Category: On The Go

Landis Avenue Corridor Improvements

Since fiscal year (FY) 2014, Landis Avenue in the City of Vineland has been receiving federal funds through SJTPO for corridor improvements. Landis Avenue serves as “Main Street” in Vineland, and is home to many shops, municipal buildings, churches, hotels, big-box stores, and more. Six stages of improvements are planned for the three-mile stretch of Landis Avenue beginning at Myrtle Street and working westward to Route 55. Planned improvements include new pavement, upgrades to sidewalks and crosswalks, bulb-outs to reduce pedestrian crossing distance, mid-block crossings, improved pavement markings, and traffic signal upgrades. To date, from FY 2014 to FY 2018, $4,403,000 in funding has been made available through SJTPO’s federal resurfacing allocation, Surface Transportation Block Grant Program – South Jersey (STBGP-SJ), and Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality (CMAQ) funds.

Phase one of the project, referred to in the FY 2014-2023 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) (available here) as Landis Avenue, Myrtle Street to Boulevards, Resurfacing began in FY 2014. This phase received $632,000 in Surface Transportation Program-South Jersey (STP-SJ) funds and went to the mill and overlay of Landis Avenue from Myrtle Street to the Boulevards. Mill and overlay refers to a typical roadway repavement, where the top inches of asphalt are milled or removed then an overlay of new asphalt is put in place. Bulb-outs at intersections to improve safety for pedestrian cross and highly visible mid-block crossing were also added. Further, traffic signals were replaced. The traffic signal upgrades were funded through CMAQ for $1.014 million. The signal upgrades included mast arms and signal heads, larger and brighter bulbs, cameras to detect traffic waiting on side streets, and improved timing of signals.

At the intersection of Landis Avenue and Myrtle Street, new striping, bulb-outs to reduce pedestrian crossing length, and newly installed traffic signals with improved lighting are all improvements funded through the SJTPO.

The second phase began in FY 2015. Known as the Landis Avenue, Phase II, West Avenue to the Boulevards (County Route (CR) 615S), the project received $632,000 from STP-SJ funding, the same source as phase one. The funds went to various improvements including the mill and overlay of the roadway, widening the existing right-of-way, removing and replacing concrete items, such as curbs or other drainage features, rehabilitation of the existing storm sewer infrastructure, and bulb-outs, as needed. Traffic signal upgrades were authorized in October of 2017 for $873,300 in CMAQ funding.

In FY 2015, $50,000 in funds went to the design of Landis Avenue, Phase III, Coney Avenue to West Avenue. Then in FY 2016, construction began. $670,000 in STATE-SJTPO funds was used to mill and overlay the roadway, widen the existing right-of-way, removal and replacement of concrete items, such as curbs or other drainage features, and rehabilitation of the existing storm sewer infrastructure, as needed.

Landis Avenue, Phase IV, Orchard Road (CR 628) to Moyer Street, milepost (MP) 8.69 to 9.09 was funded in FY 2017 with STP-SJ funds. Much like phase three, the $609,000 in funding for phase four went to the mill and overlay of the given roadway corridor, widening the existing right-of-way, removal and replacement of concrete items, such as curbs or other drainage features, and rehabilitation of the existing storm sewer infrastructure, as needed. Traffic signal improvements are planned, with authorization pending.

Phase five, referred to in the FY 2016-2025 TIP (available here) as Landis Avenue, Phase V, Mill Road to Orchard Rd (CR 628), began with design in FY 2017. $50,000 in STP-SJ funds went into designing the improvement project. Then in 2018, construction began. Funds were made available in the FY 2018-2027 TIP through the STBGP-SJ funding program. The $1,710,000 went to the mill and overlay of the roadway within the existing right-of-way.

The sixth and final phase of the final corridor improvement, known as Landis Avenue, Mill Road to Rt. 55 began with design in FY 2018. The design for the improvements cost $50,000 and was funded through STBGP-SJ funds. In FY 2019, the SJTPO intends to fund the construction portion of the improvements. The improvements will include the mill and overlay of the roadway within the existing right-of-way, removal and replacement of concrete items, and rehabilitation of the existing storm sewer infrastructure, as needed. The improvements are expected to cost $1,300,000. An update for phase six will be provided when applicable.

 

Project Authorizations: August 2018 through September 2018

SJTPO works closely with its constituent planning partners to connect transportation projects to federal funding. In recent months, a total of nine projects in three of SJTPO’s four counties have been authorized to advance for federal funding. A project is ‘authorized’ when it has received final approval to begin spending federal dollars. Of the nine projects, four are in Atlantic County, three are in Cumberland County, and two are in Salem County. Each project is included in the latest Fiscal Year (FY) 2018-2027 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), which is the SJTPO product that documents funded projects.

