NEWARK – Bergen County will receive $775,000 in federal funding to fill in missing sections of sidewalk and provide larger waiting areas for pedestrians at bus stops along the Washington Avenue Corridor in Carlstadt.
The project was one of 17 throughout the region approved on Sept. 8 for a grant through the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority’s (NJTPA) Local Safety Program, which provides federal funds to counties for high-impact safety improvements that are relatively “quick-fix” in nature.
Last year, the county received $1.9 million from the NJTPA for several safety improvements along the corridor, including lane adjustments designed to slow traffic, high visibility crosswalks and pavement markings, pedestrian countdown signals at intersections, the installation of bicycle-safe drainage grates, and filling in gaps in the concrete medians to prevent improper turns and pedestrian crossings. The project is currently in the final design stage and under review by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
The upgrades that were approved will comprise a second phase of the Washington Avenue project, and cover the same 1.4-mile segment of the corridor from Paterson Plank Road to Moonachie Avenue/Empire Boulevard. In addition to the sidewalk and bus stop upgrades, the phase II project will install a High Intensity Activated Crosswalk (also known as a HAWK) in the vicinity of the intersection of Washington and Barell avenues.
“These improvements will build on the pedestrian safety gains that will be made in the project’s first phase,” said Bergen County Executive and NJTPA Board member Kathleen Donovan. “Providing safe, good-conditioned sidewalks will help encourage people to walk to the new and improved crossings we’ll be constructing in phase I and cut the temptation to cross at dangerous spots in the middle of the road.”
In total, the NJTPA action allocated approximately $18.9 million for Local Safety Program projects that will proceed in fiscal years 2015 and 2016, which represents the largest investment since the program’s inception in 2004. More information on the program is available on the agency’s website, www.njtpa.org.
The NJTPA is the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for 13 northern New Jersey counties. Under federal legislation, MPOs provide a forum where local officials, public transportation providers and state agency representatives can come together and cooperatively plan to meet the region’s current and future transportation needs. It establishes the region’s eligibility to receive federal tax dollars for transportation projects.
The NJTPA Board consists of one local elected official from each of the 13 counties in the region (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren), and the cities of Newark and Jersey City. The Board also includes a Governor’s Representative, the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, the Executive Director of NJ Transit, the Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and a Citizen’s Representative appointed by the Governor.