We're a group of residents in New Jersey's seven southernmost counties who advocate for investing in the region's traditional and historic downtowns towns, building walkable and bikeable communities, and strengthening the public transit assets that can be found throughout our area.
Here are a few things we'd like to see more of in the South Jersey region.
As those of us who grew up in the suburbs and had to be driven everywhere get out on our own, a lot of us are discovering that we don't want to have to use our cars just to get around our own neighborhoods. By fostering walkable and bikeablke towns, we can promote good physical health, reduced pollution from automobiles, more vibrant local economies that cater to a wide range of dedicated local consumers, and better a sense of community among neighbors. The benefits of going car-lite or car-free are immense, and fortunately, many of South Jersey's older towns have perfectly walkable streets and dense downtown corridors.
We're strong proponents in the revitalization and reinvestment in South Jersey's older towns. From Collingswood to Mount Holly, Woodbury to Glassboro, our region plays host to so many towns with good bones that are waiting to be rediscovered. These historic population centers with their walkable streets and wide variety of destinations are the perfect places to become the economic engines of a 21st century where millennials and baby boomers alike are showing a preference for towns you don't need a car to get around in and which offer rich cultural amenities absent in most sprawling suburban environments.
Instead of continuing to build sprawling suburban towns where shops, homes, schools, or restaurants are purposely separated far apart from one another - requiring the use of car to make even short trips - we'd like to see South Jersey towns embrace their historical, "mixed-use" roots where you can get to the dentist, the grocery, the office, and the bakery all in one trip to a vibrant downtown corridor.
While South Jersey has a few solid public transit options, such as the PATCO High Speed Line to and from Center City Philadelphia or the NJ Transit RiverLINE between Camden and Trenton, we would like to see improved public transit investment in the region in the form of, among other things, the proposed Glassboro-Camden light rail line and improvements in NJ Transit bus service.
We'd love to hear your thoughts! You can join the Facebook discussion group at facebook.com/groups/sjurbanists or follow us on Twitter at @sjurbanists. We also hold occasional meetups where we discuss these and other urbanist issues in person, the times and locations for which are posted in the group.