The Bicycle and Pedestrian Resource Center is proud to present our favorite moments in active transportation news from New Jersey in 2013, in no particular order. From becoming the leader in Complete Streets to providing communities with new resources to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety, 2013 was a great year for walking and biking in New Jersey.
Year of Ciclovia: While Elizabeth was the first New Jersey municipality to host an Open Streets event in September 2012, the New Brunswick Ciclovia – a community collaboration between the City of New Brunswick, New Brunswick Tomorrow, Johnson & Johnson, and Rutgers University – upped the ante in 2013. On October 6th, the City closed 3.5 miles (7 miles total) of road to cars so that residents could run, walk, bike, dance, and play. The event kicked off with an appearance by Guillermo “Gil” Penalosa, who brought the concept of Ciclovia to life as the Commissioner of Parks, Sport and Recreation for the City of Bogota, Columbia. Thousands of participants came out to meet their neighbors, enjoy the reinvigorated street life, and see New Brunswick from a brand new perspective. For more information on the New Brunswick Ciclovia, click here.
New Jersey is #1 for Complete Streets: According to Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition, New Jersey moved into the number one position for most Complete Streets Policies in the nation in September, 2013. At that time, New Jersey had 77 policies, compared with the 66 policies of previous frontrunner, Michigan. Since then, seven municipal policies and one county policy have been adopted, bringing the total to 84 municipal policies and 6 county policies, covering nearly 30% of the state’s population. In 2012, the National Complete Streets Coalition recognized Trenton’s policy as one of the ten best passed in the country. For more information on Complete Streets in New Jersey, click here.
Bike Share Rolls Out: New York City made a big splash in May when it launched CitiBike, the nation’s largest bike-sharing system. But just across the Hudson, the City of Hoboken was also preparing to introduce its own pilot bike-sharing program. The six month pilot program ended in November, totaling more than 3,000 rides over its duration. While the formal evaluation study is still being completed, city officials and planners agreed that the program demonstrated Hoboken’s ability to support a bike share and are now investigating options for implementing a more permanent program. For more information on the Hoboken Bike Share, click here.
Completion of Route 52 Causeway: While open to vehicular traffic since May 2012, the bicycle and pedestrian facilities of the Route 52 Causeway, connecting Somers Point and Ocean City, were completed in March. The ten-foot wide pathway is designed to accommodate walkers, joggers, and bicyclists while also connecting to the newly constructed Welcome Center and its recreational facilities including a boat launch, fishing, and bird watching areas. For more information on the Route 52 causeway, click here.
Statewide Bicycle Map: Released in May by the New Jersey Department of Transportation, the New Jersey Bicycle Map and Resource Guide provides residents and visitors a comprehensive resource for cyclists throughout the state, including information on road suitability for bicycling, as well as bike trails, tour routes, and points of interest. Additionally, all 18 regional bicycle tour guides are available for download onto smart phones, allowing users to follow their route digitally. Connecting New Jersey’s many cultural, historic, and recreational attractions, the Guide reinforces the importance of bicycling in the state’s Complete Streets movement. For more information on the New Jersey Bicycle Map and Resource Guide, click here.
2013 Complete Streets Summit: In October, the 2013 Complete Streets Summit – hosted by the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center with support from the NJDOT, Federal Highway Administration, and the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association – brought together elected officials, planners, and engineers from across New Jersey. The Summit featured presentations and discussions on a variety of Complete Streets topics, as well as a keynote address by Charles Marohn, PE/AICP, author of the Strong Towns blog. For more information on the 2013 Complete Streets Summit, click here.
The Economic Impacts of Active Transportation in New Jersey: Released in May by the New Jersey Bicycle and Pedestrian Resource Center, The Economic Impacts of Active Transportation in New Jersey study used economic modeling to estimate that active transportation contributed almost $500 million to the New Jersey economy in 2011. The study examined the capital investments, businesses, and events related to active transportation and their contribution to both jobs and economic activity. For more information or to download the study, click here.
NJTPA Street Smart Program: Beginning in November, the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority launched the Street Smart pilot program, encouraging drivers and pedestrians to “check your vital signs” – speed limits, stop signs, crosswalks, and pedestrian signals. Utilizing advertising, grass-roots public outreach, and law enforcement strategies in five cities (Newark, Hackettstown, Jersey City, Long Beach Island, and Woodbridge), the program focuses on education, enforcement, and evaluation to increase pedestrian and bicycle safety. For more information on the Street Smart program, click here.
New Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Legislation: In 2013, the New Jersey state legislature brought pedestrian and bicycle safety to the forefront, introducing 6 bills aimed at making our streets safer for all users. From lowering speed limits on residential roads to increasing fines for violating pedestrian safety laws, these bills represent the New Jersey state government’s commitment to reducing pedestrian and bicycling related injuries and fatalities. For more information on these bills, click here.
Safe Routes to Schools: 2013 was a big year for New Jersey’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. SRTS programs have been established in 389 schools, nearly 20% of New Jersey’s K-8 public schools. Outreach and engagement with disadvantaged communities has always been a priority of NJDOT and the SRTS program. Meeting this challenge, SRTS Coordinators have worked with schools in 75% of our State’s disadvantaged communities and have already implemented projects in 20% of these communities. The NJ SRTS Resource Center is looking forward to another year with more programs and increased outreach statewide. To learn more about SRTS and to find out how the Resource Center and your Regional Coordinator can assist you, click here.
New Jersey Ambassadors in Motion: As the public outreach team for the New Jersey Bicycle and Pedestrian Research Center, the Ambassadors in Motion travel across New Jersey increasing awareness of bicycle and pedestrian issues. In 2013, Ambassadors reached tens of thousands of New Jersey residents through on-street, event, and classroom outreach. Additionally, Ambassadors provided technical assistance to both private and government entities, as well as serving as on-call experts for anything bicycle or pedestrian safety related. For more information on the Ambassadors in Motion program, click here.