Newark’s historic Paramount theater on Market Street was among several filming locations in the city that were used by last year’s critically acclaimed “Joker” movie.
By Joshua Burd
The city of Newark will seek a “transit village” designation from the state for a busy stretch of its downtown, seeking to unlock grant funding that will help shape redevelopment efforts.
Mayor Ras Baraka announced Tuesday that the municipal council has approved his proposal to petition the state for the designation, which would cover the half-mile around the intersection of Broad and Market streets. In doing so, he said the city is proposing to emphasize development principles that would reduce congestion, increase mass transit use and create a more diverse and pedestrian-friendly downtown.
Baraka also said the designation would help the city achieve its own public policy goals.
“A transit village designation will give the people of Newark greater control over development,” he said. “Market forces already drive development in Newark. Transit Village designation gives us a greater say in prioritizing mixed-use and mixed-income growth downtown.”
Baraka did not say when the city would apply for the designation. If approved, Newark would be among fewer than 35 recognized transit villages in the state, the earliest of which were Pleasantville, Morristown, Rutherford, South Amboy and South Orange.
More recent additions to the program include Park Ridge, Hackensack, Long Branch and Asbury Park. The benefits of a transit village designation include a commitment from the state to assist with redevelopment, eligibility for Department of Transportation grants and priority status for other state funding.
The program also supports technical planning assistance and coordination by the state’s Transit Village Task Force, which includes nearly a dozen state agencies and entities.
“Recognition as a transit village will unlock funding from the state for development that makes the area more transit-oriented,” said Allison Ladd, the city’s deputy mayor and director of economic and housing development. “That would mean placing mixed-use properties, pedestrians, bicyclists and more accessible and efficient public transportation options at the forefront of future development.”
Other components of the Transit Village initiative include a commitment to compact, mixed-use development, a strong residential component including affordable housing and jobs, restaurants, arts and entertainment, along with preservation of a rich architectural character within walking distance of a passenger transportation hub.