In Atlantic County, the first project authorized is Route 73 (Blue Anchor Road), Route 322 to Route 54 (Twelfth Street). This $1.3 million project will resurface a 2.4 mile stretch of Route 73 within the existing right-of-way. The second project is referenced in the TIP as Delilah Road (County Route 646), English Creek Road to Sharkey Place. This $1.1 million project will allow for reconstruction of the roadway, down to the base layers of asphalt, for a 1.27 mile stretch of Delilah Road. Further, the third project authorized is referred to as Chelsea Section, Albany Avenue. Located in Atlantic City, the design phase of this project was authorized for $133,000. The designs will include improvements to the roadway including resurfacing, upgrades to curb ramps, drainage improvements, and more. The construction phase of this project is expected to follow in FY 2019, when the design is completed. Also, in Atlantic City, is the Atlantic Avenue, Morris Avenue to Rhode Island Avenue project. Funded in earlier years with Transportation Trust Fund (TTF swap) funding, this project, which is in the design phase, will use $116,000 of funding to design mill and overlay on sections of Atlantic Avenue including ADA ramps, storm drain repairs, and compliant manhole lids and rims. Roadway improvements will be completed along two disjointed segments; Morris Avenue to Arkansas Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue to Rhode Island Avenue.

In Cumberland County, specifically in the City of Vineland, the West Avenue, Landis Avenue to Chestnut Avenue project was authorized for $1.2 million. The project, which is in the construction phase, calls for roadway mill and overlay within the existing right-of-way. In addition, the project calls for the removal and replacement of concrete items, such as curbs or other drainage features, and rehabilitation of the existing storm sewer infrastructure, as needed. The second project, also in the construction phase is the Cumberland County Systemic High Friction Surface Treatment Program – HRRR. This $2.3 million Local Safety Program project will reduce the risk of run-off-the-road crashes along 18 curves along 6 high risk rural roads (HRRRs) throughout the County. High friction surface treatment refers to the application of a thin layer of course stone to the roadway that improves the ability of vehicles to get traction and reduce the chances of skidding when travelling along a curve. The safety improvements to these areas will not only include the high friction surface treatment but also the replacement and upgrade of existing regulatory and warning signage to current design and retro-reflectivity standards within the project’s limits. The third project, FY 2018 Cumberland County Federal Road Program is the largest at $2.6 million. The funding will cover the mill and overlay of various roadways within the existing right-of-way. The roadways included are Route 347 (from Maurice Town Causeway to Cumberland County Line), Union Road (from Mays Landing Road to NJ Route 49), and a stretch of Barretts Run Road (County Route (CR) 661).

In Salem County, the FY 2018 Salem County Mill and Overlay Resurfacing Program is in the design phase. This $43,000 project, authorized in mid-September, will conduct design for the mill and overlay of various roadways in Salem County. Safety improvements will also be made. The roadway selected for FY 2018 is CR 639 Willow Grove Road (from Centerton Road (CR 610) to Alvine Road (CR 655)). The last project recently authorized in the region is Hook Road (CR 551), E. Pittsfield Street to Route 295 – phase one. The $1.1 million project will include the resurfacing of Hook Road from East Pittsfield to I-295 Northbound.

For more information on each project, such as the project sponsor or funding source, please review the FY 2018-2027 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) document, which is available on the TIP webpage.

Public Comment Opportunities: 2019 Public Involvement Plan and Federal Certification

The SJTPO announces the release for public comment of a draft update to its Public Involvement Plan (PIP). The PIP outlines the requirements and best practices the organization will follow to ensure that plans and programs maximize the involvement of the public.

A 55-day public comment period for the draft PIP begins Monday, February 18, 2019 and concludes on Sunday, April 14, 2019. Comments may be submitted via the online comment form (www.sjtpo.org/pip or www.sjtpo.org/public-comment), email (pip@sjtpo.org), mail (782 South Brewster Road, Unit B6, Vineland, NJ 08361), fax (856-794-2549), Facebook (www.facebook.com/SJTPO), or Twitter (twitter.com/SJTPO). Additionally, a public meeting to receive comments is scheduled for Monday, March 25, 2019, beginning at 5:30 PM at Vineland City Hall in the 2nd floor Caucus Room (Directions).

Staff will review comments as they arrive and will address and incorporate the comments into the PIP to the greatest degree reasonably possible. The public comments and SJTPO responses will be included as an appendix in the final PIP.

The final PIP will reflect comments received and will be made available to the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) in mid-May 2019. The TAC will then make a recommendation to the Policy Board to approve the plan. Once approved, the PIP will be posted to the SJTPO website. This PIP will replace the previously adopted PIP. Staff will begin to use the 2019 PIP to guide public participation efforts. The date of final approval is anticipated to be late-May 2019.

The SJTPO will also participate in a Federal Certification Review in late March 2019. Federal Certification is a multi-agency activity led by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Authority (FTA) and is required every four years to assess SJTPO’s transportation planning process for compliance with federal requirements. The certification determination is essential as it is the basis for providing ongoing allocations of federal funds to SJTPO. Staff requests public comments on the current planning process.

