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SouthJersey7

NJ Transit Village Initiative

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The NJ DOT has spearheaded a Transit Village Initiative to generate new projects in small, older and industrial towns.

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http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/community/village/

The list of towns is:

Pleasantville

Morristown

Rutherford

South Amboy

South Orange

Riverside

Rahway

Metuchen

Belmar

Bloomfield

Bound Brook

Collingswood (My hometown! :w00t: )

Cranford

Matawan

New Brunswick

Journal Square/Jersey City

Netcong

I'll fill you in on the ones I'm most familiar with. Collingswood, which is where I lived for 5 years and went to HS, is a town of 14,000+/- right outside of Camden. It's known as a traditionally blue-collar town but has become much more white-collar over the years. Recently it's been building it's main street, Haddon Avenue, quite nicely. There's a small indie grocery store and a bakery as well. There's about a dozen and a half restaurants along the length of the street as well as 2 coffeehouses. There's a music store called Abbie Road owned by a guy named Bob who I'm good friends with. I haven't been there for a long time but I'll try to get some pics next time I do. (I didn't have a digital camera when I lived there). Right in the middle of the town, in fact one block from where I used to live, sits an old empty field which used to be occupied by a lumber yard. This is now under conversion to a new townhomes/street retail complex. Here's the website. Very impressive, and it should add another 1,000 or so people to the town's population. I'm not exactly sure what is being done about the transit village status, it has a stop on the PATCO line to Philly but I'm not aware of any projects to redevelop the land around it. Most of the land is parking lots and there's a police station which supposedly is long overdue for a replacement. There is a farmer's market with locally grown produce which operates Saturday mornings in the park lot from Mar-Oct or something like that. Also there's some rowhouses closely grouped together on the other side of the elevated train structure. I'm guessing these were built before the rail was there. Other than than there's basically zilch TOD in Collingswood. Time will tell though.

The only other one I have any knowledge of is Riverside, in Burlington County. I used to live very near to here and would visit sometimes. Riverside has one of the most beautiful factory buildings I have ever seen, anywhere. It was an old pocket watch factory. Here's some pics taken by a friend of mine:

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Here's the Riverside station on the River LINE right next to the building:

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As you can see this thing is just SCREAMING for residential conversion. :yahoo: Here's a PDF from the NJ School of Architecture outlining a plan for Riverside transit village. (not sure if this has been officially adopted by the town or not.) http://architecture.njit.edu/MIP/pdfdownld...o/Rtvpthree.pdf

I'll try to keep this thread updated as I get more info& feel free to add anything you like.

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I remember seeing that gorgeous building when I rode the River Line last year. I snapped some pics of it too. Does anyone know the present ownership and/or plans to do anything with that gem?

I think the TVI is a great program to encourage towns to start considering Smart Growth as a positive thing for their municipalities.

One of the most successful examples is Rahway. The place was a pit five years ago. Today they have a new, sparking train station with a nice plaza in front, new residential and restaurant development springing up all over the downtown, and an arts district forming around the newly-restored and GORGEOUS theater. The mayor took my transit-oriented development class on a walking tour last Spring. It was amazing to see what's going on there.

The list of TVI towns is a strong one. All of the places on the list that I'm familiar with (and that's most of them) have very good connections between the train station and mixed-use communities within a 1/4 mile radius.

One of the people at TVI who review applications and decide new TV designations spoke to my class last year. It was quite interesting to see the list of places that applied in 2004 but were rejected, and the reasons behind those rejections. Some of the applications were quite laughable. The final assignment for that class was to take one of the rejected towns and come up with a plan to help it reach TVI standards. I used the area around Brick Church Station in East Orange. It was a fun project.

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Here's a pretty cool (although WAY out of date) map showing infill development throughout NJ in the 90's. I'm trying to find a more up-to-date version.

http://www.state.nj.us/dep/gis/maps4mayors.htm

Great stuff. South Brunswick Twp, Middlesex County is being eaten away by sprawl, good god! This is up only till 1997! Just imagine now in 2006!

Some other municipalities worth mentioning:

Howell Twp, Monmouth County

Dover Twp, Ocean County

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And then look at old towns like Highland Park, where I live. I can only see one, maybe two tracts developed/redeveloped between 86 and 95/97.

Highland Park Borough, Middlesex County

City of Orange, Essex County

City of Union City, Hudson County

Pennsauken Twp, Camden County

DEP did a new orthophotographic flyover in 2005. The data will be available hopefully late this year. After that a similar analysis to this one could be done to see what has happened between 95/97 and 2005! Hopefully we'll see more urban infill.

