New sidewalks along busy Atlantic County highway demonstrate commitment to Complete Streets Commissioner Simpson tours project that translates policy
(Trenton) - New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner James Simpson joined officials here in Atlantic County this morning to highlight the type of work that is converting New Jersey’s award-winning Complete Streets policy into action.
The commissioner met with state and local officials near the Hamilton Commons shopping center where NJDOT maintenance crews are installing sidewalks to create safe pedestrian connections to shopping destinations along and near the busy Black Horse Pike (Route 40/322).
“This sidewalk project exemplifies the work we are doing throughout the state to plan and build safe routes for all New Jersey residents and visitors who share our roadways,” Simpson said. “The Christie Administration is proud of New Jersey’s award-winning Complete Streets policy. We encourage counties and municipalities to adopt similar policies to guide local decisions that will help create a safer and sustainable transportation network that accommodates all users, not just automobiles.”
The $386,000 sidewalk project is installing 5,000 linear feet of sidewalk at four locations along the Black Horse Pike and Route 9 in Hamilton and Pleasantville townships. Work on the sidewalks is expected to be completed by early November, followed by improvements to add high-visibility crosswalks at various intersections in the same areas.
New Jersey’s Complete Streets policy requires all major NJDOT roadway projects in the future to include accommodations for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and the mobility impaired. It also encourages investment in such accommodations to existing transportation assets where practical. Together, these policy elements form a Complete Streets umbrella for a number of important NJDOT initiatives, programs and Local Aid grant opportunities.
“In a state as densely populated as New Jersey, a Complete Streets policy is a necessity, not a luxury,” Simpson said. “The policy promotes healthy lifestyles by making walking and bicycling safe and accessible and it helps make such investments affordable by designing Complete Streets elements into projects from the very beginning.”
Commissioner Simpson said NJDOT is committed to driving down accidents that injure pedestrians and bicyclists. Through October 12, 2011, there were 12 fatal bicycle crashes and 93 fatal pedestrian incidents statewide.
In 2009 and 2010 there were 14 and 13 bicycle fatalities, respectively, and 157 and 141 pedestrian fatalities, respectively. Sidewalks, bike paths, crosswalks and intersection improvements are among the projects funded by NJDOT at the state and local level that help keep pedestrians, bicyclists and others safe.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Safe Corridor program
Commissioner Simpson also announced study recommendations for improvements to a Pedestrian and Bicycle Safe Corridor located to the east of today’s event along Route 40/322 in Egg Harbor and Pleasantville.
Recommendations include filling gaps in sidewalks, building ADA curb ramps, adding pedestrian countdown signal heads, crosswalk striping, pedestrian warning signs and improved lighting. Longer-term recommendations include creating median refuges and pedestrian-activated signals at new mid-block crossings.
Safety improvements have been completed along two high-risk corridors – Route 70 in Cherry Hill (Camden County) and Route 27 in Roselle, Linden and Elizabeth (Union County).
Work is planned for several other high-risk corridors in New Jersey, including a section of Route 130 in Burlington County. The Department recently completed pedestrian safety road audits for future improvements along two other high-risk corridors on Route 46 in Dover (Morris County) and Route 35 in Perth Amboy and Woodbridge (Middlesex County).
Complete Streets policy successes
• The new Route 36 Highlands Bridge over the Shrewsbury River, opened to traffic in December 2010, incorporates a complete street design that provides a new pedestrian overpass in Sea Bright.
• Both the on-going Route 52 Causeway replacement project in Somers Point and Ocean City and the proposed Route 72 Manahawkin Bay bridge rehabilitation project in Stafford and Ship Bottom will both fully accommodate all users upon completion.
• A proposed reconfiguration of Route 45 in Woodbury Township will convert the multi-lane roadway into a narrower roadway with new turning movements and multi-use accommodation.
• The Complete Streets policy has been integrated into the Department’s Capital Project Delivery Process which ensures that every new and reconstruction project includes Complete Streets designs.
• NJDOT engineers and planners have been trained in Complete Streets and now are reaching out to local and county officials to offer Policy and Design Regional Training Workshops.
Complete Streets umbrella
Among the programs that advance Complete Streets objectives are seven Local Aid programs:
• Safe Routes to School grant program
o Solicitation currently open for $5 million in competitive grants for infrastructure projects.
• Safe Streets to Transit grant program
o Proposals for $500,000 in grants currently under review.
• Bikeway grant program
o Proposals for $1 million in grants currently under review.
• Transit Village grant program
• Local Aid Infrastructure Fund grant program
o 29 grants totaling $10 million announced in August.
• Municipal Aid grant program
o Proposals for $78.75 million in grants currently under review. Proposals typically are for street resurfacing projects, but NJDOT encourages non-traditional proposals for bikeway, pedestrian and streetscape projects.
• Centers of Place grant program
Other programs include:
• NJDOT pedestrian safety initiative
o Funding was doubled to $4 million in FY 12 capital program.
o Since 2007, 126 projects completed at cost of $14.8 million, including 174,400 linear feet of sidewalks, ADA compliant curb ramps, pedestrian signals and signage, bus pull-outs and striping.
• NJDOT Pedestrian and Bicycle Safe Corridor program
Adoption of local Complete Streets policies adds points to the scores of project proposals under several competitive grant programs.
NJDOT adopted its complete Streets policy in December 2009 and earlier this year it was ranked strongest in the nation by the National Complete Streets Coalition. It demonstrates New Jersey’s strong commitment going forward to ensure that the state highway system provides accommodations for all users.