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Bicycle and Pedestrian Considerations in the Development and Design Review Process: New Jersey Municipalities

 

municipalities with several options for achieving their desired goals.  Consideration in design review and complete streets policies are two examples in which municipalities may use these tools to promote bicycling and walking.   

 

Consideration in Design Review
Influencing the development and redevelopment of the built environment is a necessity for communities trying to enhance the quality and quantity of bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Planning and design review boards may institute provisions requiring the consideration of bicycle and pedestrian accommodations during the development process.  This may result from an ordinance, resolution or language in the master plan and may take the form of a checklist.  Inclusion of bicycle and pedestrian considerations in design review allows communities to consider development impact on bicycle and pedestrian accommodations and opportunities to identify required and/or desired improvements.

 

Complete Streets Policy
Complete Streets policies are designed to ensure that all users, including bicyclists and pedestrians, are considered during the design of new and retro-fit roadway projects.  Adoption of a complete streets policy signals that a municipality intends to deviate from automobile-centric development and is invested in

creating viable transportation options that are safe for all users.   Complete streets policies can be enacted by multiple means, be it an ordinance or

resolution passed by a governing body, a rewrite of design guidelines or an executive order. 

 

Case Studies

 

Montclair
Montclair Township, in Essex County is one of the New Jersey municipalities prioritizing bicycle and pedestrian considerations. With multiple train lines passing through its borders, and a lively downtown, Montclair officials and citizens have been pressing for a greater focus on bicycle and pedestrian amenities.

 

As the first New Jersey municipality to adopt a Complete Streets policy (link 1) Montclair has formalized a process that township engineer Kimberli Craft has been practicing ad-hoc for years, including bicycle and pedestrian facilities in the design and development review process. The process of getting the Complete Streets policy passed was aided by a grant from NJDOT to produce a Bicycle and Pedestrian Action Plan, which ultimately recommended an official Complete Streets policy. Two Safe Routes to School grants were also obtained to aid in the effort, resulting in an “increased connectivity between schools and main attractions and connectivity overall throughout Montclair”, according to

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