RED BANK: BIKE-HOOP DREAMS

Some of Red Bank’s newly decommissioned parking meters (right) could be retrofitted as lock stands for bicycles. Borough Engineer Christine Ballard tells redbankgreen that officials are awaiting word on a grant that would pay for galvanized iron loop sleeves that slide on to former parking meter posts that have had their heads removed.

Meantime, biking-and-walking advocacy group Red Bank Safe Routes is collecting suggestions from residents on where they’d like to see more bike racks in town. Feel free to add your thoughts in a comment below. (Photo above courtesy NYC DOT. Click to enlarge)

BIKE & PED PLAN HITS THE STREETS

bike-route-networkA “bike route network” map in the report details suggested locations for bike lanes, shared lanes, bike parking and more. Below, the cover page of the report. (Click to enlarge)

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Attention Red Bank pedestrians and bicyclists: your wish list is in.

A much-anticipated report on ways to improve biking and walking safety, titled “Red Bank Bicycle/Pedestrian Planning Project,” has been delivered to borough officials and is now available here at redbankgreen (see below).

Based in part on suggestions from dozens of borough residents who attended input sessions and completed questionnaires,  it contains a cornucopia of recommendations, ranging from simple upgrades to signage and traffic signals to the creation of bike lanes and roundabouts.

The comprehensive report is “exactly what we wanted, and then some,” says Jenny Rossano, speaking on behalf of Safe Routes Red Bank, a grassroots organization that promotes walking buses and other alternatives to car use.

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PEDESTRIAN’S DEATH PROMPTS SAFETY TALKS

maple-w-frontBorough officials have asked the state DOT to look into safety improvements at the Maple Avenue/West Front Street intersection, where a pedestrian was killed two weeks ago. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The death of a 40-year-old pedestrian two weeks ago has spurred Red Bank police and other officials into discussions with  the New Jersey Department of Transportation over safety at the intersection in which she was hit by a truck.

Additionally, local leadership is brainstorming ways to make walking on borough streets less hazardous, they say.

On the list to accomplish that goal: speed-limit reductions, more four-way stops, and changes to signs and lighting, specifically at the intersection of West Front Street and Maple Avenue, where Laura Martin was hit and killed by a New Jersey Transit truck on October 27.

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RESIDENTS GIVE THEIR TWO CENTS ON SAFETY

mary-lou-burdenMary Lou Burden, right, shows transportation consultant Dave Cox a problem spot on a map. Below, comments compiled on a street map. (Click to enlarge)

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Mary Lou Burden knows the challenges of trying to cross Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank.

A resident of the Bellhaven Commons condos on Locust Avenue, she’s used to standing in the crosswalk at Chestnut or Oakland street just waiting for passing motorists to take notice, slow to a stop and let her cross.

“If we had citizen’s arrest, I could make a lot of money for Red Bank,” she says. Drivers are “on the phone, rushing, texting, putting on makeup. They don’t even see you.”

Burden was among some 35 borough residents — including bicyclists, walkers, motorists and crossing guards — who  showed up at borough hall Thursday night to offer input on how to improve pedestrian and biker safety in town.

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SNOW-JAMMED? TELL THESE FOLKS

hot-topic rightMore than a week after the second of two blizzards walloped the Red Bank area, pedestrian access to many crosswalks remains blocked by deep piles of snow left by plows.

The folks from Safe Routes to School want to help.

A handful of them took to intersections around Red Bank last night to clear paths through bulwarks of snow, ice and slush that seem to be going nowhere for a while, even with yesterday’s temperature in the high 30s.

“The warmth has made it easier to crack through to the bottom ice, but it’s still a slushy mess,” says organizer Marc Dostie.

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A RUNNING START FOR BIKE/PED PROPONENTS

img_4370102109Jenny Rossano of Worthley Street and her map, below, with half-mile radii drawn around each of Red Bank’s five schools and suggested bike routes in red. (Click to enlarge)

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[See editor’s note at the bottom of this post]

A grassroots push for safer ways to get Red Bank kids to school on foot or bicycle kicked off with a well-attended town hall-style meeting at the borough middle school Wednesday night.

A borough resident who makes her living as a civil engineer unveiled a map showing proposed new safe routes to each of the five schools in town. A state Department of Transportation official pledged to help the borough snag as much public money as possible for everything from driver awareness efforts to reconfigured intersections, if necessary. A police traffic safety expert gave a thumbs-up to the initiative as a complement to accident-reduction efforts. And the borough engineer spoke about how it could dovetail with existing efforts to improve walkability in the 1.8-square-mile town.

“We have a lot of momentum already,” said Jim Willis of Harrison Avenue, the principal organizer of Red Bank Safe Routes, at the conclusion of the 90-minute event, which drew several dozen residents and local officials.

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IN SEARCH OF SAFETY FOR BIKERS & WALKERS

saferoutes1Rolling out of the East Side: the ‘Mori Place Marauders’ want to make biking and walking to school in Red Bank safer.

On a typical morning during the school year, commuters in downtown Red Bank might encounter an unusual sight: a cluster of dozen or so children, accompanied by a parent or two, crossing town from east to west on bicycles.saferoutes2

Led usually by Mori Place resident Marc Dostie, the rolling parade of pedal-powered ducklings crosses heavily traveled Broad Street and Maple Avenue before arriving at its destination, the Red Bank Charter School on Oakland Street.

It’s a healthy, social and environmentally hospitable alternative to automobile travel. It’s also often faster than travel by car. But it’s also somewhat fraught, says Dostie.

“A lot of times I feel I have to choose between a safer ride and a legal ride,” he says, referring to a need sometimes to direct his charges up onto sidewalks to avoid close encounters with parked cars or moving vehicles that hug the right curb.

“We encounter a lot of motorists who don’t seem to understand the rights of way of pedestrians and bicyclists in crosswalks,” he says.

On Wednesday night, a newly formed organization of which Dostie is a member hopes to begin addressing ways not only to improve safety for riders and walkers, but to make Red Bank more conducive to car-free commuting for kids.

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