By James Sinclair
As part of a federal Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant, Together North Jersey, a regional planning collaboration led by the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center and the New Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, recently completed the Morris Avenue Complete Streets Concept Plan for the City of Elizabeth.The new report, which proposes Complete Streets improvements to Elizabeth’s Morris Avenue and connecting side streets, was written by the New Jersey Bicycle and Pedestrian Resource Center.
It begins the implementation process of the city’s Complete Streets policy that was passed in 2014. Complete Streets are designed to enable safe transportation access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation passengers, and drivers, regardless of age or ability; it is a policy long championed by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
“Morris Avenue is a thriving business district, which continues to attract unique dining and specialty shops – increasing overall available services to residents and visitors. In addition to enhancing opportunities, this plan also supports beautification and safety upgrades, which remain priorities for our community.”
The Concept Plan proposes three design alternatives, each of which are differentiated largely by the types of infrastructure improvements and the relative total costs.
- A lower cost option, focusing on improved maintenance, stronger enforcement of traffic laws, and the addition of low-cost pedestrian and bicycle amenities.
- A moderate cost option (design alternative 2), which includes the lower-cost improvements, along with the addition of a bicycle lane in one travel lane, and shared lane markers for bicyclists in the other.
- A higher cost option (design alternative 3), which includes the lower-cost improvements, along with wider sidewalks and shared-lane markings for bicyclists.
During community outreach, the second and third design alternatives both received strong support. The community outreach efforts that the project team undertook are described in detail in the report. Also included is information on funding sources that can be used to build the selected design. With implementation, the plan will help address issues of bicyclist, pedestrian, driver, and bus passenger safety between two major destinations on Morris Avenue, as well as make the corridor a more attractive destination for visitors and residents alike.
You can find the full report on the Together North Jersey website.