FAIR HAVEN: WALK & BIKE PLAN ON TABLE

Among changes recommended in the draft plan is an expansion of sidewalk coverage in town. Below, Councilman Jon Peters with residents at Monday’s event. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Fair Haven residents and business got their latest opportunity Monday night to weigh in on host of walking-and-biking infrastructure proposals that could serve as a blueprint for decades to come.

The informational session, which preceded the borough council’s regular semimonthly meeting, was focused on the latest version of a draft document called the Pedestrian and Bike Active Transportation Plan.

Among the proposals: higher-visibility pedestrian crossings at River Road and Cedar Avenue. Below, the bike lane installed along Ridge Road in late 2015. (Photo belowe by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Enlarged images from the latest draft version of the plan were displayed on easels arranged around the council chamber at borough hall.

“One of the advantages of a town like Fair Haven is you can walk and bike everywhere,” said Council President Jon Peters, noting that some 600 children ride their bikes to school when the weather is conducive. In undertaking the planning endeavor, he said, the town’s leaders “are trying to get away from a random process and look at sidewalks as a transportation resource.”

It’s also about “trying to negotiate the interaction between cars and people,” he said.

With input from a local steering committee, as well as residents, the plan was drawn up by WSP USA, of Lawrenceville, an engineering consultancy under contract with the New Jersey Department of Transportation, which has picked up the tab for the project, saving the town an estimated $70,000, officials said.

The firm started with existing conditions and data, including accident numbers, and then solicited public input. Among the outreaches: pitching a table at the 2016 Trucktoberfest to allow attendees to air concerns and suggestions.

The aim of the project is to “give the town a road map on what improvements might be next,”said assistant borough engineer Nick Poruchynsky. “It’s another tool in the toolbox” for use in planning streets and sidewalks, he said.

“It’s all about making Fair Haven more walkable,” said Councilman Bob Marchese. Among the more immediate changes to come out of the process, he said, is the plan to install sidewalks on the south side of Third Street, in part to improve connectivity between the borough’s primary and middle schools, he said.

Mayor Ben Lucarelli, a cyclist who advocated for the safe-biking and walking lanes painted on Ridge Road in late 2015, said the plan, once finalized, could prove useful for generations.

“This isn’t just for this year or the next two years,” he said. “This is really a planning document for the next 50 years.”

Lucarelli said a final plan could be ready in October for the council’s acceptance and forwarding to the planning for review and possible incorporation into the town’s Master Plan.

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