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POLL: What Do You Think About ‘Complete Streets’ in the Borough?

Borough Council adopted a ‘Complete Streets’ policy at the March 22 meeting.

The looks to make local roads more user friendly with the adoption of the ‘Complete Streets’ policy.

The policy adopted at the March 22 meeting, requires the Borough to make necessary accommodations for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users. Some examples of accommodations include adding accessible sidewalks, curb ramps, crosswalks, countdown pedestrian signals, curb extensions, and more, in order to fulfill the New Jersey Department of Transportations definition of a complete street.

In previous years, the Borough prepared a Local Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan with grant funding from the state and from the Department of Transportation. According to the resolution, the newly adopted policy would only enhance the town's pervious measures taken to improve the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, children, older citizens, non-drivers and the mobility challenged.

The resolution states that “Freehold Borough supports this ‘Complete Streets’ initiative and wishes to reinforce its commitment to creating a comprehensive, integrated, connected street network that safely accommodates all road users of all abilities and for all trips.”

John F. Newman March 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Another aspect of the Complete Streets policy (a policy adopted by the State, Monmouth County and several municipalities throughout the state) is that it also opens up additional opportunities for state funding of street projects.
gary gravatt March 24, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Gary Gravatt The Boro wastes time and money on studies and surveys but not once have I heard anyone say anything about enforcing the bicycle and pedestrian laws. Bicycles are required BY LAW to follow ALL of the same laws as a motor vehicle. They are not allowed to ride on the sidewalks, they must stop for red lites, stop signs, and pedestrians. You want to make the streets safer, enforce the laws,
Team Sheen March 24, 2012 at 01:15 PM
I like this. Let's face it - the Boro has it's fair share of bikes and pedestrians and some safety & direction is warranted. Now if it gets enforced we'll be in the right direction.
Richard Berger March 24, 2012 at 03:29 PM
I think the complete streets idea is good for two reasons: 1) the Boro's sidewalks have too many cyclists on the sidewalks which is illegal. Having complete streets will clear up that and add safety to pedestrians. 2) Freehold will be moving in the right direction and the streets will then facilitate in those riding on the Henry Hudson Trail to continue into the downtown area for lunch or site seeing.
Claudine Scozzari March 24, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Is there a better label for this type of policy? I have a problem with the planner's label on the policy, not the INFRASTRUCTURE POLICY of a local jurisdiction, in this case Freehold Borough. A label of street allows the lawyers who sue because they don't want this policy to allow for the legal matters to allow for PEDESTRIAN TRAFFIC to use a street's travelway or travel lane. In this case, in the court's wisdom, the local judges will rule that pedestrians have a legal right to walk down a travel lane generally used by vehicles with an engine installed; thereby, creating TRAFFIC. It not only becomes PEDESTRIAN TRAFFIC; it now becomes VEHICULAR TRAFFIC, as well. There is no LAW (as of this current date) that states eminent domain can not be used for pedestrian walkways separating VEHICULAR TRAFFIC and PEDESTRIAN TRAFFIC. I would like "complete streets" in my State, meaning I would like the government to assure each community has compete streets. This should mean the following: 1. Property acquistion is competed. 2. Proper materials are used. 3. Safety measures follow the federal and state law. Unfortunately, the courts in this state still have ignored those three initial principles in certain jurisdictions. According to these three principles, the Borough has "complete streets".
Kathy Mulholland March 24, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Actually, bicyclists riding on pedestrian sidewalks is not illegal. It's up to local entities to determine if they want to make it so, and if so, it must be posted. The law says everyone riding bicycles on roads must follow rules of the road. If anybody can cite local ordinance about bicycles, pls. share. Here's the state's: http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/commuter/bike/regulations.shtm
Claudine Scozzari March 24, 2012 at 07:05 PM
