Safe Routes Scoop

10 Questions With Charles Carmalt

reaching their destinations.


3.) How do we get over these hurdles?  Is more money needed, better policies, changes to the law, increased public education, other factors or some combination therein?

It will take a combination of the above approaches to bring about change. While there are some statutory issues, the law isn’t the biggest problem. I think it’s more important to continue to work to establish the legitimacy of these travel modes. For example, it’s only recently that pedestrian safety has become an important concern. Most intersection traffic counts still fail to include pedestrian counts, even though the presence of pedestrians will dramatically impact traffic flows.


In the same vein, the best way of getting bicycle and pedestrian enhancements constructed is to incorporate them into roadway projects. Yet New Jersey governments still are not doing that on a routine basis. For example, the main street in my township was recently resurfaced. That provided a great opportunity to mark bike lanes past four township schools, but that opportunity was not seized by the township. Similarly, curb extensions and median refuge islands were not included in the project.


Better enforcement, education and facilities are all still needed. If you

build it, the people will come. The lack of good facilities and an integrated system is a problem in New Jersey. Unfortunately, the facilities for bicycles and pedestrians that are being built aren’t always being built correctly.


4.) In the last 10 years, where have you seen the most significant changes in improving bicycling and walking in NJ?

For one, the allocation of funds for planning purposes. Since 2000, state and county projects have increasingly incorporated bike/ped concerns into the design of facilities. It’s been a remarkable change and many new projects have been built with good accommodations for bicyclists and pedestrians. It’s still a struggle, but good projects are coming.


Secondly, new development.  Professionals are doing a better job of anticipating what is needed for bicyclists and pedestrians in new development. From 1950 through 1990, there was little appreciation for the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians. Not all new developments are providing facilities for bicyclists and walkers, but many are, and many developers now recognize that walkable and bikeable communities are easier to sell.


There has also been a surge of interest in health issues that has created more interest in walking and

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