NEWARK, NJ — A proposal that would see Newark petition the state to recognize the half-mile area around Broad and Market Street as a transit village received approval in city council today, pushing forward administration’s vision for a holistic approach to downtown development. 

The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and NJ Transit lead the Transit Village Initiative, a multi-agency Smart Growth partnership that creates incentives for municipalities to revitalize and develop areas around transit stations using design standards of transit-oriented development (TOD). 

TOD standards are specialized to create thriving neighborhoods where residents and visitors don’t have to rely on vehicles for travel, improving air quality, reducing traffic congestion and bolstering mass transit. 

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“A transit village designation will give the people of Newark greater control over development. Market forces already drive development in Newark. Transit Village designation gives us a greater say in prioritizing mixed-use and mixed-income growth downtown,” Mayor Ras Baraka said in a statement. 

A designation also provides opportunities for economic development, including a commitment to mixed-use spaces, restaurants and arts and entertainment within walking distance of public transportation. The city invited residents to contribute input on the implementation of the transit village model in January. 

Transit village designation would allow the city to apply for NJDOT Transit Village grants as well as provide priority status for other state funding. A task force support technical planning assistance and coordination. 

“Recognition as a transit village will unlock funding from the state for development that makes the area more transit-oriented. That would mean placing mixed-use properties, pedestrians, bicyclists and more accessible and efficient public transportation options at the forefront of future development,” said Deputy Mayor and Director of Economic and Housing Development Allison Ladd.