FAIR HAVEN OPTS FOR ‘COMPLETE STREETS’

The intersection of River Road and Fair Haven Road boasts some key features of “Complete Streets” design, including distinctive crosswalks. (Photo by Connor Soltas. Click to enlarge)

By CONNOR SOLTAS

A crosswalk-ahead sign, a crosswalk sign, a narrowing road, a yield-to-pedestrians sign in the median, a stop sign and a distinctive red crosswalk: all are elements of a “Complete Streets” policy adopted last week by Fair Haven’s borough council.

Echoing the language of a movement that aims to change the concept of streets as existing primarily for motor vehicles, borough engineer Rich Gardella said the policy’s goal is “to provide an attractive and safe access for all users and modes of transportation.”

In particular, that will mean equipping intersections with features like additional crosswalk signs and sand-colored shoulder barriers, all aimed at encouraging motorists to be more cautious around pedestrians, cyclists and the handicapped.

Though Gardella did not indicate which streets are exempt, the borough will apply the policy to borough streets “as appropriate,” he said.

While Thursday marked the policy’s official adoption by the borough, its principles have been in action before. The federally-funded “Streetscape” project along much of River Road included a makeover of the intersection Fair Haven Road, where widening shoulders, multiple pedestrian-crossing signs and brick crosswalks make it an exemplar of “Complete Streets” thinking, officials said..

The borough will likely start with intersections near Knollwood School and Sickels School, according to Mayor Benjamin Lucarelli.

“The idea is to start near the grammar schools, with the younger generation, because we don’t have busing in Fair Haven, and many students walk or ride their bikes to get to school,” he said. “There’s also that educational element.”

Funding for similar treatment at other intersections is expected come from a portion of revenues generated by the annual Tour de Fair Haven cycling race, said Lucarelli.

“It’s paint,” said Lucarelli, “so it’s not that expensive.”

Neighboring Red Bank adopted a Complete Streets resolution in 2010.