A 51-day public comment period for Certification begins on Monday, February 18, 2019 and concludes on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Comments may be submitted via online comment form (www.sjtpo.org/public-comment), email (certification@sjtpo.org), mail (782 South Brewster Road, Unit B6, Vineland, NJ 08361), fax (856-794-2549), Facebook (www.facebook.com/SJTPO), or Twitter (twitter.com/SJTPO). Additionally, a public meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 25, 2019, beginning at 6:00 PM at Vineland City Hall in the 2nd floor Caucus Room (Directions) to gather comments and answer questions. The public will have the opportunity to speak with representatives from the Federal Highway and Federal Transit Administrations directly.

The SJTPO fully complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related statutes and regulations in all programs and activities. SJTPO public meetings are always held in ADA accessible facilities and in transit-accessible locations when possible. Individuals who need accessible communication aids and services or other accommodations to participate in programs and activities are invited to make their needs known by calling the SJTPO office at (856) 794-1941. Please provide a 3 business day notice to adequately meet the request.

25 Years, 2 Executive Directors, 1 Mission for South Jersey’s Transportation System

2018 is a momentous year, as it marks South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization’s 25th anniversary as the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). Prior to its designation in July of 1993, three smaller MPOs served the urbanized areas of southern New Jersey. The idea for the merger was introduced by the leaders of the four counties and made effective under the orders of Governor Jim Florio. The basis of the merger was the idea that one, all-encompassing MPO would benefit from combined federal, state, and local resources, and thus be better able to create a stronger regional approach to solving transportation problems in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, and Salem counties.

Among the first tasks the SJTPO had to address was to create a vision. Mr. Tim Chelius, the founding Executive Director, who retired in 2016, stated, “Our immediate goal was to establish South Jersey as a full partner in the federal transportation planning and capital program process.” To accomplish this feat, SJTPO instituted a Policy Board, which became the governing body of the SJTPO, to comply with new measures within the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). The Act, which was signed into law in December of 1991 by President George H. W. Bush, made changes to regional planning and policies, including giving more decision-making authority to local elected officials. Mr. Chelius noted the specific stipulations to the Policy Board included, “requiring 8 of 11 Policy Board members to be elected officials to guarantee that critical decisions [were] made at the highest levels.”

As SJTPO’s vision expanded and as years passed, the Organization found much success. On the capital programming side, many new projects were awarded funding. The establishment of a long-range transportation plan and a capital project selection process were readily received by the public. Furthermore, Mr. Chelius recalls when SJTPO was approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) as a grantee to receive funding for the robust series of safety education and enforcement programs SJTPO offered to the public. Mr. Chelius stated, “We did quite a lot of traffic safety advocacy outside of planning and engineering over the years and were recognized as a national leader among MPOs for that.” However, with all the high points also came several low points. Not only did SJTPO experience state shut-downs, there were also project delays and years of insecure federal funding. Mr. Chelius acknowledged the low points and stated, “those [were] part of the game, and we adapted.”

Fast forward to the present and SJTPO is now under the leadership of Ms. Jennifer Marandino. Prior to her role as Executive Director, Ms. Marandino served as Team Leader of Capital Programming & Safety. From the start, Mr. Chelius saw great potential in Ms. Marandino, who began in March of 2011. When asked about retiring and entrusting Ms. Marandino with the Executive Director position he held since the inception of SJTPO, Mr. Chelius stated, “I was very happy Jennifer was named Executive Director. She showed tremendous leadership skills and [was] a fabulous engineer.”

Ms. Marandino transitioned into her new role with ease and strived to make changes that would allow for growth and continued success within the Organization. When asked about significant changes made to the Organization, Ms. Marandino mentioned the addition of two new staff members in the latter half of 2017. Ms. Marandino went on to state, “With the two new hires, we were able to take advantage of the bright young talent within southern New Jersey, with both new staff members receiving their educational degrees from Rowan University.” The addition was even more significant because both hires were women, which was exciting, yet rare in a typically male-dominated profession. Two years into her role and Ms. Marandino already has a clear idea of what she hopes SJTPO can accomplish over the next five years. One major area of improvement Ms. Marandino hopes SJTPO will be successful in achieving is strengthening ties with the public in the four-county region. When further asked about this matter, Ms. Marandino explained, “SJTPO has done a good job publicizing our Safety Educational Outreach programs, led by two retired police officers, but we have not done a great job letting the public know who we are and the valuable role we play in our region.” The need to have the public involved in SJTPO’s affairs is vital because when the public thoroughly understands what SJTPO does and how transportation improvements will help them get to where they need to be more efficiently and safely, they are more likely to support the Organization’s efforts. Moreover, Ms. Marandino hopes SJTPO’s subregional partners will take full advantage of the funding sources available to southern New Jersey. The approximately $11.6 million in funding allocated to the region this year is only available through SJTPO. As an engineer, Ms. Marandino acknowledged, “I get excited for projects; when the years of planning are complete, and the public can start seeing the fruits of our labor.” Related to SJTPO subregional partners and the projects they propose, Ms. Marandino advocates for all future resurfacing projects to include components of safety, with the intent to reduce the number of fatal and serious injury crashes. To reduce crashes, Ms. Marandino stated, “Our regional partners will need to include proven safety countermeasures into their projects, balancing the needs of all users of the system.”

