• Gina Rullo

$1M in grants for the town

To be used for infrastructure


On February 16, Murphy announced 11 Bikeway Grants totaling $5.9 million to help advance local Bikeway projects in nine counties. (Courtesy Photo)

HAMMONTON—Last week, Governor Phil Murphy announced more than $1 million in grants for the town of Hammonton.


“It feels awesome ... I mean, I know when we first started the bike path people were saying ... we had to expend the first portion to get to the next round even though it wasn’t going far. Now [cyclists and walkers] can get from maybe in the area of Bellevue Avenue all the way to the lake park and maybe to the garden community [area of Lakeview and Lakeshore Drive],” Mayor Stephen DiDonato said.


On February 16, Murphy announced 11 Bikeway Grants totaling $5.9 million to help advance local Bikeway projects in nine counties. It was announced that Hammonton will be receiving $745,000 for the Veterans Place Bicycle Path Connector Phase II grant.


“Investing in bikeways helps promote alternate forms of transportation and reduces our reliance on cars. Increased biking and walking are tangible steps we can take to achieve our climate change goals, while encouraging residents to live a healthy lifestyle,” Murphy said in a release.


DiDonato said this grant will widen the sidewalk along a portion of Veterans Way heading to Hammonton Lake Park. According to DiDonato the bike path will come out around 11th Street near Veterans Way, come up that road, “hit Egg Harbor, cross over Egg Harbor at the library, widen that sidewalk, widen the sidewalk at the library or create some kind of path, to Park Avenue and create a ramp into the lake park and then down onto” the county bike path into the Lakeview and Lakeshore Drive section of the town.


The goal, the mayor said, is to eventually connect to Boyer Avenue.


“You can use it as a walking path. It is not just a bike path,” DiDonato said.


Former Hammonton councilman Michael Torrissi Jr. (NJ-8) is now an assemblyman serving in Trenton.


“Any time you have some friends in different districts that are affiliated to Trenton it helps,” DiDonato said.


“As a native Hammontonian, I’m pleased to see the state make this welcome investment to promote transportation alternatives like walking and biking in our community. This town’s greenery and open spaces are some of its greatest assets and I’m pleased those of us in state government are doing our part to make sure they remain safe and accessible to pedestrians. These state grant funds will ease the burden on municipal taxpayers as we develop infrastructure that promotes greater safety and quality-of-life for the biking community,” Torrissi said in a written statement.


“The Murphy administration recognizes transportation infrastructure is more than just roads and bridges. Projects funded by the Bikeway Grant Program provide safe transportation alternatives that benefit cyclists and pedestrians and improve the quality-of-life in New Jersey,” NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said in a release.


Traditionally, the Bikeway Grant Program provides $1 million in grants annually to counties and municipalities in order to promote bikeways as an alternate mode of transportation that support the state’s efforts to add new miles of dedicated bikeways in New Jersey. This year, an additional $13.5 million was appropriated for Grants-in-Aid programs, specifically for the Transit Village Program, the Safe Streets to Transit Program, and for Bicycle & Pedestrian Facilities/Accommodations. Of the $13.5 million, $4.9 million was provided for the Bikeway Grant Program.


Each municipality and each county may submit one application. Projects are awarded on a competitive basis taking into consideration new bike miles created, safety, connectivity, service to public, Complete Streets Policy and an applicant’s past performance using other Local Aid funds.


On February 15, Murphy announced the town of Hammonton would also be receiving $265,000 for the 11th Street Sidewalk Improvement Project.


“There is some sidewalk needed. It is sporadic the sidewalk on 11th Street. We will see where it will have the most impact,” DiDonato said.


DiDonato said he wants to create the most “walkability.”


The goal is to eventually tie it all in, DiDonato said.


The grant was part of $8.6 million in Fiscal Year 2022 Safe Streets to Transit Program (SSTT) grants for 19 municipal projects in nine counties. This year’s grants represent the largest amount of funds provided in a single year for the Safe Streets to Transit Program.


“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. 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,” Murphy said in a release.


“The increased funding means a record number of communities are receiving Safe Streets to Transit grants this year to improve pedestrian safety throughout the state. These grants will allow 19 municipalities to improve sidewalks and provide safe and convenient crosswalks near bus and rail stations, promoting the use of public transit,” Gutierrez-Scaccetti said in a release.


The (SSTT program is one of several pedestrian safety initiatives funded through the State Transportation Trust Fund (TTF). The SSTT program provides funding to counties and municipalities to improve the overall safety and accessibility for mass transit riders walking to transit facilities. The program encourages transit users to walk to transit stations, and facilitates the implementation of projects and activities that will improve pedestrian conditions within a 1-mile radius of a transit facility or station.


In the case of the 11th Street grant, traditionally, there is $1 million available each year for Safe Streets to Transit Program grants. This year, two additional appropriations were funded for this program. One was for $1.8 million. In addition, $13.5 million was appropriated for Grants-in-Aid programs, specifically for the Transit Village Program, the Safe Streets to Transit Program, and for Bicycle & Pedestrian Facilities/ Accommodations. Of the $13.5 million, $5.8 million was provided for the Safe Streets to Transit Program.


Projects are awarded on a competitive basis taking into consideration proximity to a transit facility, safety, accessibility, project need and applicant’s past performance using other Local Aid funds.