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Gateway Critical To Region's Future

Posted: 9/19/2022 12:17:01 PM

Kolluri-Kris.pngBuilding two new Hudson River rail tunnels and rehabilitating the existing two tunnels will help meet the region’s needs “for the next 10 years, 20 years, 50 years and 100 years – that's why this project is so important,” said Kris Kolluri, CEO of the Gateway Development Commission, during a presentation at the September 12 Board of Trustees meeting.

Kolluri noted that a report by the Regional Plan Association projects demand for the transit system on the Northeast Corridor is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels in very short order.

While the cost of the project has gone up by an estimated $2 billion to $16.1 billion, Kolluri is hopeful the state and federal government can work together to bring the cost back down.

“The best way we can realize savings is to make sure there are no further delays to this project” Kolluri said. For every day that Gateway is delayed, he estimated the cost of the project rises $1.3 million to $1.5 million. New Jersey’s Congressional delegation recently sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg urging federal support for advancing the project.

Kolluri, who took the helm of the Gateway Development Commission in July, listed three reasons for the importance of the Gateway project:
  • It’s a regionally significant project, with the regional gross domestic product (GDP) contributing about 20 percent of the nation’s GDP on an annual basis.
  • It’s a huge mover of people through the region. “Without this system properly functioning, and able to function for the 21st Century, we will not be able to maintain our primacy as a region,” he said. 
  • It has the support of every elected official on both sides of the Hudson River and in Washington, D.C., and has been two decades in the making. “Everybody understands that this project is the fulcrum for the entire Northeast Corridor and without this project we’re not going to be able to maintain a viable rail network up and down the Northeast Corridor,” Kolluri said.
A self-proclaimed “big believer in plans, not just deadlines,” Kolluri said the next 60 to 90 days will be focused on staffing the Gateway Development Commission and getting it running; working with federal partners to develop a risk assessment profile to move ahead with engineering; and, then eventually enter into a full funding grant agreement sometime in late 2023 or early 2024 so construction can begin.

The day after his appearance before the NJTPA Board, the Commission voted to officially become sponsor of the Hudson Tunnel Project, with an $11-million budget and authority to apply for federal funding.

Gateway Program OverviewThe construction schedule for the new tubes and rehabilitation projects runs from about summer/fall 2024 to 2038. The plan is to build the two new tubes first, with completion estimated for 2035, then renovate the two existing tunnels one at a time. He said that is the most efficient and cost-effective plan and the commission is working closely with NJ TRANSIT and the Port Authority to keep to that schedule and possibly shave off some time.

Stephen Sigmund, Chief of Public Outreach for the Gateway Development Commission, told the Board that following that plan would ensure there are always three tubes in and out of New York City, and once the project is completed, four tubes.

“There will be never fewer than two, and that’s the most important thing,” he said. Three-quarters of volume into and out of Manhattan would be slashed if the number of tunnels were cut from two to one, impacting $16 billion in economic activity and $22 billion in property values and $20 billion in taxes in New York and New Jersey. “When you talk about the costs of this, the costs of not doing it are much higher than doing this,” he said.

NJTPA Chair John W. Bartlett, a Passaic County Commissioner, thanked Kolluri for the update and said the Board looks forward to seeing the project advance. “Getting this work done sooner than later is going to be to everyone’s benefit, economically as well as practically,” Bartlett said.

Wharton Celebrates Restoration of Historic Morris Canal Lock and Lock Tenders House

Posted: 8/23/2022 10:00:29 AM

A group of officials cuts a ribbon near the Morris Canal Lock 2 East restoration project in Wharton Borough, NJ.
The Borough of Wharton celebrated the completion of a 16-year-long project to restore Lock 2 East, an integral part of the former Morris Canal, and the adjacent Lock Tenders House, with a ribbon cutting ceremony during its annual Canal Day festival Saturday. 

The NJTPA Board of Trustees worked with the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) to allocate $3.4 million in federal Transportation Alternatives Program funds for the project, which totaled $4.7 million. 

