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Jersey Builds Extensive, Controversial Bike Lanes

How can your town be made safe for cyclists, without inconveniencing drivers?

Bike lanes in Jersey are popping up like dandelions this summer: municipalities from Jersey City to Cape May are adding bike lanes and paths in order to fit New Jersey’s Complete Streets Policy, adopted in December of 2009.

Christie has dedicated $81.6 million to municipalities throughout the state for transportation projects, and a total of $1 million was distributed last year among three counties in the Bikeway Grant Program.

"Complete Streets are designed with all users - bikers, walkers, transit riders and drivers - in mind," says the New Jersey Department of Transportation. Construction on Route 35 includes bike lanes in compliance with the complete streets policy.

"Whenever we view a project, we look to incorporate a complete streets element," DOT spokesman Steve Schapiro told NJ.com. "Route 35 is a perfect place to showcase it. We’ve got an area that in the summer attracts a lot of families and people come down to the Shore for recreation opportunities — and many of them do enjoy bicycling."

But although Complete Streets have been adopted at the state level, they haven't been approved everywhere by local governments. Out of New Jersey's 565 municipal governments, only 90 have approved complete street policies.

Even municipalities with complete streets policies are running into problems: in Jersey City, the bike lanes are on the wrong side of the street, but the city took two weeks to fix their mistake; in Ridgewood, cyclists and pedestrians are protesting unsafe road construction.

“What you see is poor implementation or no implementation,” said Cyndi Steiner, Executive Director of the New Jersey Bike + Walk Coalition. “It's just lack of understanding of the benefits of this. Many people here in New Jersey see bike lanes as this torrent of errant cyclists. They think all hell's going to break loose.”

But the majority of bicyclist injuries and fatalities are caused by cars. 1.6 people per million residents in New Jersey have died in bike accidents, and New Jersey Bicycle and Pedestrian Advocacy lists 6 pedestrians and cyclists who died over Memorial Day Weekend because they were struck by cars.

Often passing a complete streets policy is not enough.

"There's a huge difference between having a policy passed and actually implemented," Steiner says. "You could head over to towns that have passed the Complete Street policy on your bike, and you wouldn't see bike lanes or crosswalks.”

“A policy passed is really just the beginning of the process,” she adds. “Many towns pass the policy and put it on the shelf."
Joe R June 02, 2014 at 10:54 AM
I have a bell on my bike and use it liberally. But in most cases, the walkers or joggers can hear me coming from behind even before I ring the bell and they move to the right. As a biker, I always yield to pedestrians, I feel they have primacy over the biker. I keep to the right on the trail because I can't hear bikers from behind me because of all the noise of my own bike plus ambient noise levels (geese, wind, planes, PU crew, etc.).
William June 02, 2014 at 04:56 PM
Biking is great walking is also great, but both are low impact exercises. Jogging is a notch up, Running takes dedication, I had Quadruple Heart Bypass some 35 years or so ago, My job was some what strenuous, I rode a Bike for 35 years on the job on and off , at 73 and retired , No more bikes running, jogging, for me, Cutting 1/2 a grass beach walks, is my exercise But as they say check with your doctor to see if you are fit to exercise, heck if a Car don't get you a heart attack may. good luck, oh and lastly it may be against the law in some areas to pedal you BUTT. :)
Gordo K June 03, 2014 at 03:23 AM
All this stuff about bike lanes ... what about horse lanes?
Lulu's Mom June 19, 2014 at 02:58 PM
Bikers, walkers, joggers, horse back riders on roads blasting themselves with head sets and disobeying the rules of the road. Bike riders fly through yellow and red lights and zip past pedestrians on the sidewalks. It is illegal for a bike to be ridden on the sidewalk but police standing there in front of Kings or other places say nothing. People are sauntering or running through traffic in the middle of the block with their hand up as if it is their right to stop traffic at will. What do you plan, remove all street parking and make bike lanes? Many people can not get around without their cars and/or need them for small things like transporting children or others, doing errands which demand packages… Our weather is often inclement and some people are not physically able to walk/bike everywhere. You people are self-centered and dangerous.
Joe Russo June 23, 2014 at 11:36 AM
My comments have to do with the Johnson Trolly Line extending into Lawrence. Town Council ran for election, with Public Safety being one of it's promises. All this pathway will do is bring crime into Lawrence from Ewing and Trenton. Of course it will empower the resume's of Council and anyone else pushing it for thier own agenda. Keep the pathway out, or we might as well stack our belongings at the curb, for criminals to take, it's the same thing.

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