NJ Transit was awarded a $592,000 grant Dec. 13 from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to study equitable transit-oriented development (TOD) along the proposed 9-mile extension of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) into Bergen County, known as the Northern Branch.
The proposed extension, which is currently in design phase, would run through eastern Bergen County from the current terminus of Tonnelle Avenue up to Englewood Hospital and Medical Center with seven proposed stops.
NJ Transit says the project would build on efforts to establish neighborhoods and employment centers along the corridor while furthering its 10-Year Strategic Plan goals.
“Transit-oriented development helps to unlock the full range of benefits that new mass transit corridors can provide,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti.
Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco said bringing the light-rail project to one of the most densely populated areas in the country will be a guaranteed model for successful transit-oriented development.
“This critical mass transit project will greatly enhance the quality of life for local residents and businesses by alleviating congestion, meeting mass transit demands, and improving the environment,” said Tedesco.
“This grant serves as a critical step forward in expanding access to public transit in eastern Bergen County,” said Bergen County Commissioner Chairwoman Tracy Zur. “Reigniting the completion of this critical transportation project will facilitate utilization of mass transit in our region, benefit the environment, and ease life of commuters.”
NJ Transit added that the study will be comprehensive, and will include engagement with local communities, governments, regional and state agencies, and other stakeholders in crafting a collective vision with holistic solutions for the entire corridor located through portions of North Bergen, Fairview, Ridgefield, Englewood, Leonia and Palisades Park.
“This generous FTA grant will support a vital TOD study, enabling NJ Transit to maximize mobility, ridership, and economic growth along all nine miles of our proposed Northern Branch project, conservatively estimated to serve more than 5,600 additional HBLR each weekday,” said NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett.