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Emerging Centers

Artists rendering of future center

Planning for Emerging Centers is a program that provides technical assistance in support of efforts by municipalities to create more sustainable, transit-supportive and walkable communities as well as comprehensive approaches to strategic planning at the local level. Through this program, the NJTPA provides consultant and staff support to municipalities to conduct various planning studies including integrating transportation into land use plans, transit area plans, multimodal (e.g. vehicular, bus, bike, pedestrian) circulation elements of master plans, climate change and sustainability plans and others.
The program seeks to advance the goals found in the NJTPA Regional Transportation Plan (Plan 2045) and implement the strategies and actions developed through Together North Jersey, a consortium of public, private and non-profit groups developing a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development.  The NJTPA has been a leading partner in the Together North Jersey planning effort.  

A solicitation for funding proposals under the program is conducted periodically. A committee including NJTPA staff and representation from NJDOT, NJ TRANSIT, and RTAC reviews and scores municipal applications to select program participants. 

Current Planning for Emerging Centers Program Projects 

City of Hoboken (Hudson County) - Complete Streets Design and Implementation Plan
The City of Hoboken’s project will develop a Complete Streets Design and Implementation Plan as part of an update to their five-year old Complete Streets Policy.  This effort will include updating ordinances, revising development and construction policies by systematizing Complete Streets by ordinance, assimilating modern best practices, green infrastructure, technological elements and integrating Complete Streets into land use, property development and construction policies for future projects. The plan will increase accessibility to the roadway for all users, support balanced development and incorporate infrastructural elements for promoting flood mitigation, storm water management, and resiliency for climate change by strengthening Hoboken’s preparedness for future challenges in transportation and land use. This initiative is scheduled for completion in 2019.

Borough of Raritan
The NJTPA will assist the Borough in creating a Sustainable Economic Development Plan. This study will develop a plan for Downtown Raritan to maintain and expand the existing employment and economic base while identifying land use and mobility strategies to realize these goals. The plan will also make recommendations for redevelopment opportunities and placemaking strategies to advance the Borough's overall economic and sustainability goals.

Borough of Keyport
The NJTPA will assist the Borough in the development of a Complete Streets Design and Implementation Plan.  This plan will advance the Borough’s sustainable land use, transportation, economic, and green building planning elements by establishing Completer Streets goals, a design standards and review checklist, and a complete streets ordinance.

Recently Completed Projects

Town of Boonton (Morris County) - Transit Village Initiative Planning
The Town of Boonton sought technical assistance to undertake planning efforts that would sharpen its focus on achieving Transit Village designation by NJDOT for the area surrounding the Boonton train station. Significant community outreach and engagement helped shift that vision and focus toward initiatives that will enhance Main Street businesses, improve pedestrian safety and parking, provide attractive new public spaces, and increase housing choices within the Study Area. Zoning and other regulatory changes are proposed as part of the Vision Plan that seeks to leverage the community’s overlooked and under-utilized assets and create a more pleasant experience for those who live, work or frequently visit the downtown.  The plan includes a variety of strategies such as parking management, downtown circulation and streetscape improvements, and public spaces that the town can pursue as it carries out its vision.
Borough of Freehold (Monmouth County)- Transit Village Initiative Planning
In pursuit of NJDOT Transit Village Designation, the Borough of Freehold wanted to build on its Freehold Center Core Revitalization Plan (2008) to explore the creation of a Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) zoning district around the Freehold Center Bus Station. The resulting Freehold Downtown Vision Plan outlines a comprehensive redevelopment plan for the Transit Gateway Area and the Courthouse Square Area. A “toolkit” section provides guidance on pursuing redevelopment that incorporates TOD strategies, economic and environmental sustainability, improved safety and mobility, parking management, creative place making, and redevelopment methods and opportunities. The recommendations for site design, architecture and parking guidelines not only align with Transit Village Designation Criteria, but also present the most viable pathways for redeveloping the downtown in accordance with the local officials and public visioning.
Green Brook Township (Somerset County) - Village Center Re-Zoning Project
Green Brook Township’s project focused on zoning amendments to the existing Township Village Commercial District in order to facilitate successful development of a Village Center. The project team divided the Village Center into three districts with distinct functions: the Village Commercial District provides a concentration of commercial, mixed use and public realm improvements; the Village Gateway District better connects pedestrians and transit users from Route 22 to the Commercial District; and the Residential/Office District preserves the historic residential character while permitting more small scale office uses proximate to the Commercial District. The Final Vision Report also outlines recommendations within each district for public realm improvements, branding, regulatory changes, improving transit access and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and reducing traffic and congestion along Washington Avenue and Green Brook Road.

Pilot Projects

The Planning for Emerging Centers Program initially undertook two pilot projects and were successfully completed in 2014: 

Morristown: Morristown Moving Forward
Using the Mobility and Community Form model created by the NJDOT (  The NJTPA and the Town of Morristown, Morris County, worked together to create an innovative unified land use and mobility master plan element that addresses redevelopment opportunities and transportation with a single set of goals, objectives, actions and performance measures. Engaging residents, business owners, and public sector partners in defining a vision for Morristown, this effort developed an inclusive, innovative plan that will help create a more walkable, transit-friendly community while improving access to opportunities for residents, workers, and visitors. 
Adopted Plan

Bound Brook Urban Design Plan Implementation Project
Through this effort, the NJTPA worked with the Borough of Bound Brook, Somerset County, to develop a number of regulatory updates and planning recommendations to implement Bound Brook’s award-winning Urban Design Plan and make this state-designated Transit Village more attractive to residents, businesses, visitors, and others looking to invest in this historic borough.