Economic and Quality of Life Impacts of Route 21 Freeway

Opened to traffic in December 2000, the "missing section" of the Route 21 Freeway in Clifton and Passaic (Hope Ave. to the Route 46 Interchange) was designed utilizing the "equivalent" to the Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) approach at that time. A great deal of planning and design work was done to enhance the quality and appearance of this roadway and to maximize positive impacts on and for the surrounding communities. CSS maximizes the integration of the roadway into the surrounding environment/community while providing for the road user's needs in a manner which is fiscally feasible. This research project evaluated over a five year period how effective the CSS approach was in the design of the Route 21 Freeway. The evaluation focused on economic and quality of life issues. The type of economic issues that were reviewed include impacts on neighborhoods, residential and commercial real estate values, the success of commercial enterprises in the area, and traffic and safety in the local area. The type of quality of life issues that were reviewed include: aesthetics and viewscape, traffic flow, noise impacts and other factors of concern to the local population. Public perception initially and over the five year period was measured by surveys taken regularly for the duration of the project. In addition, traffic counts were taken to determine changes from pre-construction to post-construction conditions and variations over the five years of the study. Other published data was utilized to measure changes in economic and quality of life impacts.