In October 2011 Rutgers University established theCommunity-University Research Grants for New Brunswick, designed to encourage the development of new initiatives to enhance the university’s ties with New Brunswick. The grants range from $2,500 to $25,000 and provide funds to build new collaborations for research focused on the areas of nutrition and food security; youth development and education; community planning; and public health and safety.
The Bloustein School’s Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, under the direction of professor Robert Noland, is the recipient of a $20,000 grant for the City of New Brunswick Sustainable Safe Streets Initiative.
Following the adoption of the city’s Master Plan in 2004, New Brunswickofficials analyzed the Livingston Avenue corridor in 2007 to develop potential improvements in order to help maintain adequate traffic flow, improve bike safety, and to make crossings safer. The New Brunswick Sustainable Safe Streets Initiative seeks to further improve safety and reduce injuries and fatalities on Livingston Avenue, which provides a gateway into downtown New Brunswick and the Rutgers community.
“Livingston Avenue has long served the City as one of its major thoroughfares, but its design has primarily focused on the movement of cars. It’s time to explore whether Livingston Avenue can be better designed and operated to enable safe access for all users including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and public transportation,” New Brunswick Mayor James Cahill said.
“Like many streets throughout the state, the roadway was over-designed with too many travel lanes and has become unsafe for other modes of transportation—specifically, bicyclists and pedestrians,” said Noland. “The project will study the feasibility of a reduction in travel lanes on Livingston Avenue in order to accommodate all road users safely and efficiently on the roadway—thus making Livingston a complete street.”
The VTC team will be working with Glenn Patterson, Director of Planning, Community and Economic Development for the City of New Brunswick. Researchers will ultimately provide a report to the City of New Brunswick that contains a blueprint for the redesign of Livingston Avenue to become more pedestrian-, bicycle-, and transit-friendly.
“We are excited by the opportunity to work once again with Middlesex County, which has jurisdiction over the roadway, and the University’s Voorhees Transportation Center to determine how we might better serve the residents of New Brunswick and the surrounding communities,” Mayor Cahill added.
“Serving our residents and working to ensure their safety is our top priority,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano. “I am hopeful that this joint project can lead to a successful plan that will improve the way commuters, diners, students and those conducting business downtown move in and around the City whether they ride, drive, walk or bike here.”
The Bloustein School’s John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development also received a grant to develop the Partnership for New Brunswick Job Search Solutions with the New Brunswick Public Schools Adult Learning Center.