Sustainable Jersey representatives yesterday awarded Montclair a $20,000 Sustainable Jersey Small Grant at a ceremony held in Camden city hall. The township is one of just four state municipalities to receive the highest level of Small Grant awards.
The grant will provide funding to construct a “Bike Depot” at the township's Bay Street train station. The depot will be an enclosed, weatherproof, and secure access and storage area for commuters who ride their bicycles to the station.
“Montclair has seen a growing number of commuters who prefer bicycling to their commuting stations,” said Montclair Sustainability Coordinator Gray Russell. “They find it to be not only a more convenient transportation option, but also a much more healthful one. The depot will now allow them to also see cycling as a consistent and reliable option as well.”
The township wants to expand access to its six train stations by encouraging a variety of alternative transportation options within the town – which will also be accessible to surrounding towns. The bike depot will be an integral part of these improvements.
“As Montclair is becoming a more sustainable community, we’re improving the quality of life for our residents and ensuring that our environmental, economic and social objectives are balanced,” said Mayor Robert Jackson. “This project will achieve those goals by protecting clean air and reducing emissions, conserving tax dollars, and encouraging our health and wellness.”
The grant project is being coordinated with assistance from the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, a statewide bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization, and The Pinnacle Companies, who are also helping sponsor the total funding required for construction. The Township will be working with both of these partners to create the Bike Depot.
“We look forward to working with those partners, along with Bike&Walk Montclair, to further Montclair's alternative transportation goals,” said Russell.
The Sustainable Jersey Small Grants Program, funded by the PSEG Foundation, is providing $200,000 in grants to local governments for sustainability projects. Since 2009, Sustainable Jersey has distributed approximately $1,375,000 in grants to New Jersey municipalities to help towns make their communities more livable, environmentally friendly, and prosperous.
The other winners of the grants have projects that provide sustainable solutions to everyday challenges. Curbside organic waste recycling, sustainability ordinances, hawk habitat restoration, a water conservation tax credit, rain gardens, and more have been added to the list of initiatives that the Sustainable Jersey Small Grants program is funding.
“PSEG is committed to being a steward of the environment and making meaningful contributions to communities we serve,” said Ellen Lambert, president of the PSEG Foundation and Director of Corporate Responsibility. “We are proud to support this program and to fund projects that will make life better in neighborhoods throughout New Jersey.”
Currently, 72 percent of NJ's municipalities participate (406 towns across all 21 counties) and have registered to become Sustainable Jersey-certified; Montclair achieved recertification in 2013.
“The impact that these projects will make is incredible,” said Pam Mount, Chair of the Sustainable Jersey Board of Trustees. “Aiding towns and Green Teams to achieve their sustainability goals by funding green initiatives will have a ripple effect that will benefit us all.”