To conclude, over the last 25 years, SJTPO has made great progress in the southern New Jersey region. Much of this success can be attributed to Mr. Chelius, Mr. John Petersack, Ms. Monica Butler, and the late Mr. Chet Ambler, all founding members. These founding members were instrumental figures, who
established a trusted and progressive MPO. Despite Mr. Chelius’ retirement in 2016, he remains in touch with SJTPO staff and aids Ms. Marandino when necessary. Ms. Marandino is grateful to have Mr. Chelius’ guidance because as she notes, “We can continue to learn and grow, regardless of where we are in our career.” After all the changes and growth, both Mr. Chelius and Ms. Marandino are proud that the mission of the Organization has remained a constant: to create a transportation system based on regional collaboration that moves people and goods in a safe and efficient manner.

July 2018 CAC Meeting: Public Involvement Plan (PIP) Update

At the July 30, 2018 Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting, Melissa Melora, Public Outreach Planner at SJTPO, presented on the Public Involvement Plan (PIP) Update. Ms. Melora discussed the purpose of the PIP, which is to outline the requirements and best practices for SJTPO to follow to ensure that plans and programs include the public to the greatest, reasonable degree. Ms. Melora also noted the twelve Federal Guidances SJTPO must adhere to, such as SJTPO must “seek out and consider the needs of the people who are traditionally underserved by the existing transportation system, including low-income and minority households;” SJTPO must “demonstrate explicit consideration and response to public input;” and SJTPO must “comply with federal laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VI of Civil Rights Act of 1964, and various Executive Orders.” Furthermore, Ms. Melora made note of important dates for the update, as well as the outreach methods SJTPO staff will use to gather public input from the four-county region. At the end of the meeting, attendees were able to provide recommendations on how SJTPO could create a more meaningful and proactive public involvement process.

The above image depicts the schedule for the PIP Update. The update began in late July of 2018 and a completed product is expected to be approved by the SJTPO Policy Board in late March of 2019.

To stay informed on deadlines, upcoming workshops/public meetings, and Draft PIPs, please visit our PIP webpage. You can also get more information about the Citizens Advisory Committee, including meeting agendas and approved minutes, here.

 

Woodstown, Salem County Awarded Safe Routes to School Funding

As a small, relatively dense municipality with areas of significant vehicle traffic, Woodstown Borough Mayor Don Dietrich and Borough Council Members recognized the importance of a complete sidewalk network to ensure pedestrian safety. Although the Borough strived to create a safe, walkable community, especially in the vicinity of its two schools, the Mary S. Shoemaker Elementary School and the Woodstown Middle School, gaps existed due to a lack of funds.

Since pedestrian safety continued to be a significant talking point amongst Woodstown residents, officials applied to the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Grant program. The program, which is funded through the Federal Highway Administration’s Federal Aid Program and administered by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) in partnership with SJTPO, is highly competitive, as there are often numerous applicants in need of infrastructure improvements. Nonetheless, the Woodstown Borough Safe Routes to School Grant application was selected, and awarded $237,000 in funding.

The funding will cover the cost of four sidewalk, crosswalk, and signalization improvement projects near the two schools. The Bailey Street (County Route 616) sidewalk is the first of the four projects to be completed. The improvement will complete the gaps in a 1,200-foot-long walkway from Lotus Avenue to the Borough Boundary, the preferred walking path of students living in nearby affordable housing units. The improvement will also include the installation of solar powered, manually activated flashing crossing signals.

The second project is located at the elementary school, where a crosswalk will be installed across East Millbrooke Avenue to deter students from jaywalking. Furthermore, this improvement will include the addition of two ADA (Americans With Disabilities) accessible ramps; a walkway leading towards the main entrance of the school; two solar powered, manually operated flashing school crossing signals; and various warning signs along the roadway.

The Alloway Road (County Route 603) sidewalk is the third project location. Currently, a 200-foot gap exists in the 610-foot-long walkway from Bailey Street to Liberty Avenue. The objective is to eliminate the gap to improve walkability in the area, especially as 14 of the 60 units in the Freedom Village subdivision house students. The existing crosswalks at Bailey Street and Alloway Road are ADA compliant, as they were recently improved by the Salem County Road Department.

The final improvement project addressed by the grant is located on Old Salem Road. There is a 380-foot gap in the 790-foot-long walkway situated on the west side of the road from Bailey Street to Liberty Avenue. Much like Alloway Road, Old Salem Road is used by students residing in the Freedom Village subdivision. Due to the existing gap in the sidewalk, students walk on the roadway and often jaywalk. These behaviors create a safety concern, as the area is heavily trafficked during the morning and evening rush hours, which coincide with the opening times of the schools and the end of after school activities.

