Safe Routes Scoop

Burlington County Bike Path Partnership

municipality for review, then checked against county and state plans to identify gaps and overlap. The CCCTMA has received support from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, a regional planning organization for southern New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. The NJ Department of Transportation offers resources through the Transportation Demand Management Services program, encouraging communities to increase non-motorized options to help mitigate congestion and the environmental consequences associated with driving.

 

All New Jersey counties have access to these planning resources; what makes Burlington stand out has been the commitment of a select number of leaders in transportation. Carol Thomas, a planner with the Burlington County Department of Transportation and board president of Cross County, has worked on outdoor recreation for over 15 years.

 

“Why not give them a chance to ride?” Thomas asks local officials when they object to projects aimed at non-motorized uses. She says it is important to convince municipalities that safe and easy-riding paths are basic amenities for their residents. As she is an expert in trail building and planning in the state, many are inclined to listen.

 

Thomas has been instrumental in

long-term and long-distance efforts around the county. Widening the shoulders of roads through the Pinelands took over five years as local officials raised concerns over the environmental costs of construction and possible liability issues. The answers to those questions (lanes add minimal impervious surfaces and no liability cases have come to the county) have encouraged other projects, such as bike routes on County Routes 563 and 532.

 

“These routes have seen great use by cyclists,” noted Thomas. “Riding is getting more popular and the state is planning a new bike map that will get the word out to other people.”

 

"Local bike groups and clubs also have contributed," said Thomas. They build local advocacy and educate their neighbors about the benefits such relatively small improvements bring to recreational and commuting cyclists.

 

Infrastructure and marketing efforts have focused on recreational riders, including residents and visitors looking to explore the county’s parks and rural roads. More recently, planners such as Ragozine are focusing on job commutes, hoping to encourage peak-hour drivers to bike to work by offering a safe and supportive environment.

 

Advocates hope to see more studies supporting local planning efforts for

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