It encourages consistent design for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists

FREEHOLD, NJ – On Thursday, July 22, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders established a Complete Streets policy for the county as a way to guide the planning, design, construction and maintenance of its new and retrofitted road, bridge and other transportation projects. Monmouth County is the first county in New Jersey to adopt such a measure.

“This is a giant step forward for bicyclists and pedestrians in our county,” said Freeholder John D’Amico, the county’s representative to the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority. “Going forward, county road projects will take into consideration the needs of the many users of our roads – not just motorists, but also people walking, riding bicycles and catching a bus or train.”

In concept, complete streets are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users –   pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities – to be able to move safely along and across a street.

Freeholder John P. Curly pointed out that, “A Complete Streets policy means that crosswalks, curb cuts, bike lanes and other features shall be routinely considered on all street projects.”

“Consideration of local needs and character will continue as the county moves forward with transportation projects,” Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry said. “Safe access for all users includes intelligent design and understanding current and future use in the county. This keeps us on the right course.”

Each Complete Street is unique, but typical components found on a Complete Street include sidewalks, bike lanes or wide, paved shoulders, special bus lanes, comfortable and accessible transit stops, frequent crossing opportunities, accessible pedestrian signals and curb extensions.

“In highly populated areas, Complete Streets can provide a sense of place and improve adjacent property values,” Freeholder Robert D. Clifton said. “Complete streets also foster stronger communities because they play an important role in livable communities, where people – regardless of age, ability or mode of transportation – feel safe and welcome on the roads. A safe walking and bicycling environment is an essential part of improving public transportation and creating friendly, walkable communities.”

“The county is adapting its transportation orientation to provide for vehicles as well as other transportation alternatives,” Freeholder Curley said.

“This effort will help make our roads safer for drivers, transit users, pedestrians, bicyclists, older individuals, children and people with disabilities,” Freeholder Amy A. Mallet said. “It also enables safe access to public roads for all users by requiring that the county’s transportation improvement plans consider the safety, access and mobility needs of all travelers, regardless of age or ability.”

D’Amico added that the adoption of the Complete Streets policy puts the county in position to receive positive consideration as various transportation funding opportunities arise.

Montclair was the first municipality to adopt a local complete streets policy in New Jersey.  The state Department of Transportation and West Windsor Township also have Complete Streets policies.