Trenton’s Complete Streets Policy Named One of Nation’s Ten Best

8 Apr

Each year the National Complete Streets Coalition takes a look back at the Complete Streets policies passed in the past year, and highlights some of the best. Their analysis of 2012’s policies came out this week — and Trenton has done New Jersey proud by ranking #8 on the list.

The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2012, released today, examined all 125 Complete Streets policies passed in the last year and highlights some of the best. The top ten list highlights ten cities who have “led the way in crafting comprehensive policy language” and are:

 

1 Indianapolis, IN 6 Portland, ME
2 Hermosa Beach, CA 7 Oak Park, IL
2 Huntington Park, CA 8 Trenton, NJ
4 Ocean Shores, WA 9 Clayton, MO
5 Northfield, MN 10 Rancho Cucamonga, CA

As noted in New Jersey Future’s press release, Trenton’s policy came to life thanks to a large coalition of stakeholders who wrote the policy and/or worked tirelessly to build community and city support for it. The policy  “was written and refined in a collaborative process involving the city planning staff; Peter Kremer of Parsons Brinckerhoff; Laura Torchio of Bike & Walk Montclair; and the staff of New Jersey Future. The effort was championed by a broad cross-section of community members, led by Councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson, who sponsored the resolution, and including the city planning staff, which was integral in building support for the policy within City Hall; the Partnership for Healthy Kids-Trenton; representatives of the Trenton Green Team; and Trenton Cycling Revolution, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization. Other groups supporting Trenton’s policy included Children’s Futures, City Smiles, City Works, Concerned Pastors & Ministers of Trenton, Isles, New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Villa Park Civic Association, YMCA of Trenton, and the YWCA of Trenton.”

You can download the full Complete Streets report (PDF) here.

Want to Learn More About Complete Streets? GMTMA Can Help

Complete streets are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users – pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Instituting a complete streets policy ensures that agencies think about, design, and operate rights of way to enable safe access for all users. In their Complete Streets Policy, the NJ Department of Transportation recognized these benefits of complete streets:

  • Complete Streets improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, children, older citizens, non-drivers and the mobility challenged as well as those that cannot afford a car or choose to live car free
  • Provide connections to bicycling and walking trip generators such as employment, education, residential, recreation, retail centers and public facilities
  • Promote healthy lifestyles
  • Create more livable communities
  • Reduce traffic congestion and reliance on carbon fuels thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Complete Streets make fiscal sense by incorporating sidewalks, bike lanes, safe crossings and transit amenities into the initial design of a project, thus sparing the expense of retrofits later

There is often some confusion about what is involved in the adoption of a Complete Streets policy. Some towns shy away from touching the issue out of fear that such a policy will make everything more expensive, or force them to retrofit all of their current streets for bikes and pedestrians. In reality, however, embracing transportation access for all users of our transportation system is a process that can happen over a very long time period. It can be done gradually, with simple measures, using existing funds.

Interested in learning more about Complete Streets or getting your community interested? GMTMA can help. Additionally, some good web resources include the National Complete Streets Coalition and New Jersey Department of Transportation. Furthermore, Complete Streets can be a way to get certified by Sustainable Jersey, a program that provides certification and funding to “green” municipalities. The program awards points toward certification to municipalities that adopt their own complete streets policies (guidelines here).

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