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Cranford Residents Asked To Sign Petition To Make Streets Safer

Several residents have already signed the online document urging the governing body to create a 'Complete Streets' Policy.

Nearly 100 residents have signed a petition urging the Township Committee to adopt a policy that would create a "Complete Streets" policy in the municipality.

The petition is the brainchild of Cranford resident Rebecca Hoeffler, who wants officials to adopt a plan that will keep children and adults safe on township roadways.

"Supporting a Complete Streets Policy will ensure Cranford Residents and their children are granted safe pathways throughout the town of Cranford," Hoeffler said.

A Complete Streets policy, she explained, would create bike lanes, safe sidewalks and lighter flow of automobile traffic. Hoeffler insists that available funding through Sustainable Jersey - a certification program for  municipalities in New Jersey that want to go green, save money, and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term - can "revolutionize" Cranford’s safety, health and transportation concerns while not burdening the budget.

"We can also use this chance to implement permeable surfaces through this program which can help the town to mitigate the damaging effects of flooding.
Here is the link to the petition and attached is the flyer," Hoeffler said.

Hoeffler said she has managed to get local organizations such as the Cranford Environmental Commission and the Chamber of Commerce to join her efforts, by sending out the link to the petition in their regular email blasts to members. In addition, the local cable access channel, TV35, will be featuring it on the Bulletin Board.

The online petition, which can be found by clicking here, or typing the following address into your browser: http://www.change.org/petitions/cranford-residents-support-a-complete-streets-policy.

According to the online petition, "completing Cranford's Streets will involve community effort in order to support the necessary changes to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. Creating safe pathways to our schools will allow students to enjoy riding their bikes or walking to school in a safe environment."

In addition, the petition states that "alleviating the traffic congestion in the morning and afternoon by making sure the roads are safe for more than one mode of transportation will increase the quality of life for our town's residents."

Hoeffler also indicates in the petition that a Complete Streets policy would also help achieve better health and more focus in the classroom, and would stimulate the economy and create more unity within the township.

"Studies show that students who exercise in the morning tend to be more focused once they are in the classroom," the petition states. "Designated pathways leading to our downtown and various points of interest will stimulate economic activity as well as community unity. The chance to implement permeable surfaces to our town can be done through this program and will help mitigate the damaging effects of flooding.

Township Engineer Richard Marsden and Commissioner Andis Kalnins could not immediately be reached for comments regarding the feasibility of such a plan.

