City Council to adopt Complete Streets policy

City Council introduced an ordinance that would encourage creating streets that accommodate users of all ages and types, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit vehicles, children, older citizens.

The ordinance (O-26-15), introduced at the Aug. 10 meeting, would amend Chapter 365, streets and sidewalks, to establish a Complete Streets policy. The governing body is scheduled to approve the measure after a public hearing during its next regular meeting on Sept. 14.

UPDATED: With no comment from the public, City Council unanimously adopted the ordinance Sept. 14 by a vote of 8-0, with one member absent (6th Ward Councilman Raymond Giacobbe, Jr.). Only 5th Ward Councilwoman Jennifer Wenson-Maier commented, saying that the ordinance gets Rahway “away from being car-centric” and more focused on pedestrians and bikes. The measure also allows the city to get technical assistance for implementing the policy, she said.

Complete Streets graphicThe National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, explains what Complete Streets are and why they think they’re needed. It basically means the city will formally taken into account things like pedestrians, bicycles, as well as cars and mass transit in the course of planning.

City Administrator Cherron Rountree said after the August meeting that the ordinance would establish a Complete Streets policy as a general rule and be taken into consideration when planning but there are exceptions (outlined on Page 3 of the ordinance).

Complete Streets policies, according to National Complete Streets Coalition, “formalize a community’s goal to have streets that are safe for all types of users of all ages and abilities. Policies direct decision-makers to consistently fund, plan for, design, construct, operate and maintain community streets to accommodate all anticipated users, including people walking, bicycling, taking public transportation and driving cars as well as commercial vehicles.”

Early last year, Jerry Fried of the NJ Bicycle & Pedestrian Resource Center spoke at a Rahway Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast about Complete Streets.

Smart Growth America offers a Complete Streets Policy Workbook, “an introductory guide that serves as a starting point for transportation experts and local leaders to begin mapping their own Complete Streets policies.”

FastCompany offers The 10 Best New Complete Streets Policies in the U.S. (which includes Trenton ranked as No. 8). In 2013, more than 80 communities adopted Complete Streets Policies, according to Smart Growth America, bringing the total to 610 jurisdictions nationwide.

3 thoughts on “City Council to adopt Complete Streets policy”

  1. Well, who can argue with the idea of “complete streets?” But what does it mean in practical terms? Is the city going to put bike racks up to encourage their use? (Right now, I know of bike lockers under the NJ Transit tracks, but I’ve never seen anyone use them. There is also a bike rack at the YMCA.)

    And how does this square with the proposed car-centric East Cherry Street redevelopment, which is proposing 19 parking spaces at the biggest pedestrian throroughfare in the city?

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