Jersey City infrastructure director receives statewide recognition for Vision Zero efforts


Jersey City Department of Infrastructure Director Barkha Patel received statewide recognition for her Vision Zero efforts, which seeks to eliminate all traffic deaths in the next decade or so.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Patel was honored with the “Distinguished Emerging Planner Award” at the Planning Excellence Awards hosted by the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA).

As director, she has led the city in strategically studying roadways to identify innovative traffic-calming approaches, advance access, and improve opportunities for residents. As a result of these efforts, there were zero traffic fatalities on Jersey City roadways in 2022.

“Social equity and its integration into planning – especially transportation planning – is among her most valued planning principles,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.

“I am incredibly thankful for my entire team, all 3,000 city employees, who work hard every day for our 300,000 residents. Barkha Patel has been a standout employee from the start, and I’m proud to be able to honor her today for her critical contributions.”

After Jersey City became the first in the state to sign on to Vision Zero in 2017, Patel helped form the Jersey City Vision Zero Task Force.

From improving and expanding public outdoor space and park accessibility, to establishing safer mobility with nearly 20 miles of protected bike lanes now installed in every neighborhood and creating more connectivity citywide.

“I feel very lucky to work in a city like ours where our efforts today will help shape the community’s future. It is a huge privilege to help serve my community alongside great leadership both within the administration and throughout the community,” added Patel.

“Beyond infrastructure and safety, our work emphasizes our city’s unique diversity, innovation, and justice while also focusing on bringing joy and dignity to communities throughout Jersey City.”

Furthermore, she successfully managed the launch of Via JC in 2019, Jersey City’s first on-demand microtransit service.

To date, Via JC continues to exceed goals in closing transit gaps, while providing affordable and reliable mass transit options for all Jersey City residents.

“Successfully implementing innovative solutions to urban planning problems is her specialty,” noted Jersey City Planning Division Director Tanya Marione.

“The best example was when City residents that live in areas without access to traditional transit systems were in need, she went completely outside of the box.”

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