David Behrend, NJTPA Acting Executive Director, called the site an “important piece” of the planned Morris Canal Greenway, which is envisioned as a 111-mile continuous trail connecting the Delaware River in Phillipsburg to the Hudson River in Jersey City, closely aligned with the former canal. Wharton and Morris County officials are actively involved in the Morris Canal Working Group, which the NJTPA coordinates, and participated in the agency’s 2018 Morris Canal Greenway Corridor Study, which developed the route and design for the planned trail. 

Lock 2 East along the former Morris Canal in Wharton Borough, NJ“Thanks to projects like this one here today – and partners across six counties – we’re gradually making that vision a reality,” he said. 

The Morris Canal opened in 1831 connecting Phillipsburg to Newark and was extended to Jersey City in 1836. The canal included a system of 23 lift locks and 23 inclined planes to overcome an elevation change of 1,674 feet. 

John Manna, President of Wharton’s Canal Day Association and the restoration project’s coordinator, explained that the original lock gates and walls were bulldozed into the lock when it was decommissioned after the canal closed in 1924.  

Through careful excavation, the lock components were unearthed and used to rebuild the structure. Once the Lock 2 East restoration project is completed in a few months, it will function as it once did more than 100 years ago, raising and lowering the water level by 8 feet. Manna’s dream is to one day have a replica canal boat built to illustrate how Lock 2 East functioned. The Lock Tenders House, once in ruins, was also reconstructed and will serve as a museum once it opens later this year. 

“I think future generations will benefit from this restoration,” Manna said. “I think it will stand the test of time.” A restored Lock Tenders House in Wharton Borough, NJ

Wharton Mayor William Chegwidden thanked the many partners that made the project possible, including the NJTPA, NJDOT, Morris County and the New Jersey Historic Trust. He also thanked Manna for all his work over the years. 

“This has been a long project and really, I give so much credit to John Manna here. He has kept this thing rolling, he has been our boat captain,” Chegwidden said. “I said let’s make Wharton a destination and we did.” 

The NJTPA and NJDOT are accepting applications for the next round of Transportation Alternatives Program funding. Applications are due November 3, however anyone interested in applying must schedule a pre-application meeting by September 30. For additional information visit njtpa.org/TASetAside

State Freight Plan Update Will Address Policy, Prioritize Investments

Posted: 8/18/2022 1:15:06 PM

A new Statewide Freight Plan would identify and inventory bottlenecks, develop freight strategies, policies and performance measures, and create an investment plan to support the Garden State’s multimodal freight operations.

MicrosoftTeams-image461667d3d47ff1d1667343aff242d5ef87aad0e1a790ed9f2a1ed7c7eca09594.pngThe New Jersey Statewide Freight Plan was last updated in 2017. Since then, the state has seen an expansion of e-commerce, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, a growing focus on equity and quality of life, as well as the availability of higher quality data, according to Genevieve Clifton, manager, maritime resources, freight planning and grants management for the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT). Despite challenges, the state’s freight industry is generally thriving, she added, during a presentation to the NJTPA’s Freight Initiatives Committee on Monday.

MicrosoftTeams-imagec465470d484906c52bdf6a6003a82b14256736fd7cd7d1632cd8b72251651f7d.pngThe NJTPA has been proactive with subregional studies focused on freight, said Stephen Chiaramonte, supervising transportation planner and assistant vice president at WSP, a consultant working on the state’s freight plan update. Hudson County is conducting a truck routes assessment and Middlesex County a freight movement study; Union County recently wrapped up its Truck Mobility Study; and Monmouth County completed a freight study in 2019 all funded through the NJTPA. Chiaramonte said these studies “show a significant level of investment and interest in freight planning in the region.”

Chiaramonte, Clifton and others working on the plan provided an overview of the 2022 update, requirements that changed since the 2017 plan, and sought input from committee members and freight stakeholders in attendance. Key new freight plan requirements include assessing truck parking facilities and examining impacts of e-commerce on freight infrastructure.

