Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) announced today that Edison and Metuchen will receive a combined $1.25 million in Fiscal Year 2022 Safe Streets to Transit Program (SSTT) grants to bolster pedestrian safety through improvement projects.
The SSTT program provides funding to counties and municipalities to better the overall safety and accessibility for mass transit riders walking to transit facilities. The program encourages mass transit users to walk to transit stations and facilitates the implementation of projects and activities that will improve pedestrian conditions within a mile radius of a transit station.
Edison received a $675,000 grant for a pedestrian improvement project at Edison Station. Metuchen received a $575,000 grant for Pearl Street and New Street safety improvements.
Senator Patrick J. Diegnan Jr., Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak, and Assemblyman Sterley Stanley, who represent New Jersey’s 18th Legislative District, which includes Edison and Metuchen, have made pedestrian and cyclist safety a top priority.
The legislators are the sponsors of a safe passing bill Murphy signed into law five months ago. The legislation gives New Jersey among the most comprehensive safe passing laws in the nation to protect pedestrians and cyclists on the state’s roadways.
“Metuchen and Edison are prime examples of last-mile communities, places where limited sidewalk and bike lanes prevent many commuters from safely accessing public transit,” Diegnan, Karabinchak and Stanley said in a joint statement.
“These funds will help provide our residents, commuters, and business patrons with safe and easy access to Edison and Metuchen NJ TRANSIT stations, especially as ridership in our communities continues to grow.”
Prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the Edison and Metuchen stations were among the busiest on the Northeast Corridor line. Metuchen averaged 3,528 weekday boardings, while Edison averaged 2,773 weekday boardings, according to NJ TRANSIT.
According to New Jersey State Police traffic fatality statistics, 2021 was the state’s deadliest year for pedestrians in more than three decades with 222 pedestrians killed, surpassing 217 such deaths in 1989.
Sonia Szczesna, Director of Active Transportation, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, and a member of Vision Zero New Jersey Alliance, praised the Murphy administration and NJDOT for increasing SSTT grant program funding.
“Coming on the heels of a historically deadly year for people walking in New Jersey, this increase in pedestrian safety funding is critically needed,” Szczesna said. “Ensuring safe access to public transit is key to creating a New Jersey that is equitable, just, and sustainable. We encourage the state to continue to look at opportunities like these to fund much-needed active transportation projects.”
The SSTT program is one of several pedestrian safety initiatives funded through the State Transportation Trust Fund.
In awarding SSTT program grants, multiple factors are considered including proximity to a transit facility, safety, accessibility, and project need.
The SSTT program enables local governments to complete necessary projects on roads under their jurisdiction without burdening local taxpayers.
“Providing safe transportation alternatives for everyone in our state, particularly those who rely on mass transit, is part of my commitment to make New Jersey more fair and equitable,” Murphy said.
“By significantly increasing the amount of money available to the Safe Streets to Transit Program, we are making sure people walking to transit facilities can do so safely.”