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New Tool Helps Communities Address Goods Movement Needs

Posted: 6/21/2019 11:16:21 AM

The NJTPA has developed a web tool to help communities address issues involving goods movement by trucks. The NJTPA region relies on vehicles of all sizes to deliver goods to our many communities, whether that’s large trucks delivering food to local grocery stores or smaller delivery vans bringing packages directly to residents' homes.

About 508 million tons of goods move through the NJTPA’s 13-county region, predominately by truck, each year.

The Goods Movement Strategies for Communities tool was designed by NJTPA staff to help communities that have identified issues related to trucks find strategies that address their concerns. The database includes strategies on last mile delivery parking management; parking and rest stop management; traffic management and access control; freight demand management; road infrastructure improvement; modal optimization; land use and zoning; freight facility consolidation centers; environmental concerns; and safety improvements.

The tool is designed to help foster conversation about goods movement. Users can include local officials, developers, transportation providers and property owners.

In the future, the NJTPA hopes to expand the tool to include strategies for rail freight.

To learn more about the tool visit https://goodsmovement.njtpa.org.
[June 18, 2019]


Workshop and Guidebook on Developing Transit Hubs

Posted: 6/6/2019 1:18:26 PM


South Main Street Bridge over the Washington Secondary Line in PhillipsburgEfforts of three communities to revitalize areas to better connect their businesses, public spaces, neighborhoods and public transportation resources were highlighted at a June 6 Together North Jersey (TNJ) Transit Hub workshop at NJTPA.

The workshop marked the release of a Guidebook for Developing Transit Hub Strategic Plans developed by the TNJ  Efficient Task Force, the NJTPA and Rutgers University’s Voorhees Transportation Center. The guidebook is available for download on the TNJ website. Click here for a print-friendly version.

The workshop showcased the work of the 2018 Transit Hub Pilot Program, which created strategic plans for the City of Passaic, Bloomfield Township, and the Borough of Dunellen in northern New Jersey. These plans were developed by the TNJ Efficient Task Force and volunteers from the Community Planning Assistance Program of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Among other speakers at the workshop were Carlos Rodrigues who spoke about the pilot effort in Dunellen; Nadia Mian who spoke about the pilot at the Watsessing Avenue Station, Bloomfield; and Paul Drake who spoke about the pilot in Passaic.
[June 6, 2019]


Freight Rail Investments Reflect Growing Trade

Posted: 4/22/2019 1:15:41 PM

 

South Main Street Bridge over the Washington Secondary Line in Phillipsburg
A strong growth in demand 
for freight rail services in northern New Jersey is prompting major rail investments, boosting the prospects for attracting new companies and jobs to the region. That was a key insight delivered by three industry officials at the April 15 NJTPA Freight Initiatives Committee meeting.
Freight Initiatives Committee Chair Charles Kenny, a Middlesex County Freeholder, welcomed the speakers, noting that the briefing was an annual event to provide the committee an update on the status of freight rail in the region.
The first speaker was Timothy Tierney, President & Chief Operating Officer, Conrail Shared Assets. He said that Conrail is jointly owned by Norfolk Southern and CSX, handling traffic to and from the port and the region for over 200 customers. It interfaces with 11 of the 15 smaller shortline railroads in the region. He said port and intermodal traffic has grown 16 percent from 2017 to 2018.
As a result, Conrail is investing $21 million in upgrading rail infrastructure. This includes the Waverly Loop project, which is set to go to construction next year. It will add another route for rail freight in and out of the port. Another major project is reconstruction of the Point No Point bridge over the Passaic River which is planned for construction in 2021.
The next presenter was Kean Burenga, President and Managing Partner, Chesapeake & Delaware, which operates four shortline rail services in the NJTPA region. It recently started operations of a new shortline, the Dover and Delaware River Railroad, over 109 route miles that include the lease of the Washington Secondary line from Norfolk Southern and trackage rights over several NJ TRANSIT lines. This railroad currently serves 14 customers.
The company is undertaking projects to improve the line to better serve existing customers and attract new ones. Of particular importance are upgrades needed to accommodate the national standard taller and heavier rail cars.
He noted that one “hugely important project” is addressing the vertical clearance restriction under the South Main Street Bridge over the Washington Secondary line in Phillipsburg (pictured above) by replacing wooden ties with low profile steel ties. Other projects in the pipeline include upgrading interchanges and grade crossings.
The third presenter was Dan Mulligan, Director of Sales and Marketing, Global Container Terminals. The Global Terminal in Bayonne, he said, is a 170-acre facility with eight cranes for moving containers to and from vessels. It operates with an innovative appointment system for truckers which reduces delays and improves efficiency. The ExpressRail Port Jersey on-dock rail facility became operational at half capacity in January and will be operating at full capacity with a total of 9,600 feet of track later this year. The new facility provides the terminal with significant cost and time savings for service to the Midwest over its competitors and reduces the amount of terminal related truck traffic. In addition to the new on-dock rail facility the terminal continues to make capital investments and operational improvements to accommodate the growing trade.
The committee meeting also included a presentation by Richard Semenick, Associate Vice President, HDR on the NJTPA’s Freight Rail Industrial Opportunity (FRIO) Corridors Program which is being finalized. HDR is NJTPA’s consultant on the project.
[April 22, 2019]


Scientist Sketches a Future Transformed by Automated Vehicles

Posted: 4/4/2019 12:00:00 AM

Mitchell Erickson, consultant and retired science advisor, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security speaking at NJTPAAutomated vehicles will prompt a “seismic shift” in American society comparable to what occurred with the advent of the smart phone, says Mitchell Erickson, consultant and retired science advisor, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security. Once in common use, they will forever alter our lifestyles and the physical layout of our communities, he predicts.