The 2022 Statewide Freight Plan is due to be approved by the Federal Highway Administration by the end of the year, Chiaramonte said.

New Jersey was the first state DOT to complete a comprehensive look at multimodal freight in 2007, Chiaramonte said, but it was not a federal requirement until 2015 when the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act mandated freight plans every five years. That mandate was reduced to every four years under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which was adopted last year.

The updated Statewide Freight Plan will assist NJDOT in prioritizing freight investments across the state. The plan is tied to National Highway Freight Program (NHFP) funding and a recognition of the need to understand how, where and what goods move on the state’s multimodal freight network, providing an inventory of existing conditions and identifying needs and challenges. NHFP funding totaled some $420 million in New Jersey alone, which was leveraged for “big ticket and big visibility” projects, like the I-295 Missing Moves project and the I-80 Riverview Drive project, Chiaramonte said.

Click here to view the presentation and meeting recording.

In Safe System Approach, All Road Users Are Equal

Posted: 8/18/2022 12:32:53 PM

“Imagine in the coming decades that not a single person in the United States dies in a traffic crash. Thinking about safety this way requires a paradigm shift in how we perceive the problem,” said Caroline Trueman, manager of the Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) grant program at the Federal Highway Administration. She spoke at a joint meeting of the NJTPA’s Planning and Economic Development and Project Prioritization committees on Monday. According to Trueman, in 2019, 36,096 people were killed in crashes in the United States, including 6,205 pedestrians.

From 2009 through 2019, the number of pedestrians struck and killed in motor vehicle crashes increased by more than 50 percent, she said. To reverse the trend and reach the goal of zero deaths, Trueman urges the adoption of a Safe System approach: “Rather than accepting fatalities and serious injuries as a price for mobility, the philosophy of the Safe System approach is grounded in an ethical imperative that no one should be killed or injured when using the roadway system.”
She said that implementing the Safe System approach requires moving away from several traditional safety paradigms and instead:
  • Seeks to prevent death and serious injuries rather than preventing crashes;
  • Designs for human mistakes and limitations, trying to improve behavior;
  • Attempts to reduce kinetic energy;
  • Aims to share responsibility among system users, managers, and others rather than asserting that only individuals are responsible; and,
  • Proactively identifies and addresses risks instead of reacting based on crash history.
Safe-System-Approach-wheel.jpegThe Safe System approach is not a new concept, having existed in countries around the world for more than 30 years. It's based on a framework developed by other Safe System adopters outside the United States, including Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand. Early adopters have seen marked decreases in traffic fatalities across their roadway systems — at least a 50 percent decline in fatalities, Trueman said. During the same period, fatalities in the U.S. dropped by only 11 percent. But she said efforts are underway to implement the Safe System approach more fully here. 
In particular, she encouraged attendees to take advantage of the new SS4A grant program, which is accepting applications through September 15 at 5 p.m. (For additional information visit njtpa.org/iija.)

The Safe System approach addresses the safety of all road users on an equal basis, including those who walk, bike, drive, ride transit, and travel by other modes. It acknowledges human limitations, and sets expectations for travelers who have the responsibility to operate, to the best of their ability, within the boundaries set by system managers. Education and enforcement can help to guide user behavior, Trueman said.

At the same time, she said, a key focus is to reduce death and serious injuries through design that accommodates human mistakes and injury tolerances. This includes designs that lower vehicle speeds like a modern roundabout which forces drivers to slow down. Trueman said a reduction of 3 mph in average speed on a road with an average speed of 30 mph is expected to reduce crashes resulting injuries by 27 percent and fatalities by 49.

Over the past quarter-century, the town of Carmel, Indiana, has taken a Safe System approach to intersection design, converting more than 125 intersections to roundabouts. Carmel has seen serious injury crashes reduced by about 80 percent and the number of crashes overall has reduced by about 40 percent, according to Trueman.  “Roundabouts move people through intersections more efficiently and safer than stop signs or signalized intersections,” she said, adding they eliminate right angle and head-on crashes.

