LONG BRANCH — Some seemingly minor changes can make a big difference for a town.

Projects continue to progress at and around NJ Transit's rail station in Long Branch, with the goal of cementing the area as a so-called transit village, or at least as a vibrant and attractive pedestrian-friendly neighborhood.

"Recent improvements you see around the station are only the beginning," Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, said during a press conference at the train station along 3rd Avenue.

Improvements made last summer include resurfacing of the parking lot, an upgrade to the pedestrian tunnel, and repainting of the station and platform.

"And this spring we were awarded additional state funding to restore and beautify 3rd Avenue through a streetscape project," said Mayor John Pallone. "That will include resurfacing the roadway, new curbs, sidewalks, decorative lighting fixtures and some beautiful landscaping."

DOT has provided $725,000 in grant funding for improvement projects located between Morris Avenue and Lowden Avenue, a spokesperson said.

"Long Branch has a vision for its community, and a good part of it centers around this train station — a vision that serves the multi-modal needs of its residents," Gutierrez-Scaccetti said.

Future plans call for an "intermodal" station that will serve as a hub for users of all types of rides — train, bus, trolley, or ride-sharing vehicles, for example. Pallone said the station will eventually feature charging stations for electric vehicles, and a pedestrian bridge will help connect business areas that are separated by the train station.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com

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