November 14, 2016
Since our founding in 2010, Healthier Somerset has championed “Complete Streets,” the New Jersey Department of Transportation program designed and operated to enable safe access to roadways for all users – pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Instituting a complete streets policy ensures that agencies routinely design and operate the entire right of way to enable safe access for all users.
Nine of Somerset County’s 21 municipalities have passed Complete Streets resolutions: Bedminster, Bound Brook, Far Hills, Hillsborough, Manville, Montgomery, North Plainfield, Raritan, and Somerville. Healthier Somerset applauds them for their action!
In October the Somerset County Board of Freeholders became the 8th county in New Jersey to enact a resolution in support of Complete Streets. Freeholder Director Patricia Walsh (who is a member of Healthier Somerset’s Advisory Board and an active participant in Healthier Somerset) has noted that Somerset County will encourage the remaining 12 municipalities to enact a resolution of support.
At Healthier Somerset, we know, as do Somerset County officials, that enacting the resolution is only the first step to integrating the policy into future planning decisions. Somerset County’s Director of Planning, Walter Lane, also works closely with Healthier Somerset, and is helping to align our activities with the Regional Center Partnership (Somerville, Raritan, and Bridgewater). With the support and participation of the Somerset County Business Partnership and their President and CEO, Michael Kerwin, in Healthier Somerset, we are forging an alliance that brings health-focused planning to transportation and economic development in Somerset County.
Somerset County has already demonstrated their active support for Complete Streets with a seminar held last month for municipal officials featuring planning officials from NJDOT and the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority. We are grateful for the shared vision with our Somerset County Freeholders and look forward to seeing passage of Complete Streets in all 21 municipalities!