Even the mainstream NEW JERSEY media is really starting to "Get It" about bikes. First it was NJN News with their favorable coverage on Monday and now The Asbury Park Press with an editorial that pretty much demands bicycle and pedestrian facilities in no less than the strongest terms I've ever heard from a newspaper!
Way to go Asbury Park Press!! I hope you put this editorial in all of your New Jersey Gannett newspapers this week (I've included it below too).
But it even goes back earlier than this week. In fact The Asbury Park Press ran another editorial last week on the topic of bike / ped funding that prompted this response from Kris Kolluri, the NJDOT commissioner.
But that wasn't all. The Home News Tribune also ran a good editorial last week as did the Gloucester County Times (editorial). Then the Courier-Post ran this article last week that had a heavily in favor of bikes.
All of this brew-ha-ha in the news started with the Tri-State Transportation Campaign's recently released report Skimping on Sidewalks 2008: An Analysis of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Fatalities in
Now in all fairness the NJDOT does really "Get It" about bikes and peds. Unless you've living under a rock for the past couple of years, you've got to realize that financial times are really tough in New Jersey. Despite such tight state budgets the NJDOT has had the wisdom NOT TO CUT bike/ped funding. It could have been much, much worse. I remember reading a few months ago that some states totally eliminate their bike/ped funds (A big state that begins with a "T" comes to mind but I'm not really 100% sure).
However, the real issue is starting to become a lack of inclusion of bicycle and pedestrian facilities by town and county governments when building a new development or designing and rebuilding roads (I'll have a great fresh example of this from the Trenton Area that I'll hopefully cover next week). The latest Asbury Park Press editorial (the one below) is the first one however that starts to make this connection.
Editorial: Increase funds for bike paths
The importance of fighting to change the state's decision to cut funding for bike and pedestrian programs was put into clear focus last week on Long Beach Island, when a 47-year-old Highland Park female on a bicycle was struck by an automobile on Long Beach Boulevard. After treatment on site and at Southern Ocean County Hospital, she was airlifted to AtlantiCare Trauma Center in Atlantic City with a reported head injury.
The establishment of pathways along busy streets could never be more important than today, when so many people are turning to two-wheeled transportation instead of four as a way to save money on gasoline. Riding a bicycle is not only good for the rider, it's also good for the environment and means fewer dollars going into the pockets of Middle East potentates or fat cat oil executives.
Anyone who doesn't think funds are needed to install bike lanes in streets, sidewalks in housing developments and to bolster intersections near schools, needs to talk to the families of the woman run down on Long Beach Island last week, or the 14-year-old boy who was hit by a car in Manchester as he was riding his bike in July, or the 28-year old hit in Toms River in June.
Please write to your state legislators and get more money allocated for bicycle and walking paths and insist every developer who does work in New Jersey be required to include bike paths and sidewalks in his development.