BIKE & WALK PLAN GETS A SHEPHERD
Jenny Rossano, seen here in 2009 with Safe Routes Red Bank co-founder Jim Willis, will help coordinate the integration of a recent bike and pedestrian study with the town’s master plan. (Click to enlarge)
It’s probably a stretch to call her the borough’s bike czar. But Red Bank is about to get an official advocate for safe walking and biking.
Jenny Rossano of Worthley Street is expected to be named as a volunteer liaison to the borough planning and zoning boards to help spot potential conflicts with a recent study of pedestrian and bicyclist safety by Urban Engineers, a Philadelphia planning firm.
“I don’t want to be a czar of anything,” Rossano says with a laugh. “I just don’t want all this work that Urban Engineers did to be pushed under the carpet.”
The study, prepared under the aegis of the New Jersey Department of Transportations Office of Pedestrian and Bicycle Programs, contains a welter of recommendations aimed at improving safety while encouraging more walking and biking in town.
Among the suggestions are increased use of traffic-calming curb layouts, the creation of bike lanes and the installation of traffic roundabouts.
Rossano and Jim Willis, who founded the advocacy group Safe Routes Red Bank in 2009, appeared before the borough council last week to urge that the governing body begin adopting the report’s recommendations, starting with the designation of a liaison.
Willis suggested Rossano, and Mayor Pasquale Menna agreed with the idea.
Rossano and Willis also suggested that the town begin integrating recommendations from the report into the borough Master Plan, adopted in 1995 and updated periodically since.
Menna, however, cautioned that a wholesale adoption of the report wasn’t going to happen.
“There’s a lot of things in that plan that will never see the light of day,” he said, adding that any attempt to build traffic circles in town would incite the citizenry to take up “pitchforks.”
“Certain parts of the plan are just pie-in-the-sky,” he said.
After some discussion, the council agreed to have the planning board take up the report to make its own recommendations to the council about which elements of the study might be inserted into the master plan.
Rossano tells redbankgreen she’ll observe and comment on that process. Meantime, she says, she’ll keep an eye out for planning and zoning board applications that might have effects on the use by pedestrians and bicyclists of sidewalks and streets.
While she might have done the same in her role as an advocate, Rossano said having the appointment could mean “that I’ll be welcomed more, that I won’t be coming in like an outsider each time” she raises an issue.
Heres the full Urban Engineers report in PDF format. Its a sizable file, so be patient while it downloads.[Disclosure: Jim Willis is redbankgreen‘s webmaster.]