More information on the Safe System approach is available at safety.fhwa.dot.gov/zerodeaths

Accepting Applications For Local Technical Assistance

Posted: 8/11/2022 2:58:25 PM

Proposals are being accepted for the FY 2023 Together North Jersey (TNJ) Vibrant Places Program, funded by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA).

Morris-Canal-Greenway-Passaic-art-installation.pngThe program offers technical support for creative placemaking projects that enable future place-based investments, complementing other local economic development initiatives.

Eligible applicants include municipal and county governments, nonprofit, community-based or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the NJTPA's 13-county region. Special consideration will be given to collaborations between municipalities, counties, and NGOs.

Examples of previous projects that received technical assistance include:

  • Five sites along the Morris Canal Greenway in Passaic County identified as pilot locations for a public art engagement plan, with a goal of creating replicable templates for other sites along the Greenway.
  • The Town of Dover created a Downtown Dover Visitor’s Guide along with economic revitalization strategies for the downtown area of the Morris County town.
  • The Borough of Bound Brook created a new visual identity that was incorporated into wayfinding signage and other visual media. The Somerset County borough also conducted public engagement and field visits to better understand the history and character of destinations that could be incorporated into a wayfinding system.
  • Custom logo designs were developed for the Middlesex Greenway, along with a short video highlighting the need for improved signage along the greenway and examples of signage used in other greenways and parks around the state.
  • The Urban Essex Coalition designed a temporary creative lighting display along NJTRANSIT rail viaduct underpasses along the Morris & Essex rail line, laying the groundwork for creative placemaking efforts along stations throughout the corridor.
Dover-Visitor-s-Guide-cover.pngUp to four projects will be selected for technical assistance services in the form of staff time from The Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) at Rutgers University and other experts. Projects should be small in scale and must be completed within three to five months and no later than May 31, 2023.

Evaluation criteria and detailed application instructions can be found on the Vibrant Places Program webpage. The deadline to submit proposals is September 15 with notice of decisions in October. Projects are anticipated to begin in late 2022.

For more information, contact Miriam Salerno at [email protected]

Author Pushes For Rejecting Human Error As Traffic Deaths Rise

Posted: 7/14/2022 8:49:09 AM

A decades-long rise in traffic deaths in the United States is an outlier among developed nations, even two years into a global pandemic, something author Jessie Singer attributes to layers of dangerous conditions that have been adding up for years.

Singer, who wrote, There Are No Accidents: The Deadly Rise of Injury and Disaster – Who Profits and Who Pays the Price, gave a presentation on “Rejecting the ‘Human Error’ Explanation” at the July 11 NJTPA Board meeting.

As vehicle safety standards and infrastructure spending have declined in the United States, there has been an increase in the average vehicle size and weight, and the average age of vehicles on the road, leading to a rise in traffic deaths, according to Singer. She doesn’t believe that increases in distracted driving or social deviance during the pandemic should bear the blame for the increase in fatalities.

There is a tendency to put up signs or billboards to address individual behavior but Singer said this leaves in place the dangerous condition. She said enforcement campaigns can also be less effective than physical improvements, because if someone is caught by a police officer one out of five days, they credit good luck for the other four days that they were not caught – and likely won’t change their behavior.

Hierarchy-of-Controls-pyramid.pngThese types of traffic safety efforts exist at the bottom of the pyramid of the Hierarchy of Controls, which looks at ways to control exposure to hazards. Instead, she says the focus should be on the top of the pyramid, which emphasizes eliminating the hazard. For example, narrowing a wide road can force drivers to slow down and drive more carefully because it feels less safe to them.

Focusing on improving conditions is more effective than focusing on changing the behavior of a few “bad apples,” because it reduces the harm for everyone, Singer said. Education campaigns aim to fix the bad apples, while traffic enforcement tries to get rid of the bad apples, she said.

“The bad apple approach is psychologically satisfying,” Singer said, because that leaves the impression that the system is working fine — it’s just a few people who are bad.

