GMTMA News: January 2013

16 Jan

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New Amazon Warehouse Provides Transportation Challenges, Opportunities

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(AP Photo/Scott Sady)

With the news that Amazon.com is going to begin operating a new 1 million square foot warehouse at Turnpike Exit 7A in Robbinsville early next year, the transportation challenges posed by getting over 1,000 new employees to their jobs is at the forefront of the project’s planning process. GMTMA is poised to play an integral role in this process. As we noted in our last newsletter, GMTMA is heading the Mercer County team that was selected to participate in the Community Transportation Association of America’s Job Access Mobility program. The group’s efforts are centered on job access solutions in the Route 130/NJ Turnpike Exit 7A employment area. Other team members include the Mid-Jersey Chamber of Commerce, Robbinsville Township, RISE of Hightstown, Middlesex County Community College, and Mercer County. The group is actively exploring ways to put new transportation options in place to access the warehouse.

FUN FACTS: The new warehouse is estimated to create over 1,000 full-time jobs and generate more than $22 million in tax revenue for Robbinsville and Mercer County. New Jersey is the third-largest warehouse distributor in the country, with about 850 million square feet of warehouse space linked to about 10 percent of the state’s jobs.


Fiscal Cliff Deal Includes Transit Benefit Increase

Transit commuters got a new year’s gift on January 1st. They will now be able to claim as much in tax benefits as car commuters do in 2013. The legislation that averted the so-called fiscal cliff included a provision that will once again re-establish parity between the parking and transit benefits at $240/month. Unfortunately, it’s still only temporary, as this new level expires again at the end of 2013 unless Congress extends it once more. But at least for the time being, transit and parking benefits are equal, and people have one less financial incentive to drive alone to work. To learn more about getting a commuter tax benefit, contact GMTMA today.

FUN FACTS: On December 31, 2011, legislation equalizing transit benefits expired. So for 2012, transit riders received a $125 monthly benefit, although parking remained at $240 – a thorn in the side for politicians from transit-dependent states. Last March, New York Senator Charles Schumer authored legislation to re-equalize the benefit, but it wasn’t acted on until the fiscal cliff negotiations. Currently, about 700,000 people in the tri-state region take advantage of the benefit.


Steer Clear of Traffic with GMTMA

If you’re heading out onto the road, or already on the road, did you know that GMTMA can help you avoid traffic hot spots and/or figure out why you’re stuck in a traffic jam? Our website features traffic alerts and maps for both Mercer and Ocean counties. And we’ve just added a new feature – QR codes. All you have to do is use your mobile device to scan the image, and it will automatically direct your device to a mobile traffic alert page. Check it out today (click here for Mercer County, click here for Ocean County), and stay out of traffic!

FUN FACTS: QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional bar code) first designed for the automotive industry in Japan in 1994 to track vehicles during manufacture.


My Bus Now? Your Bus Now! 

Riding the bus in New Jersey just got a whole lot easier. Thanks to MyBus Now, new technology rolled out by NJ Transit a few weeks ago, bus riders can check their phones and see, in real time, exactly when the next bus will arrive. For bus stops where there are long gaps between each bus, this technology could make all the difference. The service is available right now on a test basis for riders using 16 bus routes in all of Mercer County and parts of Somerset and Middlesex counties, but the program is expected to be expanded to the entire state by early spring in all of the state’s more than 19,000 bus stops. The 16 bus routes currently served by the program are:

  • No. 600 Trenton-Plainsboro (U.S. 1 Corridor)
  • No. 601 The College of New Jersey-Trenton-Hamilton Marketplace
  • No. 602 Pennington-Trenton
  • No. 603 Mercer Mall-Hamilton Square-Yardville-Hamilton Marketplace
  • No. 604 East Trenton-Trenton Transit Center
  • No. 605 Montgomery Township-Princeton-Quaker Bridge Mall
  • No. 606 Princeton-Mercerville-Hamilton Marketplace
  • No. 607 Ewing-Trenton-Independence Plaza
  • No. 608 Hamilton-West Trenton
  • No. 609 Ewing-Quaker Bridge Mall
  • No. 610 Trenton-Princeton Seasonal Service
  • No. 611 Trenton-River View Plaza Circulator
  • No. 612 Lawrence-West Windsor
  • No. 613 Mercer Mall-Hamilton Square-Yardville-Hamilton Marketplace
  • No. 619 Ewing-Quaker Bridge Mall-Mercer County College
  • No. 655 Princeton-Plainsboro

Riders can type in the bus stop number — listed on a sign at the bus stop, or found online here — or their bus route number and location. For more information, click here.

FUN FACTS: Using GPS and some of its own technology on board, the bus transmits back to a central system that does calculations for how long it should take a bus to get to a particular stop. Riders will see all of the buses that are within 30 minutes of that stop. New buses already are equipped for the technology, and NJ Transit is retrofitting its older buses. The agency has more than 2,000 buses in its fleet, operating on more than 200 routes.


Kids, Join the Trenton Thunder Pedestrian Parade!

As part of GMTMA’s Safe Routes to School program, GMTMA has partnered with the Trenton Thunder to offer a free ticket to a Thunder baseball game and a pre-game Pedestrian Parade on the ball field to any kids who have recently participated in one of our in-school workshops or safety events. The Pedestrian Parade is part of St. Lawrence Rehab Hospital’s Safety Day at the ballpark, and kids who choose to participate will meet outside the stadium to be led onto the field and march around the bases. The game will be on Sunday June 23, at 1:05 pm. Interested in learning more or participating? Contact us at rhersh@gmtma.org or 609-452-1491.

FUN FACTS: Within the span of one generation, the percentage of children walking or bicycling to school has dropped precipitously, from approximately 50% in 1969 to just 13% in 2009. In 2009, American families drove 30 billion miles and made 6.5 billion vehicle trips to take their children to and from schools, representing 10-14 percent of traffic on the road during the morning commute. A California study showed that schools that received infrastructure improvements through the Safe Routes to School program yielded walking and bicycling increases in the range of 20 to 200 percent.

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