Images of the improvements will be posted to SJTPO’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, when they are available.

 

SJTPO Celebrates 25 Years

South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization is celebrating its 25th anniversary as the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). SJTPO was founded on a vision that the region would be better served together than by the three smaller organizations that preceded it. In July of 1993, these organizations and the region came together to form the SJTPO. This has allowed for a much stronger, more united approach to resolving transportation issues in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, and Salem counties.

As a result of the solid groundwork laid by our founding members, SJTPO has made great progress in the region over the last 25 years. We have worked to develop strong partnerships within and outside of the region, create economic opportunities through infrastructure investments, give citizens a forum to voice their concerns, monitor and improve congestion and air quality in the region, and improve safety for all roadway users through both infrastructure improvements and an extensive array of public education programs. While our region has grown and changed, the mission of the Organization has not: to create a transportation system based on regional collaboration that moves people and goods in a safe and efficient manner.

We are proud to have achieved this milestone and look forward to the years to come and all of the opportunities that lie ahead for our region. We would like to recognize and thank our partners who play a vital role in the everyday operations and successes of the Organization. Also, be sure to look for #SJTPOTurns25 on Facebook and Twitter, as we celebrate this momentous event.

– SJTPO Staff

April 2018 CAC Meeting: Review of Technical Studies

At the April 30, 2018 Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting, SJTPO staff presented on current and upcoming technical studies, as well as internal efforts. One of the six current technical studies mentioned was the Ocean Drive (CR 621) Upgrades and Bridge Improvements Local Concept Development Study. Jennifer Marandino, the project manager, indicated that the study was initiated by Cape May County for three main bridges located along the Ocean Drive (CR 621) Causeway. Ms. Marandino went on to explain that the study was a significant undertaking for SJTPO, as it is one of the most expensive studies ever managed by SJTPO, costing over $1,000,000. To learn more about the study, please visit the project’s website.

After discussion on current studies, SJTPO staff offered an overview of seven upcoming technical studies. One of the studies noted was the Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail Network – Communications and Marketing Plan. Alan Huff, the project manager, stated that SJTPO is eager to begin the study, as it aligns with the goal established in the 2016 regional transportation plan, Transportation Matters, “to develop and implement a vision for a regional trail network to connect major attractions within the region and neighboring regions.” The consultant for the study, TransPro Consulting, LLC., in partnership with the New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition and Kayla Creative are anticipated to begin the project in June 2018.

The last topic on the agenda was to discuss internal efforts to be completed by staff members. One noteworthy effort is an update to the 2010 Pubic Involvement Plan (PIP). Melissa Melora, the Public Outreach Planner will manage this task. At the July 30, 2018 CAC meeting, SJTPO will present on public involvement, requirements, current practices, and hear from CAC members and the public on what they hope to see in the updated plan.

To stay informed on SJTPO technical studies, please visit our RFP webpage. You can also get more information about the Citizens Advisory Committee, as well as meeting agendas and approved minutes, here.

Over $13 Million in Local Safety Projects Advance for Funding

Through the Local Safety Program, SJTPO works with state and local agencies to address roadway safety issues by funding targeted safety improvements in the four-county SJTPO region. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, $13,009,250 in projects were funded through the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), which aims to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries (F&SI) on public roads through a data-driven, strategic approach to improving highway safety.

A total of sixteen project applications were submitted throughout the region to the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT). Once submitted, the applications went through a rigorous, multi-step review process by a Technical Review Committee (TRC), comprised of SJTPO staff and NJDOT Staff including Local Aid, the Bureau of Environmental Program Resources, and the Bureau of Traffic Data and Safety. Together, the Committee determined if the proposed improvement would be a good use of local safety dollars by assessing the safety need, that the need was being addressed by the proposed improvements, and that the benefit of the project outweighed the cost. The Committee also assured that the projects aligned with the investment goals jointly established by the FHWA, NJDOT, and the three New Jersey MPOs. The investment goals established by these entities targeted intersection, pedestrian, and lane departure crashes, as these represented the largest number of fatal and serious injury crashes occurring throughout the state.

On March 5, 2018, with only minor modifications, the Committee approved each of the project applications submitted by the SJTPO. Of the applications, one project will take place in Atlantic County, one in Cape May County, twelve in Cumberland County, and two in Salem County. In Atlantic County, safety improvements will focus on lane departure prevention in Egg Harbor Township through the installation of centerline rumble strips at a number of locations. The funding for this improvement project totals $618,195. Safety improvements in Cape May County will also focus on lane departure prevention through the installation of centerline rumble strips on various roadways throughout the County, totaling $736,351. In Cumberland County, ten projects will focus on intersection improvements through the installation of an all-way stop at various locations, primarily in rural areas, totaling $1,104,400. Two additional safety improvement projects in Cumberland County will focus on lane departure improvements at curves through the installation of a high friction surface treatment to the roadway, as well as regulatory and warning signage upgrades. The total funding for these improvements is $4,084,500. In Salem County, a total of $6,465,804 in funds will be allocated for pedestrian and intersection safety improvements in the City of Salem, on Walnut Street at the intersections of Smith Street, Wesley Street, and Church/Belden Street, where pedestrian crashes have occurred. And lastly, in Salem County, crashes at the Six Points intersection, at Garden Road, Parvin Mill Road, and Alvine Road in Pittsgrove Township, will be addressed through the construction of a modern roundabout.

