TRENTON, N.J. (PBN) Mayor W. Reed Gusciora applauded planners and advocates for submission of the Route 29 Boulevard project grant application. The project would overhaul Trenton’s waterfront to ensure residential access and more equitable use of land and resources.

“Route 29 was built in the ‘50s and ‘60s despite the opposition of Trenton residents. The road, a convenience for those passing through the Capital City, was constructed by demolishing a thriving minority neighborhood and destroying a riverfront park,” said Mayor Gusciora. “We’re hopeful that the Biden Administration will support the City and its partners to reconstruct residential trust and equity on the waterfront. We want to make this shovel-worthy project shovel-ready.”

The City of Trenton’s application was submitted in partnership with Mercer County and the NJ Department of Transportation (NJDOT) to the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) as part of the Reconnecting Communities program. The program was authorized by the bipartisan infrastructure law to address community inequities related to transportation. As it currently exists, Route 29 separates the greater Trenton community from the Delaware River waterfront.

“Community members have participated in planning processes for several decades, dating back to the 1980s, and repeatedly expressed support for the Boulevard realignment, but Trenton needs a major infusion of funding for planning, design, and most importantly, construction. I’m grateful that the City has prioritized this project; my fellow Glen Afton residents and I are thrilled to see the Boulevard extended past Sullivan Way. We urge quick action if the funds are secured,” said Patricia Nima Mohammed, Trenton resident and member of the City’s Planning Board.

The preferred alternative from a 2009 feasibility study transformed Route 29 into a boulevard by bringing the highway inland and at grade, lowering the speed limit, installing traffic signals, providing well-marked crosswalks, and connecting side streets. This funding application will allow those plans to be updated, provide opportunities for more resident engagement, and provide for preparation of a draft and final concept development.

“I live by the waterfront in Cooper Crossings; so, I’m really looking forward to this work getting started. The people of Trenton will finally be utilizing one of the city’s greatest assets, the waterfront. The area will be more walkable and, hopefully, this will improve property values in the area as well. I’m grateful that Mercer County partnered with the City of Trenton and applied for the federal funding,” said Dr. Wanda Swigett, another member of the Trenton Planning Board.

More than 100 Trenton residents signed a letter of support for the application, organized by the City’s planning department. Previously, dozens of civic leaders, advocates, and residents had signed a letter to Governor Phil Murphy in June urging the State to prioritize the Route 29 Boulevard project and to submit the application for federal funding.

“The Reconnecting Communities funding is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to advance racial equity and environmental justice, promote economic redevelopment opportunities, improve safety and traffic calming, and reinvent Trenton streets and downtown public spaces to promote better health and quality of life,” said Director C. Andre Daniels of the City’s Housing and Economic Development Department.

Thomas Peterson is the Editor in Chief and founder of Peterson’s Breaking News of Trenton. Thomas founded PBT in 2012.