BRICK – The township has taken the first step to become part of the State’s Complete Streets Program, that could result in interconnected bike paths and sidewalks – from Cape May and up through the Jersey Shore area – becoming a reality.
The NJ Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Office of Local Planning Services is providing free planning services to municipalities to develop a pedestrian and bicycle master plan, explained Councilwoman Heather deJong at the February 7 council meeting.
The governing body passed a resolution that would retain planning services from the DCA and that confirms the scope of those services for the development of a Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, she said.
“Basically, what this is, is helping the township become part of the Complete Streets Program; ideally we want to make our roads safer for bicycles and for our pedestrians,” deJong said.
She said the administration would like to see sidewalks installed on Route 70, where there are always pedestrians, and on Mantoloking Road.
“There’s a lot of people that go from Drum Point to the beach, and to the different bike trails that we have,” she said.
“It’s something we do not have and it’s something we cannot do internally due to financial cost, but this is a free program that the state is helping us with to help make our pedestrians and our bicyclists more safe on the roads,” said deJong.
The policy was established because of the increasing number of pedestrian and bicycle fatalities in the State.
The Complete Streets Program includes more and improved sidewalks, better markings at crosswalks, bike paths where needed, and intersection improvements, such as countdown signals and better accessibility for the mobility impaired.
The policy requires that future roadway improvement projects include safe accommodations for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders and the mobility impaired.
Future roadway improvement projects must include the implementation of the program though the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of new or rehabilitated transportation facilities within public rights of way that are federally or state funded.
Brick Township is an eligible municipality and Mayor John G. Ducey submitted an application for the planning services in March 2016.
While the township would provide access to appropriate municipal staff, consultants and officials, and meeting space, there would be no budgetary impact on the township for the services being provided by the DCA, deJong said.
“So this is very much a win/win for the town,” she said. “Ideally what they want to do is, all the towns that have the Complete Streets is connect the different bicycle paths that they have so you could go all the way from Cape May as far north as you can, up the shore – that’s really ideally what New Jersey is trying to do,” she said.
“It’s a great program and I’m glad that we’re now part of it,” deJong said.