"Complete Streets" advocate Jerry Fried urged the Planning Board Thursday to join dozens of other New Jersey municipalities in support of making streets safe for all users - drivers, walkers, bikers and people with disabilities.
Fried, the former mayor of Montclair, showed how streets there were modified to slow traffic and create access for all. The New Jersey Department of Transportation adopted a Complete Streets policy in 2009 and since then numerous counties and municipalities have followed suit. Not only do complete streets give access to all, Fried said, they can improve health and make towns more attractive.
The NJDOT has published a Complete Streets guidebook that explains all the benefits of walkability and bike lanes, with step-by-step advice on how to develop, adopt and implement a Complete Streets policy.
Fried saw Plainfield as being well-suited for such a policy, noting the city's "great bones," in contrast to cities such as Orange and East Orange that were split by highways.
On a personal note, I have been an advocate of walkability since deciding not to get another car about six years ago, and certainly Plainfield has no stronger advocate for bike access than Planning Director Bill Nierstedt, who often rides to work on his bike.
Fried mentioned the possibility of increased safety for seniors when car drivers learn to share the road, and anyone trying to cross at Park & Seventh would surely welcome that change.
Planning Board Chairman Ron Scott-Bey said the board will consider a Complete Streets policy when revising the master plan...