The SJTPO is pleased to report that each of the projects selected by the Technical Review Committee satisfy, and even exceed the annual funding goal of $3,500,000 for the three investment strategies. The SJTPO is also hopeful that these projects, along with its safety educational outreach will help to reduce the number of crashes and fatalities that occur on the region’s roadways each year.

 

A Happy Retirement to John Petersack

At the March Policy Board meeting, Mr. John Petersack, who will retire on March 31, 2018, was recognized by Jennifer Marandino, the Executive Director of the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization for his service to the Organization over the last 10 years.

Prior to his start in October of 2007, Mr. Petersack worked at the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), where he amassed a vast knowledge of the federal process, specifically regarding the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). Furthermore, while at NJDOT, Mr. Petersack served as the liaison between the Department and the three former Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) that served Southern New Jersey. As the liaison, Mr. Petersack was instrumental in merging the three MPOs into a single, more encompassing MPO, now known as the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization.

Over the course of his time as the part-time Capital Program Specialist, Mr. Petersack was fully committed to SJTPO’s subregional partners. Not only did he impart his knowledge of the federal process onto SJTPO’s partners, he also sought for the allocation of additional federal funds for the region.

It is truly a bittersweet moment to have a founding member of the SJTPO retire, especially as the Organization is celebrating 25 years this year. Nonetheless, all of us here at SJTPO wish Mr. Petersack a happy, healthy, and long retirement.

Learn about “Smart” Traffic Signals from our presentation to the CAC

At the October 30, 2017 Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting, NJDOT and SJTPO staff presented on “smart” traffic signals. Kelly McVeigh, Principal Engineer at NJDOT, provided CAC members and the Public with information regarding the varying traffic signal technologies used throughout the State. The presentation included the difference between “traditional” and “smart” traffic signals, with a stronger focus on the where, why, and how of “smart” traffic signals. You can view Mr. McVeigh’s presentation here.

Andrew Tracy, Transportation Engineer at SJTPO, provided an overview of SJTPO’s Regional Traffic Signal Improvement Program. Mr. Tracy discussed the methodology of the Program, which includes data collection, screening, modeling and performance measurement, and project development. Mr. Tracy also noted that each of these elements are ultimately needed to secure capital programming. You can view Mr. Tracy’s presentation here.

You can get more information about the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) as well as meeting agendas and approved minutes here.

Cape May County Complete Streets Summit Excellence Award

Complete Streets Summit awardees, Leslie Gimeno, Planning Director at the Cape May County Planning Department (left) and Mayor Pickolycky of Woodbine, NJ (right) pose for a picture with Mike Russo, Assistant Commissioner – Capital Investment, Planning and Grant Administration at NJDOT (middle).

On Tuesday, October 24, 2017, the Complete Streets Summit was held at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. At the event, Leslie Gimeno, Planning Director at the Cape May County Planning Department accepted the 2017 Complete Streets Summit Excellence Award.

The award honored the initiative set forth by the Cape May County Planning Board and the Cape May County Open Space Board for the development of a Regional Bike Network in the County. The initiative was supported by 16 local municipalities, managers of recreational assets, cycling advocates, as well as the SJTPO.

Discussion for a Regional Bike Network began in 2013 when the Open Space Program, established in 1989, expanded on its original functions of Farmland Preservation and land acquisition, to act as a funding source for Historic Preservation and Recreational Development programs. Representatives from the County’s local municipalities met and collectively decided to implement an initiative that would connect small-scale bike projects to create a more expansive network of trails, paths, and lanes that would grow and support the tourism and ecotourism industry present in the County.

Representatives from local municipalities came together to discuss potential project ideas that stemmed from the needs and wants of the public.

A Special Funding Round was an integral part of the Regional Bike Network. The Special Funding Round encouraged municipalities to submit applications for bike-related projects by funding 50% of Engineering and Design costs, as well as 100% of capital construction costs. As a result of the Special Funding Round, $3.2 million was awarded to five applicants. Of the five applicants, two were of major significance as they closed a 10-mile gap in the trail network located in the central part of the County.

The SJTPO staff would like to once again congratulate Leslie Gimeno and Cape May County for their efforts related to the implementation of Complete Streets, and for making the area’s roads safer for all roadway users.

An article on the Regional Bike Network is available to read, here. The article can be found on pages 6 and 7.

