BY Matt Fagan,

May 18, 2021


If a pothole opens up on a downtown street or a water main fails, municipalities often have money and public works crews available to get the problem resolved quickly.

Then there are projects like Clifton’s Main Avenue Streetscape or Fairview’s Anderson Avenue Restoration, both on their third phase, which are often harder to fund. Tight municipal budgets mean downtown aesthetics, bicycle safety and crosswalks go on the back burner.

That’s why for Clifton, Fairview, Paterson, Passaic and Elmwood Park, the news that they were winners of highly competitive Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside grants called for some celebration.

“The grants announced today will fund projects to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists in 10 North Jersey communities without having to impact local property taxes,” said Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, which administers the grants.

In all, 83 municipalities in the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority region sought funding for more than 133 projects worth more than $100 million, state transportation officials said. The pool of money available for the grants was about $8 million.

The individual grants ranged between $690,000 and a $1 million

For the city of Passaic, the $1 million pledged will complete the city’s goal of linking its Pulaski Park with Passaic County’s Dundee Island Par

In the past several years, Passaic County has invested more than $12 million in creating the riverside park.

The city, under Mayor Hector Lora’s leadership, managed to get the rail line decommissioned and purchased much of the right of way, about 3 acres strategically located between the two parks.

The mayor aims to add parking and bike lanes to connect the parkland. The city has until 2023 to get the project underway.

In Clifton, its $880,000 set-aside grant will connect the dots of the city’s improvements along Main Avenue.

Phase 1 of the Main Avenue redevelopment was completed a number of years ago and made improvements to sidewalks, plantings and lighting along the roadway from the Passaic line to Piaget Avenue, Mayor James Anzaldi said.

Then, about three years ago, the city completed improvements from the Paterson line to the Garden State Parkway overpass.

“This is the portion that is left, and it’s wonderful to be able to get the money to get it completed,” Anzaldi said. “Streetscape improvements make a world of difference, in aesthetics especially, and also makes for safe, user-friendly walking.”

In Paterson, $820,000 will go toward improving streets near Hinchliffe Stadium and the Great Falls National Historical Park. The application for the Great Falls-Hinchliffe Bike-Ped Connection Phase 1 sought money for improvements to Wayne Avenue and Maple Street.

The grant will go toward restoring curbing, sidewalks and ramps; shared road markings; green infrastructure improvements and street trees; and signage leading from Garret Mountain Reservation to the Great Falls.

“It makes sense, because when they founded this city it was supposed to be built around the Great Falls,” Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh said.

The grant will dovetail with the roughly $4 million previously spent to improve the area around the Wayne Avenue Bridge. It may also reopen a neglected footpath from Garret Mountain Reservation to the city proper, Sayegh said.

Bergen County’s Fairview will continue to make improvements in what it calls the Anderson Avenue Restoration Phase III Project. It was awarded $1 million.

This streetscape project will make improvements from Kamena Street to Edgewater Road. Previous phases included the stretch from Fairview Avenue to Kamena Street.

The work will include sidewalks and curbing to be replaced with stamped concrete. Curb ramps will be upgraded to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and trash receptacles, benches, bus depots and lighting will be installed.

Elmwood Park is slated to receive $690,000 to make pedestrian safety improvements along Mola Boulevard between Broadway and Philip Avenue. This includes sidewalk improvements, pedestrian and vehicle signage, lighting and plantings.

Other North Jersey grants

  • Washington Street Corridor Improvement Project, $780,000 (West Orange, Essex County)
  • Waterfront Commuter Trail, $1,000,000 (South Amboy, Middlesex County)
  • Hamilton Street Plaza Project, $1,000,000 (Bound Brook, Somerset County)
  • East Cherry Street Streetscape Improvements, $630,000 (Rahway, Union County)
  • Channel Drive Revitalization Project, $1,000,000 (Point Pleasant Beach, Ocean County)

Read the original article here.