Fanwood receives APA grant for enhanced station-area planning

FANWOOD, NJ — Fanwood has announced that it has been chosen for a Community Planning Assistance Program by the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association and New Jersey Transportation Planning Authority to receive volunteer community planning assistance.

Fanwood was formally chosen for the grant in November 2020. The volunteer planning team will examine the existing conditions in the area and also solicit initial input from residents, businesses and government officials with the goal of developing a transit hub plan that leverages Fanwood’s large array of resources to further foster a vibrant, community-oriented, pedestrian-friendly town center.

The volunteer planners will suggest improvements for the station area, such as streetscape improvements and beautification measures, increased amenities, improved signage, and enhanced circulation and pedestrian flow. The planning team will seek to improve connectivity to community facilities and attractions such as downtown restaurants, the Patricia M. Kuran Cultural Arts Center and the Fanwood Library and strengthen the links between downtown and adjoining neighborhoods.

March brings the next phase in this plan: publication of a new online survey for the public to share in greater detail their hopes for the future of Fanwood’s station area. Fanwood is asking all residents, business owners and community leaders to take the 10-minute survey, which can be found on Fanwood’s website at https://live.metroquestsurvey.com/?u=yg7j7o#!/?p=web&pm=dynamic&s=1&popup=WTD.

“This transit grant is just the latest accomplishment for Fanwood’s downtown,” said Mayor Colleen Mahr. “We are so grateful and humbled to be chosen by New Jersey’s American Planning Association for this volunteer assistance. It comes at a perfect time, when we have experienced a great transformation of our downtown and can now further improve the area, the train station itself, and better link it all to the adjoining neighborhoods and facilities.”

APA-NJ CPAP volunteer planning teams are composed of nationally recognized experts who volunteer their time to meet with residents, government officials and other key stakeholders to offer planning assistance to communities to develop policies that support good planning. Last year, APA-NJ CPAP Transit Hub Planning teams completed transit hub plans for the city of Passaic, the borough of Dunellen and the town of Bloomfield, and helped to inform the development of a “Guidebook for Transit Hub Planning,” a new how-to resource for communities developed by the Together North Jersey regional planning collaborative.

“We are asking all Fanwoodians to please follow our social media, email newsletter and website for information,” she said. “There, you will find a link to a survey that asks your thoughts on Fanwood’s current train station area — what you like about it, what you don’t like and what you’d like to see in the future, including bike paths, walkways, public programming and more.”

The survey asks residents what their top priorities for Fanwood are and what they will look for in the post COVID-19 world, and even includes a map for respondents to pinpoint their ideas and suggestions.

“By participating, your voice will be heard. You will get a say in Fanwood’s future enhancements to the downtown area,” said Mahr. “With the help of the APA and our wonderful residents, we are excited to continue the work of growing Fanwood’s amazing downtown. So help us out! Go to fanwoodnj.org and give us your input.”

For more information on the American Planning Association–New Jersey Chapter’s Community Planning Assistance Program, contact Tom Schulze at 973-634-1697. For more information on the Together North Jersey “Guidebook for Transit Hub Planning,” contact Jeffrey Vernick at 973-639-8429.

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