RJS@BHS October 09, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Very nice to read a positive, Cranford focused article in the Patch. Good job.
Michele October 09, 2012 at 02:10 PM
This would be a great thing to do but how much funding actually comes from "Sustainable New Jersey"? All of it? If not are the taxpayers left holding the bag? A Complete Streets Policy that ensured there were safe pathways throughout the town of Cranford would cost mega bucks.
Rebecca Hoeffler October 09, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Great Question!! Thankfully starting a petition to show the towns people are in support of this policy opens up many more opportunities for funding, even outside of Sustainable Jersey such as the Department of Transportation which list the benefits of a Complete Streets here: http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/eng/completestreets/faqs.shtm NJDOT is going to give money where is it most needed, most deserved and most likely to get used in the proper and most beneficial way, which is why it is so important to get individual citizens to support it. The price of the renovations is determined at the time of the assessment so either the funding could cover all of it or a modest amount would be left for the municipality. Even without the funding, these improvements are the exact things municipalities should be paying for. A complete streets policy is not carte blanche for municipalities to be frivolous with tax payer’s dollars; it’s actually a policy to insurance that tax payer’s dollars are being used wisely.
Michele October 09, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Thank you for clarifying that. I was concerned about already overburdened tax payers being hit with another costly project. As someone who loves to ride my bike and walk I would LOVE this. There are some streets that I avoid specifically because they are heavily trafficked. To establish bike lanes and safe walking areas would make me feel more comfortable. To be honest traffic, particularly in the center of town and on Walnut, North, South and Centennial, not to mention Springfield is heavy and hazardous. Considering the construction currently going on, I can only see this getting worse. Furthemore there are an awful lot of rude drivers out there. I will sign the petition and urge others to do the same.
AD October 09, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Michele, the actual implementation of Complete Streets objectives can be quite inexpensive. For example, simply painting bike lanes or shared lane arrows ("sharrows") on certain streets involves paint - which is inexpensive and readily available - and labor. One can certainly argue that labor costs can be high, but if crews are out striping and maintaining roads anyway, then a few additional lines/markings won't increase costs markedly. While costs are generally low, the benefits are significant, namely safer travel conditions for both drivers and cyclists. That's just one example. Obviously more infrastructure-heavy projects - sidewalk widening, physical separation between car and bike lanes, etc. - would involve greater investment. But in a town like Cranford, with so much character and so many amenities, investments like those would be appropriate and worth it (in my opinion).
Rebecca Hoeffler October 09, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Thank you so much Michele! I will make sure to exhaust all possible resources to keep this out of the pocket of the residents!!!
Toniann Antonelli (Editor) October 09, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Thank you!
Toniann Antonelli (Editor) October 09, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Michele, I reached out to local officials but didn't get an immediate response. If the governing body moves forward with anything, I'm sure they'll get more detailed with info about funding.
Toniann Antonelli (Editor) October 09, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Thanks Anthony and Rebecca for your responses!
Bob October 10, 2012 at 10:40 AM
What happened to teaching your kids not to play in the streets, look both ways before crossing, respecting the roads/traffic? What side effect is this going to have on the already congested traffic? I can't imagine widening sidewalks and trimming down the narrow streets to create a bike line are going to improve traffic conditions.
Kathleen G October 10, 2012 at 11:38 AM
My question would be...where, on these roads in cranford does one think bike and ped lanes can be separately implemented? the roaads are narrow enough to begin with. Widen them? sure...that's more money down the drain just like the useless costly belgian blocks I see popping up on the streets. I'm all for anything environmentally sound, but like the one comment says, what happened to teaching our kids safety? How do you stop the high school kids from stepping off the curb at an intersection into a line of traffic without looking because they feel they have the right of way? Bike and ped. lanes certainly won't stop it. Teaching pedestrian safety will.
AD October 10, 2012 at 06:13 PM
I agree that pedestrian safety should be taught. No one should blindly step into the street because they feel entitled. But education goes both ways; drivers must follow the speed limit and recognize that pedestrians have the right of way when in a crosswalk. In NJ, by law, drivers must stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Re: playing in the street, I think kids should be able to play in the street, where appropriate. I can’t think of many places where kids don’t play in the street. Yesterday I noticed kids playing football in the street. To me, that’s a sign of neighborhood vibrancy and a better option than playing video games. Re: bike lanes, they should not go on all streets. On streets with less traffic, bike lanes are unnecessary. But on streets of sufficient width that connect to key destinations, bike lanes or other markings are appropriate. And bike lanes won’t exacerbate congestion. In fact, they could help reduce it. For one, bike lanes should only be installed on streets where the width allows. Space should not be taken from established travel lanes which could otherwise slow traffic. Also, providing improved mobility options for all would only reduce traffic by encouraging people to bike or walk instead of drive. Not everyone bikes, but we’re all pedestrians at some point. And in a compact town like Cranford, where destinations are fairly close by and many folks walk or bike, travelers of all ages & abilities should feel comfortable on the streets.
Rosanne October 10, 2012 at 11:37 PM
The roadways and the work of law enforcement in Cranford have been excellent. If we read all that is being done to apprehend drivers in various vehicle situations on the busy corridors in town, it seems we have few street crimes or accidents due to police awareness and vigilance. We happen to live in an area close to major roadways with access from several towns, which makes the job even more difficult. Was there a consensus taken prior to the issuing this petition that actually spoke to the insecuity of the citizens or a lack of proper surveillance? I agree pedestrian safety should be observed and bikers of all types should be aware of the rules of the road. The word "sustainable" has been used recently in political speeches by one political party, and it has yet to be defined properly to "substantiate" yet another green program. With all due respect, let's applaud those who enforce code and transportation safety everyday of the week and then responsibly obey and teach those in our charge how to do the same.
Bob October 11, 2012 at 09:33 AM
Another thing that nobody has mentioned is what happens to the parking spots once the bike lanes are in place? Do we lose valuable parking in order to create these lanes? If the lanes are drawn closer to the center lines then the streets become MUCH more narrow. This is a good idea in theory, however, it doesn't seem too practical. Pedestrian safety is important and that is why the police have been conducting the crosswalk traps. Conversely, traffic must flow through town. The congestion can be relieved by changing the timing of the traffic lights. They are currently timed so that drivers are caught at each light. If we let traffic flow then people may be less agitated and drive slower and more safely. The issues can be improved for BOTH the pedestrians and the drivers. This can make everyone safer. Let's get a petition started for that.
a October 11, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Sounds like a waste of taxpayer dollars now and down the road when the funding dries up. Simply painting lines on a roadway or insvesting in additional signage will do little to keep children or roads safer. If there are extra dollars in the budget which I doubt during these times, lets use it to lower the tax burden on Cranford residents
Michelle October 12, 2012 at 12:52 AM
My children have been walking to school and town very safely for years. Although this is a nice "trendy" idea I just don't think we need this. My taxes are high enough. Somewhere down the line we will end up paying for this despite all your idealistic promises.
John McCann October 16, 2012 at 08:24 PM
I love it when people say - "The money wil come from the State." Guess where the state gets their money.

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