The first municipal test of a complete streets policy in New Jersey has failed. According to the Montclair Times Township Council rejected a policy that would require complete streets design guidelines for new and rehabilitated streets on a 4-3 vote. "No" voters on council cited increased costs and prioritizing pedestrians as reasons for turning the proposal down.
Montclair is a "built out" township therefore the municipality is not likely to any see any significant new road construction. Like many suburban locations it suffers from gaps in the pedestrian network and near zero accommodations for bicycles.
But as often is the case these days in municipal government any project with a dollar sign attached to it is seen as an tax burden (and political suicide) as opposed to an intelligent long term investment in the community. The Google Street View image below shows that it wouldn't take a major overhaul to "complete the streets". Both streets, which are typical here are wide enough for bike lanes and would require a few gallons of paint. The sidewalks, crosswalk and signals only need to be brought up to modern standards (curb cuts, ped signals, some more paint). At some point these roads are going to be rehabilitated, with much of the many to pay for it coming from the federal government.
We urge Montclair to lead by example for NJ and pass complete streets for the financial and physical health of the community. Lets give long time NJ suburban residents one less reason to flee to North Carolina.
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