Transit: Officials plan meetings on Transit Village

BY ERIN PATRICIA GRIFFITHS for The Gazette (Hawthorne Edition)

Hawthorne continues to move forward with its pursuance of the Transit Village designation in the hopes of becoming Passaic County’s first this year.

The Passaic County Planning Board was slated to come to the borough on Jan. 26 to assist with starting the Transit Village application process, said Mayor Richard Goldberg on Jan. 19.

Councilman John Lane, liaison to the Economic Development Committee, said the meeting will help the borough start its visioning process for the application.

“We are moving relatively quickly on that,” said Lane of the application.

He added that the borough will need to have meetings with the public to get input and feedback for the application.

The Transit Village initiative is a Smart Growth program led by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and New Jersey Transit. It provides for a series of incentives, such as opportunities for grant funding for municipalities to redevelop or revitalize properties surrounding transit stations.

Hawthorne is looking to make road improvements in the area around the train station as well as to improve sidewalks and facilitate more of a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere.

The area of interest for the redevelopment and revitalization for the Transit Village designation includes a quarter-mile radius around the Main Line train station, from east of Diamond Bridge Avenue to west of Lafayette Avenue and a portion of Grand Avenue.

One of the goals of the initiative is to bring additional housing, business and food traffic into the neighborhood surrounding the train station.

The borough will be working to improve transit ridership, fix roadways and pedestrian walkways and bike paths.

According to the state’s Transit Village Initiative website, the “TOD (transit-oriented development) helps municipalities create attractive, vibrant, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods where people can live, shop, work and play without relying on automobiles.”

The borough’s Economic Development Committee, led by chairman Carl Schmidt, has been holding meetings with the NJDOT and New Jersey Transit since the summer months to discuss the possibility of the borough becoming a Transit Village. Officials hope to have the application completed this spring and to be awarded the designation later this year.

[northjersey.com]

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