The New Jersey
Department of Transportation (NJDOT)
Commissioner James Simpson wrote an
article on Complete Streets that appeared
in the May 2012 New
Jersey Municipalities magazine:
the road to educate local officials
about Complete Streets
When it comes
to Complete Streets, New Jersey is
leading the way toward safety for all
who share the road. The policy adopted
by NJDOT in 2009 has earned high praise
for New Jersey and is being used as
a model by other states as they craft
their own policies.
Administration is taking an important
step to advance the goals and objectives
of Complete Streets by educating and
encouraging local officials to extend
the reach of Complete Streets by adopting
their own policies.
announced a series of workshops throughout
the state, the first of which was held
last month in Essex County. These workshops
are being led by a dynamic team of
experts who have developed an educational
curriculum for local and county decision-makers
to learn about the benefits of adopting
their own Complete Streets policies
and how to design Complete Street improvements.
The workshops are being conducted at
twelve locations across New Jersey
this year. Invitation letters will
be sent out to community leaders in
every town in the
can expect to achieve a better understanding
of Complete Streets, the policy and
design issues, and how to create a
safer environment for all roadway users
in your communities. Participants will
learn that while Complete Streets policies
are not mandated by the Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA), it strongly
encourages states to embrace Complete
Streets ideals. In addition, FHWA now
mandates that bicycle and pedestrian
accommodations be considered in all
projects using federal funds.
The advantage of inserting a
dialogue about all street or
roadway users at the earliest
stages of project development
is that it provides the designers
and the engineers the best opportunity
to create solutions at the most
affordable price. It is easier
and far less expensive to build
it right the first time than
to have to retrofit a project
after it is built.
Complete Streets policy at the local
level can go a long way in raising
awareness among residents, elected
officials and the private sector. When
projects are proposed, pedestrian,
bicycle and transit accommodations
are no longer an afterthought – they
become an integral feature
of the overall investment plan.
The concept is gaining traction statewide.
Along with NJDOT, 26 municipalities
and one county in New Jersey have followed
suit with formal policies in place.
The goal of the workshops is to dramatically
increase those numbers.
NJDOT is confident that Complete Streets
policies will pay off in terms of
increased long-term safety
for all users of New Jersey’s
roads. The investments we
make in good design now will
pay dividends for generations.
are seeing examples of Complete Streets
in our communities. You’ll notice
more and improved sidewalks,
better markings at crosswalks
to put motorists on alert,
bike paths where needed, intersection
improvements including countdown pedestrian
signals and accessible curb cuts at
crosswalks to accommodate the mobility
impaired. We need to build on this
However, it is equally easy to find
examples of streets and roads virtually
anywhere in the state that
would be safer and more
conducive to walking and
bicycling had Complete
Streets principles been
woven into the design.
not trying to find fault
with designers and planners
of yesteryear who might
not have imagined the intensity
of development that would
arise along what were once
Today we understand the
unrelenting nature of pressure
on our land and roads.
Complete Streets policies
at all levels of New Jersey
government will help us
build a network of streets
and roads that promotes
safety and efficiency.
I urge local government
officials to join us at
these workshops and take
an active role in adopting
A good complete streets policy:
Includes a vision
for how and why the community wants
to complete its streets.
that ‘all users’ includes
transportation passengers of
all ages and abilities, as
well as trucks, buses, and
connectivity and aims to
create a comprehensive, integrated,
connected network for all modes.
to both new and retrofit projects,
including design, planning,
maintenance, and operations, for
the entire right of way.
exceptions specific and sets
a clear procedure that
approval of exceptions.
the use of the latest and
best design standards while
need for flexibility
in balancing user
solutions compliment the context
with measurable outcomes.