DESCRIPTION: The New Jersey Transit Villages Act
TO: Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee
Thank you, Chairman Johnson and the Committee, for hearing A2926. New Jersey LCV strongly supports the “New Jersey Transit Villages Act,” and as a statewide environmental organization, we believe sustainable development practices such as transit oriented development, low impact development and sustainable transit use are essential to the economic and environmental wellbeing and future of our state. It is one of our core principles to fight sprawl and advocate smart growth practices.
As we continue to develop horizontally, through sprawl and low-density development, out state’s final landscape is being decided for us. Urbanized land is already the dominant land use type – covering more than 30% of the state – and NJ is on track to reach build-out by the middle of this century, or sooner. With more development come more roads, and busier roads, further fragmenting the habitats we have left and making it increasingly difficult for ecosystems to function and thrive, imperils and stresses clean water sources, reduces open space access and abundance, and serves as a disincentive and potentially stymieing our productive economy of the future by bottlenecking efficiency.
With smart growth practices comes density, and density is empirically observed to catalyze and instill innovation and economic growth, and urban centers do so more efficiently per capita.
While we support this legislation, we recommend the addition of a section that ensures adaption-based planning. We recommend that all future development be sited, planned, and developed with considerations made to updated flood zone mapping, future rain fall projection forecasting to identify green and grey stormwater system needs, vulnerability and hazards assessments that identify risks associated with multisectoral systems analyses and prioritize precautionary adaptation-based planning.
Not only do we want smart growth, we want our communities to be resilient to future anticipated and unanticipated impacts, and maintain function while experiencing a disruption.
In addition, we recommend a component that addresses equity, and that those who are most vulnerable in our society are provided access to opportunities through affordable housing, healthcare and employment through inclusive siting and funding policies.
Lastly, we need to ensure that affordable, is actually, indeed affordable for low-moderate income communities.
New Jersey LCV will also be testifying at the final EMP hearing on sustainable and resilient infrastructure.