Cary Africk: Complete Streets at 20% Increase Is Too Much

Re: Resolution Number 9

While I appreciate the Mayor’s desire to leave a legacy of Sustainability, including measures to enhance “walkability,” and “bike safety,” I am opposed to the Resolution he has inserted into Tuesday’s Agenda increasing funding for “complete streets” from 5% to 20% of funds allocated to street construction.

Twenty percent is too much.

As an example, on the Agenda there is a Bond Ordinance of over $2MM for streets.  The Mayor’s suggestion would require that funding for things like bike lanes go from $100,000 to $400,000 for just THIS PROJECT alone.

According to the New Jersey Commissioner of Transportation, James Simpson, there are 13 Towns in NJ (out of close to 600) that have adopted a “complete streets” policy.  I don’t know how many are at the 20% level.

He also says the the State has only allocated $2MM in 2011 for such projects.

I am all for MEANINGFUL improvements to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists on our busy streets.

It is terrifying to try and cross Valley Road by Edgemont Park.  You take your life into your hands trying to cross Bloomfield by Midland.

Are bike lanes the best way to solve these problems?  The County didn’t think so when they refused to put bike lanes on Grove Street.

Let’s have REAL change and stop assuming throwing money at problems will automatically solve them.

Of course that’s assuming that we even HAD the money.

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  1. Or as Marx said (Groucho):

    Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others

  2. “Are bike lanes the best way to solve these problems?”

    The complete streets initiative emphasizes pedestrian-use more than bicycle-use as it is. If residents and visitors are terrified and taking their lives into their hands when they cross some of our streets, I’d hope that we could accommodate some meaningful change for pedestrians, even if some residents dislike the idea of more bike lanes (or even bike lockers!).

  3. Kristin,

    I fully agree with you regarding the need to make our streets safe for pedestrians.

    It has to begin with enforcement, in my opinion.

    I have tried FOR YEARS to get the Town Manager to simply install the proper “Stop for Pedestrian” signs in crosswalks throughout town. No one seems to think that important, and I’ve even heard some say the Fire Department doesn’t like the signs because they get in the way! The signs cost $70 each.

    I’ve also promoted enforcement actions by the police, but again it doesn’t seem to be a priority.

    There are communities across the nation where drivers wouldn’t dare NOT to stop for pedestrians because it’s part of the culture of the town. In Montclair as a pedestrian you’ll get mowed down if you fail to get out of the way of a charging car.

    I’ve seen moms with strollers trying to get across the street on Valley just to go to Edgemont Park. They wait and wait and cars won’t stop.

    Bicycle riding on the streets of Montclair is terrifying. Bike lanes, in my opinion, are not the solution.

    Taking that all into account, the Town has close to $240MM in debt. Taking on 20% to our streets budget is not acceptable at this time.

  4. its now 240mm ? And another bond for $2mm?

    I am all for bike lanes and more sanity on the roads, but do we really need to bond another $2mm ?

  5. Enforcement certainly isn’t a priority at this time. I walk around town quite often and cars rarely stop. In fact, while trying to cross in front of the library on Fullerton back in May, I stood clearly in the crosswalk waiting, where there was indeed a stop for pedestrians sign. Three cars quickly passed me by without stopping. The fourth stopped though – a police cruiser. No penalty, of course, for the three cars who did not obey the law in clear view of the police officers. Why stop if there are no repercussions for failing to do so?

    Throwing more money at a problem will not solve it if we fail to enforce the basic rules. And I still don’t think I’d ride my bike on the town’s major roads, even with bike lanes – I don’t trust the drivers.

  6. Cary, I agree with you. Why don’t we assign our men in blue to crosswalk duty? Of course people complained when they were running enforcement on Bloomfield Ave, but let em! Instead the idiots in town want speed bumps, which damage our cars, beat the crap out of fire engines so we have to pay for them again, and destabilize bikes. Enforcement, enforcement, enforcement.

    And no more bonds!

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