Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced today that the Municipal Council approved his proposal to petition the state to designate the half-mile around Broad and Market Streets as a transit village. The Transit Village initiative redevelops and revitalizes communities around transit hubs to make them an appealing choice for people to live and work, reducing reliance on the automobile and strengthening local economies. It will enable New Jersey to partner with Newark to invest in reducing congestion, increasing mass transit use, and building a more diverse and pedestrian-friendly downtown.
Mayor Baraka made the case for taking a more holistic approach to downtown development. “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,” he said.
“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.
The Transit Village initiative includes opportunities for growth and economic revitalization; a commitment to compact, mixed-use development; a strong residential component including affordable housing; and jobs, restaurants, arts and entertainment, and preservation of a rich architectural character within walking distance of a passenger transportation hub. In developing the initiative, the City held two community meetings in January to get input from residents on the transit village concept and how it might be implemented in Newark.
Studies have shown that an increase in residential housing options within walking distance of a mass transit hub increases transit ridership to a greater degree than any other type of development.
The benefits of Transit Village designation include the state’s commitment to municipal redevelopment, eligibility for New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Transit Village grants, and priority status for other state funding. It also supports technical planning assistance, and coordination by state's Transit Village Task Force.
That Task Force includes NJDOT, NJ TRANSIT, the Commerce and Economic Growth Commission, the Council on the Arts, the Department of Community Affairs, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Economic Development Authority, the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, the Office of Smart Growth, Main Street New Jersey, and the Redevelopment Authority.
The intersection of Broad and Market Street, known as “Four Corners,” is one of the busiest in the city and entire state. Early maps of Newark from the 1660s show that the city was founded around the intersection. In more recent times, it has been the setting for major motion pictures like “Joker” as well as commercial center.
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