Erickson offered his insights in a briefing to NJTPA staff titled “Mobility in 2050: Who Knows? How to Prepare for the Unknown” on March 30. He said there will be winners and losers in the transition to automated vehicles. Travelers will benefit from increased mobility options and dramatic increases in safety -- with traffic deaths reduced by as much as 90 percent. But many of those involved in our current car culture, including Uber and Lyft drivers, could lose their jobs.

The pace of the deployment of automated vehicles will depend on companies’ ability to make them efficient, trusted, hackproof and accepted by consumers, he said. “There are huge uncertainties in our future.” he said. Transportation agencies such as the NJTPA must be “willing to plan for contingencies,” he advised.

Declining demand for private automobiles, he predicted, could one day dramatically alter housing arrangements and land use, including eliminating the need for garages, roadside gas stations and much parking. In suburban areas, he said, as much of 20 percent of land area is used for parking. “What do we use all that space for?” he asked.

Instead of offering free parking or coupons to draw customers, he envisioned, retail outlets, could offer automated vehicle trips to and from people’s homes. If deployed efficiently, the vehicles could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 26 percent of which currently come from the transportation sector.

At the same time, he said, his background in Homeland Security made him aware of potential threats such as use of automated vehicles, drones and other systems for terrorist or criminal activities.

He said while change is coming to the transportation sector “big time,” transportation agencies like the NJTPA have a “chance to shape that future” through current plans and programs.


Green Infrastructure Workshop Highlights the Natural Approach to Flood Prevention

Posted: 2/11/2019 12:00:00 AM

Green Infrastructure workshop

A growing number of cities and towns are using “green infrastructure,” employing landscaping and natural materials, to replace or supplement “gray infrastructure,” composed of pipes and concrete, to manage stormwater and prevent flooding. It was the focus of February 6 Together North Jersey Training Institute workshop at the NJTPA.

With over 100 people in attendance, Bill Cesanek, Vice President, CDM Smith, gave an overview of the topic and introduced speakers who discussed how green infrastructure is being implemented in Philadelphia, New York City, Hoboken and Newark.

Green infrastructure “mimics the natural storm water cycle,” Cesanek said.  Water running off from pavement and other impervious surfaces is slowed down or stored to allow it to gradually infiltrate back into the soil.  Without this cycle, runoff can accumulate into damaging floods or overwhelm combined water and sewer systems, causing harmful outflows into streams or rivers. 

Among the techniques used in green infrastructure are specially designed tree planters; landscaped medians, bumpouts or other areas along streets; permeable paving materials; rain gardens; green roofs on buildings; and subsurface storage systems. Among the benefits beyond reducing flooding, are supporting livability, natural habitats, public health and sustainable redevelopment.

He said New Jersey was “coming into its own” in encouraging the use of the systems, with new legislation in Trenton, new regulations by state agencies and innovations by many municipalities. NJ Future has a guide and toolkit on its website to assist these efforts, he noted.

Philadelphia is well along in its implementation of green infrastructure, said Elizabeth Svekla, Planning Manager of the Green Stormwater Infrastructure Unit in the city’s Water Department. A plan adopted eight years ago set a goal of creating 10,000 greened acres citywide in 25 years.  The city, she said, has “hundreds of projects and thousands of acres” underway or in place.

She said that, especially in urban areas, each location must undergo detailed analysis and evaluation, noting that “micro-typologies” can affect waterflows and make them hard to predict.

​New York City similarly is making great strides, said Vincent Lee, Associate Principal at Arup. The city in 2010 created a green infrastructure plan.  It includes a goal of capturing rainfall from 10 percent of impervious surfaces in areas served by combined water-sewer systems.

He said in addition to borings and other investigations of suitable locations, communities have to be consulted in an effort to balance the infrastructure with other uses of space including parking, building access, subways and more. 

In Hoboken, the city’s green infrastructure efforts gained new urgency in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, which inflicted heavy flooding and damage, said Jennifer Gonzalez, the city’s Director of Environmental Services and Chief Sustainability Officer.  Seventy percent of the city is in the floodplain. Among the city’s responses are a Rebuild by Design program that includes plans for 61 rainwater storage systems to be installed as part of watermain replacements and rain water gardens in city parks.

In Newark, the city is taking creative approaches to fund and implement green infrastructure, said Robert Thomas, Chief of Energy and Environment in the City Department of Engineering.  Along Ferry Street and other locations, funding for transportation projects such as signal replacements or pedestrian improvements, he said, are being leveraged to help implement green storm water improvements.  He also emphasized the value of gaining support from partners including foundations and businesses.  Recently, the City has partnered with the New Jersey Institute of Technologies as part of Smart City initiatives.

Presentations will be available on the Together North Jersey website. Full video of the event is available at https://youtu.be/X_zW8_nOBwA.