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Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What is a State Scenic Byway?
A. Scenic Byways are public driving routes that have been designated for their special scenic, historic, archaeological, recreational, cultural or natural intrinsic qualities. Each byway includes the specific roadways chosen to connect the special quality and tell a story unique to the area as well as the adjacent landscape or roadway corridor. Together, the roadway and the surrounding corridor make up the byway and evoke a sense of place that defines the character of the communities. Each byway represents the many elements and diversity of the state with a unifying theme that tells a story about New Jersey’s heritage, recreational opportunities, nature and beauty.

Q. Are there also National Scenic Byways?
A.

Yes, the National Scenic Byways Program was established under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) in 1991 and is explained in detail in the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Docket Number 95-15 Federal Register Interim Policy May 1995 on the National Scenic Byways Program (pdf 23k).

This document describes the two types of nationally designated byways. National Scenic Byways are byways that significantly meet at least one of the six scenic byway intrinsic qualities. The characteristics associated with the intrinsic qualities are those that are distinct and most representative of the region. The significance of these features contribute to the distinctive characteristics of the corridor's intrinsic quality and are recognized throughout the region.

All American Roads are byways that meet the criteria for at least two of the intrinsic qualities. The road or highway must also be considered a destination unto itself. To be recognized as such, it must provide an exceptional traveling experience that is so recognized by travelers that they would make a drive along the highway a primary reason for their trip. The characteristics associated with the intrinsic qualities are those which best represent the nation and which may contain one-of-a-kind features that do not exist elsewhere. The significance of the features contributing to the distinctive characteristics of the corridor's intrinsic quality are recognized nationally.

Currently there are 43 designated All American Roads and 103 designated National Scenic Byways in 46 states. The last solicitation for designation occurred in 2009. At this time there are no plans for another solicitation.

Q. Does New Jersey have any National Scenic Byways?
A.

Yes, the Delaware River Scenic Byway and the Millstone Valley Scenic Byway were both designated as National Scenic Byways in 2009.

Q. How does New Jersey designate a State Scenic Byway?
A.

New Jersey has a two-step process for designating scenic byways. A sponsor must first apply by filling out the application found in Appendix A of the New Jersey Scenic Byways Program Guidebook (pdf 8.9m). If approved, the route will become a New Jersey State Scenic Byway. The sponsor has five years to complete the second step, to prepare a Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan (CMP).

Q. Who may sponsor a scenic byway?
A. Local, state, or federal government agencies or a member of the private sector may designate a scenic byway.

Q. What must a sponsor do?
A. The sponsor is responsible for:
  • preparing a nomination and obtaining approval from the authorities that have jurisdiction over the proposed scenic byway: the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), counties, cities and municipalities;
  • presenting the nomination to the State Scenic Byways Advisory Committee;
  • establishing and maintaining a Scenic Corridor Committee;
  • preparing a Scenic Byways CMP;
  • coordinating the development and implementation of the Scenic Byways CMP;
The sponsor does not need to have legal ownership or jurisdiction over the byway but the agencies that do must participate in the preparation of the Scenic Byways CMP.

Q. Who makes the decision?
A. New Jersey’s Transportation Commissioner makes the final decision assisted by members of the state’s multi-disciplinary Scenic Byways Advisory Committee.

Q. Why should communities get involved with this program?
A. Some communities designate a scenic byway to increase tourism and bolster their economic base. Others use it as a way to conserve the qualities of the byway corridor resources that reflect the community’s character.

Q. What are the benefits of the designation?
A. The benefits of designation are:
  • signs provided by NJDOT
  • recognition
  • increased tourism
  • technical assistance
  • planning for protection and managed growth
  • promotion and marketing
Q. What is the process for preparing a New Jersey Scenic Byways Application?
A. These are the steps:
  • A sponsor group is created.
  • The sponsor meets with the State Scenic Byways Coordinator to review general procedures.
  • The sponsor organizes a corridor committee.
  • The sponsor identifies the byway route.
  • The sponsor develops a byway theme.
  • The sponsor completes each section of the New Jersey Scenic Byways Nomination form package that includes general information, maps, narrative, jurisdiction and approval and visual interpretation.
  • The sponsor submits the nomination package to the State Scenic Byways Advisory Committee.
  • The Committee reviews the nomination package and makes their recommendation to the NJDOT Commissioner.
  • The Commissioner approves or disapproves the nomination.
Q. What happens when a nomination is approved?
A. When the nomination is approved, the byway is provisionally designated as a State Scenic Byway by the NJDOT Commissioner.

Q. What happens after approval?
A. After the provisional designation of a new scenic byway, a CMP must be prepared within five years. The CMP may be done by the sponsor or with the help of a consultant. The sponsor must solicit endorsement of the CMP from the agencies that regulate the corridor and submits the byway CMP to the State Scenic Byways Committee for review and approval. The NJDOT Commissioner either approves or disapproves the CMP. If approved, NJDOT will supply scenic byway marker signs and it becomes the responsibility of the roadway authority managing the byway to install, maintain and replace the byway marker signs.
 
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  Last Updated:  February 15, 2017