February 10, 2011

FROM: Cranford Downtown Management Office
Kathleen Miller Prunty

Downtown Cranford Receives $500,000 Transit Village Grant

Cranford was awarded a $500,000 grant from the NJ Dept. of
Transportation (DOT) to continue pedestrian improvements around the NJ
Transit rail station, in the heart of the business district. The funding will allow the Township to continue upgrades that make the downtown and station area safer
and more attractive for commuters, shoppers and residents.

Only designated Transit Villages in New Jersey could apply for the DOT
funding. The Downtown Management Corporation (DMC) 2003 grant application
resulted designation and a $200,000 grant, which was used for a comprehensive
traffic, parking and pedestrian study.

Mayor Daniel Aschenbach said the study has been a valuable planning
tool. “We leveraged the first grant and improvements to demonstrate our ongoing
commitment to make this busy area of the downtown both safe and attractive,”
he added.

The Mayor added, “a few years ago, the DMC, Engineering and Police
Department worked together to obtain a grant for lighting, decorative fencing and
pedestrian crossings on Walnut Avenue. We look at this next project as Part Two
of creating well-defined pedestrian routes to the train station and through the

Downtown Director Kathleen Miller Prunty concurred. “These improvements will help to create a much needed pedestrian-friendly link between the south and north areas of the downtown, especially with the growth of new businesses and the Riverfront mixed-use project along South Avenue. We need to see the train station as a connector rather than barrier in our downtown.”

The $500,000 grant will be used for pedestrian walkways across North
Avenue to the station and landscaping the area.

The Transit Village initiative in 2003, subsequent grant applications and
improvements grew from the Downtown Vision Planning process done by the
DMC in 2000. Over the course of a year, Cranford residents were surveyed
about development, pedestrian and public space improvements, parking and
zoning for the downtown business district. That effort was funded by one of the
first Smart Growth grants.

The Mayor added, “Cranford has been successful in obtaining grants
because we continually look at making better use of underutilized or
contaminated sites in the downtown area.”

The Cranford Transit Village area extends ½ mile radius from the station.
Transit Villages must demonstrate a commitment to smart growth that
encourages revitalization and growth around transportation; planning to reduce
traffic congestion; emphasize pedestrian safety; and, support improved air
quality, sustainability and creating downtown neighborhoods where people shop,
live, gather and work.

“Public space improvements are an important component in Transit
Villages. Cranford received high marks for Eastman Plaza, the recently
renovated Post Office Plaza and the improvements at Walnut Avenue. Soon, we
will have an attractive and pedestrian-friendly Train Station Plaza in the hear of the downtown,” added Ms. Prunty.