PEDESTRIAN UPGRADES DUE ON FRONT STREET

monmouth-bumpout-072610Traffic-calming bumpouts on Monmouth Street. Similar configurations may be in store for Front Street. (Click to enlarge)

A stretch of Front Street in Red Bank is slated for design changes aimed at improving pedestrian and biker safety, according to a planning group that doles out federal funds for transportation projects.

The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority says it plans to spend about $500,000 to make the “Front Street/River Road corridor” safer through the installation of new sidewalk and crosswalk configurations and other devices.

An announcement by the NJTPA, which serves as a metropolitan planning authority for 13 New Jersey counties, including Monmouth County, does not specify where along the corridor the improvements will take place, or when. A call to an agency spokesman was not immediately returned Tuesday morning.

But Monmouth County Freeholder John D’Amico is quoted in the announcement as calling out the stretch in the area of Riverview Medical Center.

East Front Street near the hospital is among the places frequently mentioned as a spot where pedestrians have difficulty crossing, despite the presence of mid-roadway signs advising motorists that they must yield to pedestrians.

Front Street, which runs into River Road east of Hubbard Park, is a Monmouth County road (CR 10.)

Here’s the full announcement:

NEWARK – The Front Street/River Road (CR 10) corridor in Red Bank will receive a number of pedestrian safety and traffic-calming improvements as part of a project approved today by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) Board of Trustees.

The upgrades are included among the NJTPA’s Fiscal Year 2011 Local Safety and High Risk Rural Road programs, which provide federal funds to counties and cities for safety improvements that can be quickly implemented. The project’s approval comes four days after Monmouth County’s adoption of a complete streets policy, which aims to ensure roads and bridges are designed for safe use by all users, not just motorists.

Plans call for the installation of concrete bulbouts and roadway islands, ADA-compliant pedestrian features, brick paver-style crosswalks, solar-powered flashing crossing beacons, traffic signal upgrades, skid-resistant surface treatment, pavement markings and other minor roadway reconstruction work. A total of $500,000 was approved for the project.

“This project promises to make Front Street safer for people traveling on bike or foot, particularly in the area of Riverview Medical Center,” said Monmouth County Freeholder John D’Amico, a member of the NJTPA Board of Trustees. “All of these improvements will help slow traffic and make Red Bank — one of our region’s great walkable downtowns – even more pedestrian-friendly.”

The Local Safety Program funds improvements to remedy documented safety hazards on county and local roads; the High Risk Rural Roads Program pays for safety projects on rural road segments with crash rates that exceed the state average. In total, the NJTPA will allocate approximately $2.5 million for Local Safety Program projects and another $800,000 for High Risk Rural Road projects throughout the region in FY 2011. These programs reflect the regional priorities outlined in Plan 2035, the long-range transportation plan for the NJTPA region. Key goals of the NJTPA are to make travel safer and to promote walking and biking.

More information on these programs is available on the agency’s website, www.njtpa.org.