Trenton residents and visitors will characterize the City as “bikeable” and “walkable.” Trentonians will be able to safely walk, bike, access transit, and share the streets with motorized vehicles. A high-quality, safe, and clearly navigable trail system and in-street network will form the foundation for a comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian network. People and goods will efficiently move throughout the City and beyond its borders.
Trenton is a city that is endowed with significant locational advantages. It is conveniently located in the heart of the Northeast Corridor, only 60 miles from New York City and 35 miles from Philadelphia. Located on the Delaware River, and the NJ/PA border, Trenton is the logical urban center for Mercer and Bucks counties. It is highly accessible to the entire region, has abundant transportation infrastructure, and serves as the capital of New Jersey and the seat of Mercer County government.
The City’s overlapping highway, roadway, transit, bike and pedestrian systems create a “multi-modal” transportation network that allows residents, visitors, and those supporting business activity to move through the City. The following analysis breaks down that system into its component parts.
Highway capacity is capable of meeting current and future demands. However, there are circulation issues presented by incomplete or absent interchanges. In particular, North Trenton has a limited roadway network, few crossings of US Route 1, and no northbound US Route 1 access points between Perry Street and Mulberry Street, specifically at Olden Avenue. The current truck ban in the NJ Route 29 tunnel forces trucks through South Trenton, with undesirable results. Vehicles have difficulty moving between US Route 1 and NJ Route 129 due to an incomplete interchange. Northbound NJ Route 129 to southbound US Route 1, and northbound US Route 1 to southbound NJ Route 129, do not have direct connections. There are also missing connections between NJ Route 29 and US Route 1. There is no direct connection between NJ Route 29 and northbound US Route 1. Traffic from northbound US Route 1 must pass through residential blocks before reaching the signal at NJ Route 29.
Along the waterfront, NJ Route 29 is a limited access highway, which acts as a barrier between downtown and the river. The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) has undertaken a feasibility analysis to convert NJ Route 29 to an Urban Boulevard, with a network of streets supporting a redeveloped center, and access to a park and trail system along the waterfront. The City of Trenton strongly supports this plan.
Trenton's Transit Center is an exceptional amenity, offering AMTRAK, NJ TRANSIT rail, River Line light rail, and SEPTA rail service. It is the third busiest station in the state of New Jersey, and the 26th busiest Amtrak station (13th busiest on the Northeast corridor). Although a number of NJ TRANSIT bus routes converge on the Transit Center, there is no designated central bus station within proximity of the Transit Center and it may not be clear to visitors how local bus service interfaces with the Transit Center. Equally important, the connection between the Station and the Downtown is wanting: though a number of NJ TRANSIT buses connect the Transit Center to State Street, there is no primary route to make this connection and the routes are not abundantly clear. Additionally, the Transit Center feels disconnected from downtown due to the barrier created by US Route 1. An extension of the River Line to the Capitol Complex has been suggested to remedy this issue, and Trentonians recognize the importance of expanding a high-quality transit service further west to the Trenton-Mercer Airport (TTN).
Trenton has the opportunity to prepare for, and participate in, an express bus system serving the US Route 1 Corridor. The Route 1 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Alternatives Analysis (2006) recommends that Trenton will provide feeder routes to the BRT, but the southern terminus is planned to be north of the City. In 2012, DVRPC, working with Mercer County, developed the Future Bus Plan – Mercer County. This plan recommends near-term improvements to the bus network serving Trenton, and includes a recommendation for a trunk and feeder routes serving downtown Trenton. The Trenton Transit Center, which is adjacent to US Route 1, has the potential to integrate bus rapid transit into the City. Trenton should plan to support BRT service, and can prepare land for redevelopment using Transit-Oriented-Development principles.
The City of Trenton is already well-served by buses. However, having more reliable routes, more frequent service, and more convenient and safe stop locations could increase Transit use. Trentonians also have difficulty understanding the bus system, in part because it is very complex and transit routes are not clearly published, except online and at the Transit Center. Transfers are required to reach many destinations, and although a number of routes overlap in the downtown, there is no central location for these transfers to occur that could serve as a nucleus for regional transit.
Pedestrian and Bike Paths
Trenton has a complete sidewalk network throughout the City. There are existing bike lanes in the downtown on New Warren Street, Market Street, Lafayette Street, and Broad Street. Trenton has trails along the Delaware and Raritan (D&R) Canal, which are part of the Delaware River Heritage Trail, with connections to Lambertville to the northwest, and Bordentown to the southeast. The D&R Canal also extends through North Trenton to reach New Brunswick; this section features a trail along US Route 1 and is part of the East Coast Greenway. There are opportunities to design improved connections to these existing trails, while adding new segments of trail along the Assunpink Creek and Delaware River Waterfronts. On-road bicycle and pedestrian sidewalk improvements can further enhance the experience and recreation opportunities. Land redevelopment should consider bicycle and pedestrian mobility as part of the development plan.