By John Burton |
FAIR HAVEN – Fair Haven has long been known as a place to walk and bicycle. Now, borough officials want to ensure it remains that way, and that it is safe for future generations.
On Sept. 25, officials held a public information session on its draft version of the Pedestrian and Bike Active Transportation Plan.
“This will be used for the next 50 years for our planning purposes,” said Mayor Benjamin Lucarelli.
The borough has partnered with the state Department of Transportation (NJDOT), winning a grant from the department’s Local Technical Assistance Program, which provides support for municipalities in an effort to create sustainable pedestrian and cyclist-friendly communities. The program, in conjunction with Rutgers University, had the NJDOT provide Fair Haven with in-kind services from civil engineering firm WSP USA, according to NJDOT representative William Riviere.
“People around the country are trying to do this,” said Borough Councilman Jonathan Peters.
On any given school day, with weather permitting, Peters said about 600 kids ride their bikes to and from the borough schools. “And that’s just a small piece of the picture,” Peters said, pointing out the community culture that fosters members to ride or walk within town, to school and to local businesses.
The key now is to try to figure out how to make the town safer, building on what Fair Haven has already been doing. “It’s how we can fit the pieces together,” Peters said.
The study discussed Monday, which took about a year to draft, offers a series of improvements for the municipality’s consideration for safety, explained Peter Kremer, a senior planner with WSP USA.
In any community, “At some point you have to get out of your car,” Kremer said. And with plans like this will restore the balance between drivers and pedestrians and cyclists, he continued.
The extensive plan lays out the blueprint and makes recommendations for Fair Haven. Among them are a call for installing sidewalks, mostly in residential neighborhoods, where there aren’t any; enhancing pedestrian crossings with things like additional signage, and lighting and striping crosswalks at all intersections; constructing sidewalk bump-outs; and putting in speed humps and other traffic calming initiatives. The plan also recommends more formal stenciled bike lanes around the community, given they have been shown to be effective in making roadways safer for all users.
The borough has for a while closed Third Street during mornings and afternoons on school days, allowing students to walk or ride. The study suggests some improvements to this concept, including laying sidewalks and creating a greater connectivity to both Knollwood and Sickles schools.
On River Road, a busy county thoroughfare, the analysis suggests lowering the speed limit from the existing 30-35 miles per hour to 25.
When the time comes to mill and repave River Road, Lucarelli said he will ask county officials and engineers to restripe it for bike lanes, as has been done on Rumson and Ridge roads, also county roads.
The Borough Council will move to adopt the plan, introducing an ordinance in October with a final vote expected in November, Lucarelli said.
Lucarelli said the study will then be incorporated when making changes to the borough master plan, which lays out the long-term goals for planning and development.
“We now have our plan,” he noted. “Now it’s up to us to figure out going forward.”
This article was first published in the Oct.5-12, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.
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