Mayor Ras Baraka said Tuesday that the Newark Municipal Council approved his proposal to petition the state to designate the half-mile around Broad and Market Streets as a transit village.
The benefits of Transit Village designation include the state’s commitment to municipal redevelopment, eligibility for New Jersey Department of Transportation Transit Village grants, and priority status for other state funding. Launched in 1999, the initiative offers financial, and other incentives, aimed at encouraging municipalities to redevelop or revitalize areas around transit stations. 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.
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.
Baraka made the case for taking a more holistic approach to Newark’s 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 in prepared remarks.
“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.i