A video on the Regional Bike Network is available as well, and can be viewed, here.

Final Draft of Transportation Matters – A Plan For South Jersey Now Available

Final Draft Cover 500

SJTPO has released an updated Final Draft of Transportation Matters – A Plan for South Jersey to reflect comments received during public review. This plan will shape South Jersey’s long-term transportation future, setting the vision, goals, and strategies that will guide the region’s transportation decision making for the next 24 years. More information here

SJTPO will bring this Final Draft Plan to the SJTPO Policy Board for action at its Monday, July 25, 2016 meeting.

Sign of Success: Over 100K Bicyclists and Pedestrians Cross Route 52 Causeway

In 2012, work was completed on a $400 million project to replace the Route 52 Causeway bridges and the roadway sections between Somers Point and Ocean City. This was one of NJDOT’s largest projects and the largest in the SJTPO region, and is critical because Route 52 is the emergency evacuation route for Ocean City. The new causeway has served as a major regional travel route for bicyclists and pedestrians, with over 100,000 crossing the bridge as of March 2015.

The final project included two high fixed spans over Ship Channel and Beach Thorofare (Intracoastal Waterway), and a touchdown on Rainbow Island. The Ocean City Visitors Center was reconstructed as part of the new bridge’s Scenic Overlook. Other
amenities include boat ramps, fishing piers, parking lots, and walkways. The project also features a 10-foot wide paved multi-use path that extends the full length of the project. The walkway connects the Visitors Center and fishing areas along the bridge to other bicycle and pedestrian facilities in Somers Point and Ocean City.

In July of 2014, NJDOT installed a permanent counter that is designed to collect bicycle and pedestrian usage data to assess how well the trail was being used. The sensor used allows the counter to continuously detect and differentiate between pedestrians and cyclists, and record each mode by direction.

As of March 31st, 101,679 pedestrians and cyclists were counted crossing the Route 52 Causeway, with an average of 408 users per day. About 64% (64,967) were pedestrians and 36% (36,712) were cyclists. The largest single day volume (2,644 people) occurred during the Night in Venice Boat Parade, with 817 people counted using the path between 6:30 and 9:30 pm.

Six Bike/Ped Projects Awarded Federal Funding

TAP_SRTS_MapThe New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), in collaboration with SJTPO and New Jersey’s other MPOs, have announced the recipients of the 2014 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) and Safe Routes to School grants. The six selected projects represent a $1.95 million investment in support of pedestrian and bicycle access and safety in the SJTPO Region.

 

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Projects

City of Vineland, $275,000
Sabater Elementary Sidewalk Improvements

The City of Vineland project focuses its efforts in the area surrounding Gloria M. Sabater Elementary school, directly benefiting over 400 students. The project includes new crosswalks and stop bars at intersections; removal and replacement of existing sidewalks and curbs; upgrades to ramps at intersections to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) design standards; replacement of any and all faded and vandalized signs, as well as the addition of Share the Road signage and mobile in-street crossing signage for use during school arrival and dismissal.


City of Cape May, $350,000
Cape May Bikeway Network Expansion

The City of Cape May project will connect the Cape May Elementary School with the US Coast Guard Training Center area, where over 60 percent of the students live. Improvements in the project include a bike lane on Pennsylvania Avenue from the Coast Guard Base to Michigan Avenue, a solar powered pedestrian/bicyclist activated warning flashing signal in front of the Elementary School; bicycle sharrows, bike racks at the Elementary School, as well as upgrades to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) design standards.

Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) Projects

City of Atlantic City, $966,000
Atlantic Avenue Improvements

The City of Atlantic City project will fund a portion of a larger effort to redevelop Atlantic Avenue to be more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. Improvements will focus on a two-block segment of Atlantic Avenue between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and New York Avenue. Improvements in the project include LED pedestrian crossing signals with countdown timers and audible speakers for the blind, crosswalk design improvements, way-finding signage, sidewalk improvements, bike racks, street lighting, access improvements to transit, and other streetscaping work.


City of Somers Point, $171,000
Somers Point Bikeway Extension

The City of Somers Point project will construct a 500-foot long, 10-foot wide bikeway extension to connect the Route 52 Causeway into Ocean City with the Pleasantville to Somers Point Bikeway. This project will make a vital connection between two of the most heavily used bicycle and pedestrian routes in the region, making walking and bicycling more attractive for both recreational users as well as commuters.

 


City of Egg Harbor City, $296,000
Atlantic Avenue Transit Path Extension

The City of Egg Harbor City project will build upon a number of efforts in recent years to improve access to the New Jersey Transit Railway and Bus Station on Atlantic Avenue. This effort will extend a pedestrian route from the rail station and bus stop down Atlantic Avenue to St. Louis Avenue then continue along St. Louis Avenue US Route 30. Improvements in the project include new sidewalks, curb, crosswalks, signage, drainage, upgrades to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) design standards, and related roadway repairs.


