Monmouth County, West Windsor Twp Adopt Complete Streets Policies
When the NJDOT adopted its Complete Streets policy last fall, it included a provision establishing an incentive within the Local Aid Program (a major source of funding for local road projects) for counties and municipalities to adopt their own Complete Streets policies. Unfortunately, in the months since the NJDOT adopted their policy, Montclair remained the only community in the state with its own Complete Streets policy, until now. On July 22nd, Monmouth became the first county in New Jersey to adopt a Complete Streets policy. On July 19th, West Windsor Township, in Mercer County, became the second municipality in the state, after Montclair, to adopt a Complete Streets policy.
Both policies are modeled on the one adopted by the NJDOT. Of the two, West Windsor’s policy is the more definitive, resolving that “all public street projects, both new construction and reconstruction (excluding maintenance) undertaken by the Township of West Windsor shall be designed and constructed as “complete streets” whenever feasible to do so“. In contrast, Monmouth’s policy establishes “a checklist of pedestrian, bicycle and transit accommodations such as accessible sidewalks curb ramps, crosswalks, countdown pedestrian signals, signs, curb extensions, pedestrian scale lighting, bike lanes, and shoulders for consideration in each project where county jurisdiction applies.”
While the NJDOT’s adoption of a Complete Streets policy was a critical first step in changing the way we think about roads, and their users, in the state, the real work in implementing the concept will need to be done at the local level. That is because, for all its clout, the NJDOT only controls about 12% of roads (excluding highways), and it is the counties and municipalities in charge of the other 88% who decide whether or not to construct a “complete” street. Hopefully, more towns and counties will follow the lead of Monmouth and West Windsor in adopting road policies aimed at accommodating all users, not just those who drive.