The illegal action occurs when a vehicle installed with a motorized engine fails to yield to the pedestrian with/without a bicycle or mis-judges the actual width of the roadway causing the vehicle to use the off-roadway right-of-way as the travelway. And, I believe that falls under the classification of pedestrian accident. I don't know why Freehold Borough has this type of issue. The Borough is dry. Do any of the businesses still have liquor licenses? If you can't drive a vehicle with an installed motorized engine on the roadway of the right-of-way, maybe you shouldn't be driving.
Kathy Mulholland March 24, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Claudine, I don't understand your post in response; but the Borough is far from "dry." There's at least one liquor store downtown, and several reastaurants have liquor licenses. I don't see the connection between "dry" and this discussion ("Complete streets").
Michele Tidd Pfannenstiel March 24, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Before we worry about complete streets, why don't we fix the sidewalks? My 4 year old tripped on an uneven sidewalk and nearly ruined a brand new pair of pants. And, if we want to discuss enforcement of pedestrian and bicycle rules, it is going to take some cross cultural communication. Merely saying "enforce the law" isn't enough. Getting into the community and finding the people that can create change is not easy, but in the long run, it is the only solution,
Priscilla Burke March 24, 2012 at 10:05 PM
If the people of Feehold would use the sidewalks and not walk in the streets like they do, or cross the street at any spot like they do, Freehold would be safe. The town is not that big and I even hate to drive thru it. People walk right out between the parked cars. The laws have to be enforced.
Jane Healton March 25, 2012 at 01:27 AM
When there are no accomodations for the pedestrian, as in no sidewalks (which is the case in the west end) or no convenient cross walks then the pedestrians will take the path that seems most do-able. The problem on the major streets is the disrespect of pedestrian right-of-ways by traffic driving through the town. These folks mostly view Freehold Borough as an impediment in their journey. Slowing down to the posted speed limit or pausing for someone pushing a stroller or walking with the aid of a cane seems to be too much to ask. We do have commuter bicyclists and they travel some roads I definitely am not brave enough to try. Bullying drivers, reckless pedestrians and hapless bicyclists are always going to be with us, the task is how to rein in the mayhem.
Richard Berger March 25, 2012 at 03:35 AM
In your link, it is stated, "In New Jersey, the law states a bicyclist must obey all state and local automobile driving laws." Driving an automobile on a sidewalk is illegal...
Claudine Scozzari March 25, 2012 at 01:58 PM
The comment refers to safety of the pedestrian or pedestrian with a bicycle. The Borough does not have a flooding problem where the bicyclist is dodging massive areas of ponding, like in a Jersey City, NJ area where pedestian traffic is in conflict with major flooding. When you get into the details of the actual issue, there may be regional problems (or State of New Jersey problems) that may affect the discussion of "Complete Street". For the most part, the regional governing bodies and the engineering departments in the regional area are sane in the infrastructure policies; however, there are some various other regional areas with the State of New Jersey (or the State of New Jersey itself) that may distort the actual issue. I don't want you to misconstrue my reference to Jersey City, NJ. I have nothing against Jersey City, NJ or the infrastructure in Jersey City, NJ's region. But, there are some differing issues that may distort the "Complete Streets" concept. The State of New Jersey has appointed Louis Valentin, a former Monmouth County prosecutor, to the NJDOT inspector general position, so I really don't think Monmouth County is all that bad in terms of infrastruction policy. How else would Mr. Valentin been appointed?
Claudine Scozzari March 25, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Throckmorton Road has this problem, and it is a NJ TRANSIT route.
Victoria March 25, 2012 at 03:54 PM
There are times of the day where driving a car in the Borough is a terrifying task. During the morning and evening rush hour times I find myself dodging numerous bicycles and pedestrians in the middle of the street and crossing streets wherever they like. Having to constantly swerve or stop creates a risk of a pile up of cars or one of these pedestrians/bicyclists getting hit. Most of the highly traveled routes have sidewalks and crosswalks (Throckmorton St. and Haley St. especially) so there is no reason for pedestrians to be in the middle of the road. Yet there is no enforcement or task force to keep these people from creating a hazardous situation. A bike lane (and enforcement of its use) on these highly traveled streets would be very beneficial. Freehold Borough is now a very pedestrian community and I doubt that is going to change. The Borough needs programs like Complete Streets to adapt to the new face of the town. As a side note, I think better enforcement and regulation of the numerous taxis now zipping around town is needed too. If I am not dodging rogue pedestrians I am trying to anticipate what asinine maneuver the taxis are going to make next. I especially take issue with the sudden stopping in the middle of roads to discharge/pick up passengers, failure to observe stop signs, and rarely using turn signals. If I did any of these things I would have a stack of traffic tickets and my car insurance would be so high I would need a third job.
