Mayor Jimmy Davis announced that the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority has approved an award of $450,000 to the City of Bayonne. The City will use the funding to develop plans for a pedestrian bridge over Route 440 at 34th Street in Bayonne. The goal of the planning would be to develop a preferred alternative for that pedestrian bridge, along with the environmental document needed to advance the project through the construction work phase. Since 2014, two pedestrians have been killed in vehicular accidents while they tried to cross Route 440 in Bayonne. At least two other pedestrians were killed in accidents on Route 440 in Bayonne in previous years. Mayor Davis said, “The City of Bayonne is deeply concerned with protecting the lives of our residents. The recent economic development along Route 440 has created the need for safe pedestrian crossings across the highway.” Mayor Davis continued, “We have chosen East 34th Street as the first place to study, because there is already a pedestrian overpass linking the Light Rail station with its parking lot. We would like to formulate plans to extend the pedestrian overpass to the eastern side of Route 440, which is located next to the South Cove Commons Crossing shopping center. Many shoppers cross the highway there, as do customers of the Frank Cinema. We want especially to provide a safe passage for children who walk to the movie theatre and the stores. By extending the pedestrian overpass, we would enable pedestrians to walk in great safety above the vehicular traffic, rather than through it.”
The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) is the federally authorized planning organization for the thirteen counties of northern Jersey. NJTPA conducts transportation planning and allocates federal transportation funding to address regional needs. Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise serves on the board of the NJTPA, and introduced the action for the planning grant.
According to City Planner Suzanne Mack, it would take an estimated two years to complete both the planning and construction of the proposed pedestrian bridge. She said the concept for the bridge is similar to the one built over Kennedy Boulevard in Jersey City to connect the eastern and western sides of the St. Peter’s University campus.
Mayor Davis said that the City has approximately $4 million available for the construction of the pedestrian bridge from federal funds allocated to Liberty Corridor projects through the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and the NJTPA. The Liberty Corridor is an area of seven northeastern New Jersey counties and one western New Jersey county. In this area, transportation systems, such as ports, highways, airports, rail lines, and research facilities, play a vital role in linking and nurturing manufacturing and commerce. When he represented Bayonne in the House of Representatives, Senator Robert Menendez secured the initial funding for the Liberty Corridor transportation projects.
Mayor Davis said that his administration will also pursue additional funding for more pedestrian bridges across Route 440 at other locations in Bayonne.