Hopefully we'll see more growth in areas designated as Planning Area One (established urban areas where growth is encouraged).

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BAD news for Riverside :(

Rather than converting it into lofts the Taubel Mills factory will be torn down and have new condos build. Am I the only one who finds this absurd? :wacko: That's not the worst, though: Now they're talking about demolishing the gorgeous Keystone Watch Case factory which I mentioned earlier. My God I think I just might have to handcuff myself to the door in protest if they decide to go ahead with that. :angry: Sorry, I just need to blow off some steam right now.

http://www.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcs...9/1006/ARCHIVES

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The Collingswood Lumberyard development has a cool video up on their website. I hope it really does end up looking like that, because it looks fantastic! & very urban, too. In fact, it just may become the dense, urban core of Collingswood. Could have used a highrise, or at least midrise, for real urbanity. I think alot of Collingwood residents are opposed to this however, which is fine, it still looks great. It says Coming Summer 2006, which I assume to mean it's going to finish this summer! I'll get some pics next time I'm there.

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I'm glad to see this kind of investment in Collingswood. My only wish is that the design and building typologies would be at least a LITTLE varied over such a large area. Or at least that the buildings on one side of the street wouldn't be an EXACT mirror image of the other.

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I'm glad to see this kind of investment in Collingswood. My only wish is that the design and building typologies would be at least a LITTLE varied over such a large area. Or at least that the buildings on one side of the street wouldn't be an EXACT mirror image of the other.

I know what you mean, and I agree totally. The final product will probablynot look exactly like the rendering though. I read somewhere earlier on, that the houses were going to be built in a strictly old Philadelphia rowhouse style. It looks like they abandoned that and went with more modern style, similar to construction in the 80's and 90s.

I hope Corzine takes notice of this kind of development and encourages it. What exactly is his stance on smart growth/stopping sprawl anyway? I know McGreevey was real proactive in that respect, moreso than other state governors.

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I know McGreevey was real proactive in that respect, moreso than other state governors.

McGreevy is from Woodbridge, Middlesex County. He REALLY cleaned up downtown Woodbridge and fixed up the train station since downtown is right next to the North Jersey Coast Line.

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McGreevy is from Woodbridge, Middlesex County. He REALLY cleaned up downtown Woodbridge and fixed up the train station since downtown is right next to the North Jersey Coast Line.

A few weeks ago a friend and I tried to stalk McGreevey in the lobby of his apartment building in Rahway lol

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The Collingswood Lumberyard development has a cool video up on their website. I hope it really does end up looking like that, because it looks fantastic! & very urban, too. In fact, it just may become the dense, urban core of Collingswood. Could have used a highrise, or at least midrise, for real urbanity. I think alot of Collingwood residents are opposed to this however, which is fine, it still looks great. It says Coming Summer 2006, which I assume to mean it's going to finish this summer! I'll get some pics next time I'm there.

You can now watch the construction in progress through a live webcam. Nothing terribly exciting but I thought it was pretty cool :)

http://www.collingswood.com/frontpage_cont...m_with_nav.html

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For a state known to many as a sprawling suburb of NYC or an industrial pit, Jersey really has some good urban initiatives and excellent mass transit options.

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Burlington City awarded Transit Village designation

Burlington City was awarded $100,000 in state funding yesterday to help develop a Transit Village at the Burlington Towne Centre station of the River Line light rail system. The New Jersey Department of Transportation announced the designation - the 19th Transit Village in the state - in conjunction with the Department of Community Affairs.

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More good news for Collingswood! As it turns out, the Lumber Yard project, which in and of itself was a brilliant move on the part of the town, was only the first phase of transit-oriented development in this small Philly suburb. Now they're talking about redeveloping some of the parking areas in the center of town, even building a parking garage - something I've been saying should happen for years but never actually thought could take place! Here's an excerpt from the Borough's press release:

Development talks will focus on areas along North Atlantic Ave, directly around the Speedline station. The Borough is considering more residential and commercial buildings and a parking garage :w00t: to help address the area

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OK so as I said here's some pics from the recently completed portion of the Lumber Yard mixed use project.

As you can see here it's got condos with shops at street level. The top level condos have a little deck/patio which is really cool.

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The street I'm looking down here, Powell Street, was created just for the project.

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Here, you can see how well the project fits into the existing town:

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And here's a few of the neighborhood around the Lumberyard. Collingswood is one of only so many American communities which still has an original Woolworth's sign:

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And the best Italian pastry shop in town, just across from the Lumberyard :)

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