Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.

BIKE AND PED SAFETY PLAN ROLLS ON

willis-rossanoJenny Rossano reviews the soon-to-be-adopted bike and pedestrian plan in Red Bank, while Jim Willis, in the background, views it on an iPad. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

When a group of residents banded together almost two years ago to make Red Bank’s streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, there were never any notions it’d be a fast-moving process. Compiling data, analyzing studies and working with local and state government simply don’t lend themselves to timeliness.

But in the long-distance course to effect change, a grassroots group made a leap forward Monday night when it all but secured adoption from the borough planning board of a 100-plus page report on bike and walker safety, including a multitude of recommendations on how to improve the way of life of those on two legs and two wheels.

The board, after hearing close to an hour’s worth of highlights of the plan from borough Engineer Christine Ballard, moved to incorporate the “Red Bank Bicycle/Pedestrian Planning Project” into the town’s Master Plan — the official document that guides planning and development in town. A public hearing and final vote was scheduled for next month.

Barring major public outcry or a sudden shift in sentiment from board members, the plan will roll safely to approval.

“Overall this is a great plan and thank you for all your hard work,” planning board member Guy Maratta told Jenny Rossano, Jim Willis and Marc Dostie, the founding members of Safe Routes Red Bank.

The 106-page report, prepared by Urban Engineers under a non-cash grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Office of Pedestrian and Bicycle Programs, gets in-depth on all factors of road safety in town, highlighting traffic statistics and offering a litany of suggestions to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.

In some cases, the ideas are either cost-prohibitive or logistically unfeasible Ballard said. These include mid-street islands, or “refuges,” which she said would cause large trucks or emergency vehicles to “squeeze” down the road; delineated east-to-west and north-to-south bike lanes, because they’d eat up necessary parking; and the addition of four-way stop signs in certain areas because they do not meet the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, and could actually cause accidents, she said.

But enhancing intersections and crosswalks, as well as adding lighting and signs alerting drivers that they are nearing or in areas heavily traveled by walkers and bikers are not only recommended but, in some spots, more than needed, she said.

Ballard noted that the borough has already taken steps to boost safety downtown by securing state money to install bumped-out curbs, a raised intersection at Broad and Front streets and other upgrades along East Front Street, which fit in with Safe Routes’ mission.

Planning board alternate member Barbara Boas said the report’s recommendations, if adopted as part of the Master Plan, will not be required for future planning and development projects. Like the Master Plan itself, the report will be used as a roadmap for framing future projects.

“This is a guideline. It’s not a bible,” she said.

In the last 18 months or so, the members of Safe Routes have buried themselves in the work of putting the report together, in hopes that they’d get to this point. And if the planning board does approve the plan, it will enable the town to tap into funding sources to implement projects and safety improvements down the road, said Stanley Sickels, the borough’s administrator and planning board member.

“Usually, money begets money,” he said.

Willis (who is redbankgreen‘s webmaster) said he and group members had anticipated a full approval Monday — the board, however, must provide public notice and hearing before adoption — but said securing positive feedback on the plan was enough assurance that the group’s work is paying dividends toward a shift in standards in Red Bank.

“As long as things are moving in the right direction, you have to be happy,” said Willis, of Harrison Avenue. “I’d love to just flick a switch and have all this stuff, but this is the process.”

The process, Dostie said, is expected to be long, tricky at times and, of course, have a few speed bumps.

“I think we always prepared for a marathon, not a sprint,” he said. “I just hope that when my kids are ready to ride their bikes on their own, it’ll be safe.”

Here’s the full report in PDF format. It’s a sizable file, so be patient while it downloads.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
RIVER RANGERS RETURN
River Rangers, a summer canoeing program offered by the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association, returns this summer for up to 20 participa ...
DOUBLE DYLAN IN RED BANK
Trucks for a production company filming what one worker said was a Bob Dylan biography have lined Monmouth Street the past two days with cre ...
AFTER THE RAIN
A pear tree branch brought down by a brief overnight storm left a lovely tableau on the sidewalk in front of Red Bank's Riverside Gardens Pa ...
CONE OF UNCERTAINTY
Asked by a redbankgreen reporter why these cones were on top of cars, the owner of the car in the foreground responded: “That’s ...
RAIL RIDER’S VIEW
A commuter's view of Cooper's Bridge and the Navesink River from North Jersey Coast Line train 3320 out of Red Bank Tuesday morning.
PUT ME IN COACH!
Red Bank T-Ball kicked off at East Side park on Saturday morning. The brisk weather proved to be no deterrent to the young players, ranging ...
IT’S A SIGN!
Once proudly declaring its all-but-certain arrival in Spring 2019, the project previously known as Azalea Gardens springs to life again with ...
SPRINGTIME MEMORIES OF CARL
The Easter Bunny getup and St. Patrick’s Day hat that belonged to longtime Red Bank crossing guard and neighborhood smile-creator Carl ...
RED TRUCKS AT RED ROCK
A small dishwasher fire at Red Rock Tap and Grill was put out quickly by firefighters overnight, causing minimal damage. Red Bank Fire Depar ...
CREATIVE COVER UP
The windows of Pearl Street Consignment on Monmouth Street were smashed when a driver crashed their car through them injuring an employee la ...
THEY’RE BACK!
Ospreys returned to the skies over Red Bank this week for the first time since they migrated to warmer climes in late fall. With temperature ...
SPRING IS SPRUNG
RED BANK: Spring 2024 arrives on the Greater Red Bank Green with the vernal equinox at 11:06 p.m. Tuesday.
RED BANK’S FINEST – AND NEWEST
Red Bank Police Officer Eliot Ramos was sworn in as the force’s newest patrolman Thursday, and if you’re doing a double take thinkin ...
EASTER EGG MAYHEM AT THE PARK
An errant whistle spurred an unexpectedly early start to the Spring Egg Hunt on Sunday, which had been scheduled to begin at eggsactly 11am ...
PRESEASON DOCKWORK
RED BANK: With winter winding down, marina gets ready for boating season with some dockwork on our beautiful Navesink River.
CORNED BEEF AND DISCO FRIES?
It’s Friday, and smart Lent-observing Leprechauns know the pot of gold at the end of Red Bank’s rainbow is actually the deliciou ...
SURFBOARD DITCHED
It’s a violation of etiquette in surfing to ditch your board.  (it could hit another surfer and hurt them). But someone appears to ha ...
ELSIE, TAKE ME WITH YOU!
Soaked by pouring rain with the temperature hovering in the low 40’s, this sign in the window of Elsie’s Subs on Monmouth Street ...
WALK THIS WAY
PARTYLINE: Before-and-afters of a sidewalk cleanup on West Street.
SOGGY NOTION
RED BANK: Breezeway sculpture captured the mood downtown as heavy rains fell Saturday morning.