Instead, Singer argues against “trying to perfect people’s behavior on the road” and accept that people will be selfish and want to bend the rules. “Design a system that is safe for them the way they are,” she said, making the comparison that automatic fire sprinklers don’t tell people not to smoke or play with matches – they just prevent harmful accidents.

While education and enforcement campaigns can reach a lot of people, Singer made the case that redirecting that funding to improve just one intersection is more beneficial, even if it affects fewer people, because it will save more lives.

Singer pointed to the City of Hoboken, which has not had a traffic fatality in four years – something virtually unseen in the United States – as an example of how inexpensive changes to street design can have a big impact. One simple evidence-based approach to improve safety is "daylighting" intersections by adding paint or bicycle parking to prohibit cars from parking too close to corners. This improves visibility, making it easier for drivers to see people trying to cross.

She also noted that Sweden has one of the best traffic safety records in the world following the country’s commitment in the 1980s to prioritize reducing road injuries and deaths over how quickly the transportation system moved people. “Some American economists might scoff at that but it’s the only direction you should move in if you want to save lives,” she said.

NJTPA Chair John W. Bartlett, a Passaic County Commissioner, said Singer’s presentation gave the board a lot to think about. He noted that the NJTPA places an emphasis on safety in Plan 2050 and its Street Smart NJ pedestrian campaign, but also as it prioritizes funding for projects, including the NJTPA’s Local Safety and High Risk Rural Roads programs.

“It’s a great way for us to think about standards in what we do,” he said of her presentation.

Trucking Industry Update focuses on Driver Shortages, Electric Trucks

Posted: 6/28/2022 12:15:16 PM

The trucking industry is grappling with two challenges affecting many industries – supply chain issues and how to mitigate climate change. 

These were the topics of the Trucking Industry Update at the NJTPA Freight Initiatives Committee’s June 21 meeting.

The truck driver shortage is expected to double from an estimated 80,000 last year to 160,000 by 2030, Nicholas Geale, Vice President of Workforce and Labor Policy at the American Trucking Associations, said during his presentation.

Freight volumes have slowed from 2021 but remain elevated, according to Geale. While freight is transitioning back from the spot (one-time delivery) market to contracts, contract loads have struggled to fully return to pre-pandemic levels due to a lack of drivers and equipment, he said.

ATA-Truck-Driver-Shortage.pngThe pandemic years have been good for trucking generally, according to Geale, with lots of goods being transported, tight capacity and higher rates. Costs have been a challenge, however, when it comes to driver wages, retention and recruitment, liability insurance, equipment prices and availability, and spikes in fuel prices. Many fleets, especially smaller ones, could be in trouble in the next recession, Geale said, noting the potential for consolidation.

Constraints of supply and the lack of equipment and microchips are reaching the trucking industry just as any other. But he noted that the driver shortage is boosting wages.

“If you’re a truck driver, you’re probably the only person in America beating inflation the last three years,” Geale said, with 8.5 percent average annual increases since 2019 for long-haul truckers. “It will take a while to dig out of this supply hole, so driver pay will continue to increase.”

Drivers working fewer hours, due to federal hours of service requirements, and the average driver age reaching nearly 50, means the shortage will only get worse. Geale said the industry needs to work on attracting younger recruits and women, that later of which are only 7 percent of drivers.

“We need to do a better job of telling people about good jobs in the industry,” Geale said. “We can’t fill these jobs unless we make a long-term investment in our people and make it a job people want to be in because it’s a career and has long-term growth.”

In the short term, there are programs like the DRIVE Safe Act apprenticeship program and a task force that aims to increase the number of women in trucking. He emphasized making truck drivers a national in demand position for workforce training funds. In the longer term, Geale said it’s about expanding the poolto attract more women, former felons, young people, urban populations, and veterans among others.

A Look at Zero-Emission Trucks 

The committee also heard from Jeffrey Short, vice president at the Atlanta-based American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), who presented recent findings of their report, “Understanding the CO2 Impacts of Zero-Emission Trucks.”

