The Borough of Metuchen can be characterized as a bustling suburban municipality. Despite being less than 3 square miles in size, the Borough is home to over 14,000 residents who reside in quaint suburban neighborhoods all centralized around a bustling downtown business district. With dozens of boutique shops and eateries, considerable mixed-use retail and residential development, and easy access to commuter rail via the Metuchen NJ Transit Station, the downtown is a sanctuary for those residents who want to ditch the car and walk or bike to their destination of choice. It is for this reason that Borough officials have been working for years to find ways to make Metuchen a more walkable and bikeable community.
These efforts began back in 2002, when the Borough received its designation through the NJ Department of Transportation as a Transit Village. As only the 8th municipality in the State to have received this prestigious designation, it demonstrated the Borough’s commitment to smart growth planning and transit-oriented development. Over the years, as the community evolved so did its policy and planning efforts. In 2013, the Borough adopted a Complete Streets policy. This policy helped to set the standards for future transit-oriented development projects by ensuring that it considered the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists alike. Finally, in 2016, the Borough culminated its planning efforts by completing and adopting a Complete Streets Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Plan. Through this planning process, the Borough identified barriers, gaps in connectivity, and assessed the overall suitability of the existing infrastructure for bicycling and walking.
As a result of its planning efforts and commitment to transit oriented development, the Borough has recognized considerable investment from outside developers and other agencies who share in its vision, including the NJ Department of Transportation. Over the past 4 years, Millennium Strategies has worked with the Borough to secure over $1.2 million in alternative grant funding, for pedestrian and bicycle projects, from the NJ Department of Transportation, through various grant programs including those outlined below.
- NJ DOT Transportation Alternatives Program ($375,000 award) – In 2018, the Borough received funding to install over 1.5 miles of new bike lanes, along with new signage, throughout the Borough to improve safety and access for cyclists.
- NJ DOT Local Aid Infrastructure Fund ($333,500 award) – In 2021, the Borough received funding for the replacement of Kahns Crossing Pedestrian Bridge near the Metuchen NJ Transit Train Station, to improve walkability and access to the area surrounding it.
- NJ DOT Transit Village Program ($16,000) – In 2022, the Borough received funding for the installation of bike racks around the Metuchen NJ Transit Train Station and along high traffic roadways, to help promote cycling within the community.
- NJ DOT Safe Streets to Transit Program ($575,000 award) – In 2022, the Borough received funding for improvements to the Pearl and New Street intersection, including the installation of new solar-powered stop signs, flashing beacons, ADA-compliant curbing, sidewalks, and crosswalks, to help improve pedestrian safety.
By leveraging its existing planning efforts, Millennium has been able to help the Borough see through its vision for improving pedestrian access and safety within throughout the community. Our work with the Borough of Metuchen is just one of many examples of how Millennium seeks to take our clients vision and transform it into a reality through the use of alternative grant funding. We look forward to continuing to build upon the success we have had to date helping to make to make the Borough of Metuchen a more walkable and bikeable community in the months and years ahead.