Claudine Scozzari March 25, 2012 at 04:03 PM
I thought this Monmouth County! Which jurisdiction?
Kathy Mulholland March 25, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Freehold Borough is its own municipality, located within the county of Monmouth and surrounded by Freehold Township. The roads are controlled by the Borough, mostly, with some being County (and state) roads. Agreements between County and Borough specify certain roads are controlled/managed by one entity or the other.
Claudine Scozzari March 25, 2012 at 04:57 PM
For maintenance items such as plowing snow, the State of New Jersey doesn't have maintenance agreement with the municipality for State owned property (Route 79 AKA South Street; business Route 33 AKA Park Avenue; and US Route 33 with access ramps)? Why are my local tax dollars funding property maintenance for State owned property?
Jane Healton March 25, 2012 at 09:18 PM
The state does plow the state owned roads and the county gets Manalapan Blvd, which you can tell because they are always better treated than Borough roadways. But the significance of NJ ownership of some of our most heavily traveled roads is that the Borough can only ask sweetly for the DOT to approve changes on those roads, such as lights, lanes, signage, etc. If DOT doesn't approve all the plans of the local municipality go to naught. You left out Main Street, Rte 537, is a state owned road. The Borough never paves these roads either.
Joan Odud March 25, 2012 at 09:46 PM
One of the biggest problems with and for pedestrians on RT 537 is the very faded white lines indicating crosswalks. It is very difficult as a driver, especially at night, to see the legitimate crosswalks. I wouldn't think repainting these white lines would be too expensive or difficult to do. Better enforcement of the "stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk" would also be helpful. I have been stopped at a crosswalk as a pedestrian is crossing only to have a car pull around me and continue going forward forcing the pedestrian to jump back. This has happened at least half a dozen times in the last few months. Joan Odud
Michele Tidd Pfannenstiel March 26, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Also something to consider is where people cross when not using a cross walk. Often the "desired path" deviates from the regulated path. Sometimes this is important, but sometimes the desired path could be accommodated.
Claudine Scozzari March 26, 2012 at 11:44 AM
When you are dealing with State employees, I wouldn't ask sweetly. I would put all of these request in writing using strong action verbs demanding this property owner maintain their proper. Any amibiquity in the wording of such request may suggest to the State worker (and the AG's office, their legal representation) they (meaning the State) don't have to do it. After all, this is a free country, and civil liberties grants us all rights to do what we want. Secondly as per the issue of Manalapan Blvd. and County Route 537, technically in perfect world, their should be maintenance agreements for this eminent domain property filed in the County Clerk's office specifying who plows, mows, and generally maintains (like a drainage issue) the roadway. If you own a Condo/townhouse, this maintenance agreement is similar to the Homeowner's Bi-Laws filed in the County Clerk's office for the Homeowner's Association. County Route 537 is county owned, but is specifically called out as a roadway on the federal aid system, making the State the "Account Oversear of the Estate" of the federal funding it receives. If these documents haven't been filed in the County Clerk's Office as of yet, it is because the civil engineers/right-of-way department at the NJDOT require the assistance of the State Attorney (AG's office) for legal filing of legal documents.
Claudine Scozzari March 26, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Using the proper materials, the public works department should be able to fill out the proper paperwork for this budgetary line item to receive funding for this maintenance item. Unless, there is no maintenance funding left in the budget or the Feds have halted this type of maintenance activity.
John F. Newman March 30, 2012 at 03:44 PM
For those further interested in this topic, see related article in today's Patch. An invitation by the Mayor for a bike ride through town followed by a discussion. http://freehold.patch.com/articles/bike-ride-with-the-mayor
John F. Newman March 30, 2012 at 08:35 PM