The study compared the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions across the lifecycle of three types of vehicles: 
  • Internal combustion engine (ICE) powered by diesel
  • Battery electric vehicle (BEV) powered by electricity
  • Fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) powered by hydrogen
It examined production, energy production and consumption, and vehicle disposal and recycling for a Class 8 sleeper cab with a minimum range of 500 miles and vehicle life of one million miles.

The battery on a BEV was about six times more polluting than an ICE truck when it came to carbon dioxide because of the amount of mining and pollution involved in producing it. Production emissions for ICE trucks and FCEV were 75 percent and 84 percent less, respectively, according to the study.

DSC00052-(1).JPGIn terms of energy production and consumption, BEVs and FCEVs were comparable, and approximately 43 percent and 47 percent, respectively, less than the ICE vehicle emissions. The two also were lower in terms of life-cycle emissions by 30 percent and 46 percent, respectively. The two 17,000-pound lithium-ion batteries necessary for BEVs create some 20 times more emissions when it comes to disposal and recycling. Those batteries also impact BEVs in a lost revenue weight analysis versus ICE trucks.

The projected decrease in fuel production emissions for BEVs is more than 19 percent by 2030 and almost 34 percent by 2034. It’s “not as significant as you would think and not the panacea for decarbonizing the trucking industry,” Short said.

Both presentations and a recording of the meeting are available here.

A Brief Guide to NJTPA Planning publication

Posted: 6/22/2022 10:36:45 AM

The 2022 edition of the 16-page publication A Brief Guide to NJTPA Planning has been released. A flip-book is below and a pdf can be downloaded here.


Jersey City Study Explores Expanding Transportation Options

Posted: 6/20/2022 3:53:21 PM

Jersey City “punches above its weight” when it comes to public transportation options, but a new study aims to address underserved areas within New Jersey’s second-largest city.

Elias Guseman, senior transportation planner for the Jersey City Division of City Planning presented findings from the JC on the Move study to the NJTPA’s Regional Transportation Advisory Committee (RTAC) during its June 13 meeting.

The study explored innovative and emerging transportation modes to address service gaps and expand the network. It was completed through the NJTPA’s Subregional Studies Program. The competitive grant program is open to the 13 counties and two cities on the NJTPA’s Board.

The study found that most trips were between the waterfront, Newport and Paulus Hook; Downtown to those three neighborhoods; and, between Journal Square and surrounding neighborhoods.

Transit service is oriented around peak periods and several major job and activity centers are difficult to access via walking, biking, and transit, according to the study. Traveling between certain places can take significantly longer on transit.

Some communities that are more reliant on transit have relatively poor access to it. Neighborhoods with significant levels of biking lack safe infrastructure and/or access to Citi Bike, the city’s bike share program, the study found. Citi Bike had the smallest drop in ridership among the transit options during the pandemic, down 12 percent in 2020 and 7 percent in 2021, compared with larger double-digit declines across the other modes.

Bus-stop-Fairmount-Ave-Jersey-City.jpgThe study recommends expanding existing modes, such as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), microtransit (like the City’s Via shuttle) and bike share. Various innovative modes and technologies were scored based on the best fit for Jersey City, the most feasible, and when they might become available. Scoring the highest were microtransit, BRT, and bike share, followed closely by autonomous vehicle (AV) shuttle, mobility hubs, and Mobility as a Service, which is a platform that would allow people to use various modes (NJ TRANSIT, PATH, Citi Bike, Via) through one payment and scheduling system.

The study suggests implementing BRT along John F. Kennedy Boulevard, and reducing the number of stops on local service stops and further studying the best ways to streamline that service. The Via vehicle fleet could be increased to reduce wait times and improve on-time performance and expand service by extending Saturday and evening hours and adding Sunday. The study also suggests adding Citi Bike stations in The Heights, Greenville and the West Side.

The city could run its own pilot AV shuttle program, similar to what the City of Trenton is working on, in an area that lacks transportation options. or It could also work with jitney providers to upgrade and enhance services including transitioning to AVs and/or electric vehicles, improving customer communications, and integrating into a Mobility as a Service platform.

