The 1950’s is when it all went downhill. That was the year drivable suburbia was created and New Jersey happened to be the main target. New Jersey has become the intersection for all surrounding states – New Jersey has become the drive through state. This is due to “there [being] an over emphasis on planning for the automobile” and this issue must be fixed (Levy 187).
According to the article, “‘Walkable Urbanism’ Is the Key to New Jersey’s Future” Chris Leinberger believes that in order to fix the issue “New Jersey [must]…swing the pendulum back from this drivable suburban state toward a walkable urban future”(‘Walkable Urbanism’ New Jersey Future Staff). And in order to achieve this goal, Leingerger created a “New Jersey To Do List” that contains the following:
- “Identify the probable regionally significant and local-serving walkable urban places in the state; 90 percent of them will be transit-oriented development;
- Overlay zoning for these places; make it easy to do the right thing;
- Consider local sales tax increase for funding additional streetcar lines and more light rail like the Bergen/Hudson Light Rail Line;
- Encourage Business Improvement Districts for the strategy and management of these places, plus strategies for affordable housing and getting over the paranoia about school funding;
- Enlist citizen support: turn “NIMBY” into “YIMBY” – Yes In My Back Yard;
- Encourage the state’s congressional delegation to push for more transit, biking and walking in the federal transportation bill; and
- New Jersey Future should be more aggressive in fighting for the future.”
Although a lot is listed, the key to this is to start small. Not all points listed have to be taken care of in every single inch of New Jersey right away, but even one point attempted in towns and cities across New Jersey can make a big difference.
By first making places and spaces more walkable it allows locations in New Jersey to be geared around people and interaction, over the seclusion of an automobile. Also, by incorporating green space and tree-filled parkways it allows for more positive energy to flow among the town and the people.
After more walkable spaces and places are created, the implementation of bike routes should be next. Bikes are a very convenient mode of transportation and eliminates the use of a car which also lessens the emissions of pollution into earth’s atmosphere.
The next step is to incorporate other modes of transportation along with the bicycle and walkable sidewalks, allowing for the perfect place to either walk, bike, or take a direct mode of transportation. A light rail or street-car system is a great way to get around town.
If all three elements are incorporated, New Jersey will be on its way to being less suburbanized and more urbanized – allowing for more goals to be reached to better the state of New Jersey. Incorporating these little elements in small towns is a way to start, but then this movement must transfer to cities and then take over all of New Jersey in order re-plan suburbia as John Levy mentions in his book, Contemporary Urban Planning Edition No. 10.
Levy, John M. Contemporary Urban Planning. 10th ed. New York: Pearson Education, 2013. Print.