will then lead walkers to the Nevius Street Bridge and along the riverfront. Eventually, he said, the plan is for the new walkway to take people into Duke Farms where it borders Raritan.
“We applied for $1 million,” he said. “This demonstrates also the economic opportunities of having Duke Farms as a neighbor to Raritan, and the amenities we provide.”
Schrek said the borough had letters of support for the grant application from Duke Farms, Somerset County and Sen. Mike Doherty.
“Mayor (Charles) McMullin really enabled that, and did quite a bit of leg work there,” Schrek said. “We had regional support for this application.”
The plan, Schrek said, is for new lighting, curb sidewalks, paver access and signage so people can have a good experience walking down the main street and past the businesses in Raritan to get to the riverfront.
At this point, Schrek said, it will still be a few years before the work is complete.
“But it will be a continuation of the Somerset streetscape that leads from the train station,” he said.
The NJTPA said the money for the grants comes from the Federal Highway Administration and is administered by the state Department of Transportation (DOT). The projects are in 26 municipalities throughout the state, it said.
“These are important projects that will improve safety and enhance the quality of life in communities across our region,” said Somerset County Freeholder Peter S. Palmer, chairman of the NJTPA Board of Trustees. “This funding will pay for trail work along the Morris Canal, improve access to train stations and make our sidewalks and streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists.”