The study suggests establishing a working group of community stakeholders and partners to develop a vision and goals for the Mobility as a Service program. This would include data management groups to address integration of service provides into the same booking and payment platform. Guseman said the study identified several Mobility Hubs where this platform could be piloted, including:

  • Journal Square
  • Newport PATH station
  • Garfield Avenue light rail station
  • Danforth Avenue light rail station
  • Kennedy Boulevard between Communipaw and Grant avenues
  • West Side Avenue and Kensington Avenue, adjacent to Lincoln Park (existing Citi Bike dock)
  • Bergen and Jewett avenues (existing City Bike dock)
  • Central Avenue between Thorne and Congress streets and/or by Washington Park

The study is being finalized and will be posted to the JC on the Move study webpage in the coming weeks.

Passaic County Creates Bicycle Master Plan

Posted: 6/16/2022 9:10:50 AM

Passaic County’s first bicycle master plan provides guidelines and standards on the types of facilities and detailed recommendations for a dozen locations that would create an expansive network of bike lanes spanning all 16 municipalities.

Andras Holzmann, supervising planner for the Passaic County Department of Planning, presented an overview of BIKE Passaic County to the NJTPA’s Regional Transportation Advisory Committee during its June 13 meeting. The study was completed through the NJTPA’s Subregional Studies Program, a competitive grant program open to the 13 counties and two cities on the NJTPA Board.

Bike-Passaic-County-MAP.pngWith an area of nearly 200 square miles, Passaic County features a diverse geography, ranging from urban areas in the south, like the county seat of Paterson, its largest city, to rural areas in the north. The plan looked at areas that could connect to trails and future trails, such as the Morris Canal Greenway, Highlands Rail Trail, and NYS&W Trail in Morris County that briefly veers into Wayne, as well as to commercial corridors, downtowns and transit, according to Holzmann.

The plan presents detailed recommendations, called concept level plans, for each of the following locations:

  • West Milford Connection to Highlands Rail Trail, West Milford and Ringwood
  • Ringwood Connection to Highlands Rail Trail, Ringwood
  • Main Street Complete Street, Bloomingdale
  • Morris Canal Greenway Connection, Wayne
  • Black Oak Ridge Connections to Morris Canal Greenway, Wayne
  • Parish Drive Connections to Morris Canal Greenway, Wayne
  • Wayne-Haledon Community Connection, Wayne and Haledon
  • High Mountain Road Connection to Nature Preserve, North Haledon
  • Hawthorne North-South Connection, Hawthorne
  • McBride Avenue, Woodland Park
  • Clifton Avenue, Clifton
  • Passaic-Clifton Community Connection, Passaic and Clifton

The plans include overviews of each location, maps, proposed improvements, and the level of difficulty to implement.

These preliminary concepts aim to build support for potential improvements and assist in developing funding and grant applications for design work and construction.

The study also resulted in the creation of a Pattern Book, which will serve as a design guide that includes standards for creating on- and off-road bike lanes, shared roads, pavement markings and more.

The master plan aims to increase safety and comfort, enhance access and mobility, inspire collaboration and coordination between government agencies and departments, and build community support for bicycling, and support economic, health, resiliency, and sustainability efforts.

The plan also makes planning and policy recommendations including:

  • Establishing a bicycle/pedestrian or Complete Streets Advisory Committee with the responsibility of advising municipal staff and boards on bicycle projects and needs.
  • Creating opportunities for people in Passaic County to borrow or purchase bikes, e-bikes, and tools at low or no cost.
  • Engaging local groups to develop and implement an Open Streets event.
  • Developing a plan for bicycle wayfinding signage.

Holzmann said during the study some communities raised concerns about removing parking spaces to add bike lanes. The design guide presents some solutions, such as “hybrid streets,” which use a parallel network of bike lanes without impacting parking in tight urban areas, so if there are bike lanes in one direction on one street, they go in the other direction on another street. He said there are other potential options that could also be explored. “It’s something that we have to go into further detail about with those municipalities.”

Once the final report is completed it will be shared on the study webpage.