City of Millville, $517,000
Maurice River Bikeway Trail Extension

The City of Millville project primarily includes 1.4 miles of new bicycle lanes from the Sharp Street Park to the Union Lake Wildlife Management Area. Bike lanes will follow along Sharp Street, Cooper Street, Schoolhouse Lane, and Carmel Road. Improvements in the project include mostly new bike lanes, but will also include shoulder widening, new sidewalk, signage, and other, pavement markings. The project will also serve as a connection for students at the Mount Pleasant Elementary School.

 

Policy Board Approves Blueprint for SJTPO FY 2016 Planning Activities

At their March 23 meeting, the Policy Board approved SJTPO’s Fiscal Year 2016 Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP). The UPWP serves as SJTPO’s blueprint for all federally funded surface transportation planning activities in the region, from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. $2,970,598 is programmed among the Central Staff Work Program, the Subregional Transportation Planning Program, and the Technical Program.

Of special note is the Subregional Program, which allocates $348,500 to the four SJTPO Counties for work that supports regional planning initiatives and their own transportation planning needs. The Technical Program for FY 2016 includes $1,100,000 for consultant-assisted work that will enable SJTPO to address federal and local transportation priorities. Data collection, project development assistance, and work leading to the update of the Regional Transportation Plan in July 2016 are prominent elements of our technical work for the coming year.

The UPWP is available for review, here.

SJTPO Welcomes 2015 Policy Board Members

At its January 26th Reorganization Meeting, the SJTPO Policy Board elected its 2015 officers, and Cape May County Freeholder Vice-Director and Sea Isle City Mayor Leonard Desiderio was named the SJTPO Chairman. The Board also elected Salem County Freeholder Deputy Director Benjamin Laury as Vice-Chairman and Atlantic County Freeholder Will Pauls as Secretary/Treasurer. Cumberland County Freeholder Thomas Sheppard was newly appointed to the SJTPO Policy Board this year. In addition, the SJTPO would like to acknowledge the South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA) Director of Engineering, Stephen Mazur, who joined the Policy Board since the 2014 Reorganization. Chairman Desiderio thanked the Board for their support and wished everyone a happy, healthy, and prosperous year.

Leonard Desiderio
Leonard Desiderio, Chairman
Benjamin Laury
Benjamin Laury, Vice-Chairman
Will Pauls
Will Pauls, Secretary/Treasurer

 

SJTPO Traffic Safety Outreach Efforts Featured in Two Recent Articles

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Two recent articles, in the Press of Atlantic City and the Guardian (Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance) highlight some of the great work SJTPO Traffic Safety Specialists are doing to bring safety awareness to the public.

The March 3, 2015 Press of Atlantic City featured a popular program led by Traffic Safety Specialist Bob Clarke, called Car Crashes, It’s Basic Physics. In this program, Mr. Clarke reaches out to area physics classes and using real-life crash examples, shows how investigators use physics to reconstruct what actually happened during a crash. It is a great way to teach students about safety and show the real-world importance of the lessons they learn in their classes. Read more in the article, here

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”5607″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]In late 2014, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s newsletter, Guardian, focused on an effort SJTPO contributes to called Teens and Trucks. This program is a hands-on event that puts teens in the driver’s seat of a large truck to get a better idea of the blind spots (“No Zones”) that drivers of large trucks and buses are faced with on the roads. It also emphasized the importance of the three-second rule to keep safe distances from vehicles as well as to avoid distractions while driving, such as texting, cell phones, eating, among others. Read more in the article, here

These are just two of the more than dozen traffic safety programs that SJTPO delivers in the region to champion traffic safety awareness. To learn more about these programs and how to request a program in your school or community, check out the Traffic Safety page[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”5860″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Local Safety Program Featured in Southern New Jersey Development Council Newsletter

The Southern New Jersey Development Council (SNJDC) focused its Fall 2014 issue of its quarterly newsletter, the Chronicle, on transportation issues in South Jersey. One article focused on SJTPO’s Local Safety Program, highlighting the program’s focus on utilizing data to drive how SJTPO identifies locations and solutions when spending public dollars to improve safety.

You can read the article in the Fall 2014 issue of the Chronicle, here.

You can learn more about the Southern New Jersey Development Council (SNJDC), here.

 

 

Draft of Performance Report to 2040 Regional Transportation Plan Available for Review

SJTPO staff recently completed a draft of its 2040 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) Performance Report. This report serves as a mid-planning cycle report card that assesses the region’s progress in reaching the goals and objectives of the 2040 RTP, adopted in July 2012. The report shows a series of indicators for each of the Plan goals, and then uses simple gauges to depict the direction the region is heading. In addition to establishing performance measures, which are the basis of performance-based planning, a key emphasis area of federal legislation (MAP-21), the report serves as a strong foundation for the upcoming 2040 Regional Transportation Plan Update, due out the summer of 2016.

The report is available for review and public comment,here.

Comments may be directed to David Heller atdheller@sjtpo.org

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