Trenton, NJ wants to reconfigure part of Route 29

TRENTON — City officials are trying to rally support for a plan to reconfigure Route 29 in a section of the city’s downtown.

According to Mayor Reed Gusciora, the area between the Route 29 tunnel and the Statehouse, which is currently a multi-lane highway in both directions, intersects the city’s Delaware Riverfront.

He said the Biden administration’s Reconnecting Communities program could provide federal funding “to move the freeway inland so Trenton can effectively reclaim its waterfront.”

He said what the city wants to do with Route 29 is “change it to a boulevard past the Statehouse and behind the Hughes Justice complex and loop it back to where the tunnel is.”

Create an entertainment district

He said it would create “a new strip of land where you could do mixed-use housing, bring in commercial activity and really create an entertainment district that would draw visitors and bring economic opportunity to Trenton.”

“As long as there is a national highway that cuts off Trenton’s access to its waterfront, we cannot use this strip of land for our economic revitalization.”

He said when Route 29 was built in the 1960s right next to the Delaware River, it was a case of “poor urban planning because it cut off the community from a beautiful section of waterfront land.” .

The Statehouse in Trenton on Oct. 8, 2019. (Michael Symons/Townsquare Media NJ)

The Statehouse in Trenton on Oct. 8, 2019. (Michael Symons/Townsquare Media NJ)

It could be awesome

He pointed out that in cities like Baltimore and Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the waterfront has been reclaimed, it has spurred economic development.

Gusciora said closer to home that what happened in New Hope and Lambertville is a good example of how waterfront development can revitalize an area and generate economic activity.

“The same can happen in the capital, and especially as we are about to celebrate America’s 250th birthday (anniversary in 2026), this could be part of the economy tourism we hope to generate.”

What happens next?

He said Trenton is working to get support from the governor’s office, state treasurer and Department of Transportation so it can apply for federal funding.

“It would be hundreds of millions of dollars, but we think it’s worth it to help revitalize Trenton,” he said.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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