to clarify the sidewalk issue which was mentioned in this thread: The NJ DOT posted on its bike FAQs, that it is legal to ride on sidewalks unless there is a local ordinance to the contrary (http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/commuter/bike/faqs.shtm) Here is the borough ordinance from freeholdboro.org 10.40.060 Riding on sidewalks prohibited. No bicycle or similar vehicle shall be ridden on any of the sidewalks of the borough. This chapter shall not prevent the use of toy bicycles or children’s tricycles on a sidewalk by very young children, or children not over eight years of age. (Prior code § 5-10.6)
Claudine Scozzari March 31, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Wow, you can file this under things I would have never expected the adults of the community to do. For a community that is so concerned with the safety of children, you are expecting a nine (9) year old to play in traffic. And, I say this confidently, because the State case law and the legal community fought and won for the right to allow a reduced roadway width making the available travelway for the 9 year old to ride that brand new bicycle on that roadway much more dangerous than in the recent past. This is because the adults of the community can't share the sidewalk with a 9 year old on a bicycle. As an adult in the community, I think those adults who exert their power by making rules in the community that might interfere in the quality of human life of other human beings should go back to kindergarten. In a court of law, a minor is a human being with rights, whether the adults want those minors to have rights or not. I am been told the children in this community are learning how to share by participating in activities with other children. There are many adults in positions of power in this community that might benefit from a this type of education. I blame the judges and their rulings to allow this to occur since the court rulings in this State may have created this unsafe situation for the minors of the community. The design width in a walking community should be 5 feet wide, as opposed to the reduced 4 foot width that was used in the past.
Kathy Mulholland March 31, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Claudine, I kind of think this is the point behind the "Complete Streets" and bicycle-friendly initiatives that are being presented. I would, personally, like to see the bike-on-the-sidewalk age raised to 16. But Freehold has too many bicyclists of adult age riding on the sidewalks; a community can absorb and tolerate a few random violators, but the number of people who use bicycles for purposeful transportation AND use sidewalks for that is very high here. I agree that sumarily kicking adult riders off of the sidewalks alone is not a complete answer. I think bicycles are great; Freehold has a great bicycle history; many people here, including children, use bikes for transportation. I ride some myself. Freehold needs a comprehensive and well-throught-out...and evenly applied...bicycle infrastructure that includes regulations/ordinances, proper signage, improved lane access, and even enforcement. I think your alarmist adults-lording-power-over-helpless-minors tone is a bit over-the-top, though perhaps you're just using hyperbole to make a point.
Claudine Scozzari March 31, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Quite honestly, I don't think it is over the top. The reason: The moment Freehold Borough places a law in writing in the form of an ordinance, the law is then open for interpretration in the courts. An intrepration by the couts means that some judge is ruling from the bench. Quite frankly, the wording of the ordinance lends itself to that over the top intepretation. People ride bicycles in Freehold Borough. If curteous behavior is observed, why do need an ordinance about a bicycle on the sidewalk. It is safer for that particular mode of transportation to be on a sidewalk, as opposed to traveling with a tractor trailor making a delivery. Accidents happen, and you want to avoid dangerous situations. However, making a decision on which pedestrians may use the sidewalk is in itself over the top. The township now has a facility where motorized wheelchairs are used, which take up more space on the sidewalk. And, the township has the same zip code as Freehold Borough, lending itself in a question of which municipality from a United State Postal Service perspective. I just don't understand why the local officials would "open a can of worms that doesn't need to be opened". People in this community can't be curteous to one another. Or, do you have a problem with the people in this community that don't use fancy cars.
Richard Berger April 01, 2012 at 02:07 AM
With complete streets, we wouldn't be having this argument.
Claudine Scozzari April 01, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Without the end-user, we wouldn't be having this argument.

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