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September 2, 2021                                                                                    Volume 3, Issue 2

A Happy Retirement to James Lewis

SJTPO would like to wish a happy retirement to James Lewis, who retired at the end of July from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) after 44 years of service. Not only was Jim the Manager of the Bureau of Statewide Strategies in the Division of Statewide Planning, but he also served as a member of SJTPO’s Policy Board.

Since the start of his planning career in 1977, Jim noted he aimed to learn about all facets of life that impact planning and infrastructure and apply that learning in transportation planning. Jim said that infrastructure is not just concrete and steel. Infrastructure encompasses how people use it, pay for it, invent it, and think of it.

Jim became acquainted with the SJTPO region early in his career. Visits with a friend, who was a planner for the City of Bridgeton, helped him get a feel for the area, while working on an environmental document for the Route 147 Grassy Sound Bridge project helped to enlighten him on the challenges that South Jersey faces.

When asked about what he will miss most about working at NJDOT, Jim mentioned the challenges of how to improve transportation and communicate that to all audiences, both within the agency and to the public. He also said the people, his work family, that he had spent so many wonderful years with.

In terms of his plans for retirement, Jim would like to take the time to do more things he enjoys, including reading, gardening, visiting with family and friends, traveling, cheering on his sports teams, and volunteering.

SJTPO congratulates Jim on his retirement and wishes him many happy and healthy days ahead!

Reporting Safety Issues on a State Highway

The Public Problem Reporting is an online, interactive mapping tool for roadway users to report potholes, tall grass, and other maintenance problems on state highways. The tool went live in late October of 2020 and is the latest Transportation Asset Management System (TAMS) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT). View the Public Problem Reporting tool >>>
 
To report a problem via the interactive map, NJDOT asks users to type in the approximate location, including the route and cross street, when known, and a teardrop-shaped pointer will appear. After the approximate location is entered, users may drag the pointer and place it where the maintenance is required. If the problem is on a roadway maintained by NJDOT, the pointer will turn green. The user will then be asked to complete the accompanying form which gathers further information, including the type of problem the user would like to report. There are over 75 options to select from, such as “cracks in road, bridge, ramp, shldr;” “litter/garbage;” “street light out;” “tree limb hanging in traffic;” “wash out of road surface;” among others. Prior to submitting the form, users may request a response back by checking the “request response” box. After submittal, the problem will advance to Central Dispatch for review/conversation and ultimately to the Highway Operations Crew via the Mobile TAMS Application. View an example problem >>>
 
If the problem is on a roadway not maintained by NJDOT, such as a county or municipal roadway, the pointer will turn red. The tool provides the phone numbers to the appropriate County Pothole Hotlines, a link to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority website to report a pothole for the Garden State Parkway or New Jersey Turnpike as well as a link to the New Jersey Transit website to report a NJT complaint. 

Travel and Tourism in South Jersey

Travel and tourism play a crucial role in the economic and transportation landscape in South Jersey. Beaches and shorefront towns throughout the region offer quite the appeal to residents of neighboring states. These attractions, along with others, such as nature preserves, historic villages, boardwalks, and gambling and entertainment options, significantly increase the seasonal population of the region. According to collected data, South Jersey’s summer-time population of approximately 1.7 million nearly triples its year-round population of approximately 570,000. As the summer tourist season is coming to a close and winter-time activities are right around the corner, we thought it best to ask staff what they enjoy about living in South Jersey. View what staff had to say >>>

South Jersey Port Corporation Awarded $9.0 Million Grant

The South Jersey Port Corporation (SJPC) was awarded a $9.0 million United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant to begin the first phase of the redevelopment project to expand barge capacity and intermodal rail connectivity at the Port of Salem. 

The grant award will allow the SJPC to replace the crumbling 150-foot berth with a 400-foot-long structure; dredge the river at the berth to the approved river channel depth; pave the upland quay area, add lighting; improve perimeter security; and perform site preparation, improvements, and refurbish a multi-modal rail connection. These improvements were a few of the main recommendations included in the Port of Salem Corridor Freight Rail Intermodal Study funded by SJTPO, with the final report provided in May of 2018. 

In a letter to SJTPO, Andrew Saporito, Executive Director and CEO of the SJPC stated, “This is just the first step in what we envision to be a multiyear, phased development of the Port of Salem. This project will position it to play a critical role in supporting the State's burgeoning offshore wind industry as well as enabling the Port to receive varied types of additional cargo in the future.” 

SJTPO looks forward to providing residents and regional stakeholders with future updates on the developments of the Port of Salem.  

Child Passenger Safety Week

Child passenger safety week will take place later this month from Sunday, September 19, 2021 through Saturday, September 25, 2021. The campaign highlights the need to ensure that children are safely and properly secured in the appropriate child passenger restraint systems, including rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, and booster seats. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Child restraint systems are often used incorrectly. An estimated 46% of car seats and booster seats (59% of car seats and 20% of booster seats) are misused in a way that could reduce their effectiveness."1,2 The annual campaign serves as crucial reminder for parents and caregivers to educate themselves on child passenger restraint systems. View SJTPO's tips on how to keep children safe in vehicles >>>

At the close of Child Passenger Safety Week on Saturday, September 19, 2021 is National Seat Check Saturday. SJTPO wants to remind everyone that our Traffic Safety Specialists are available for virtual car seat checks. Additionally, car seat inspection sites open throughout South Jersey. Request a virtual car seat check or view the list of inspection sites >>> 
Meeting Reminders 
 
Technical Advisory Committee virtual meeting
  • September 13, 2021
Policy Board virtual meeting
  • September 27, 2021
Additional emails with information on how to join the virtual meetings will be sent as the meetings approach.  
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