Pedestrian safety and mobility to be improved
Liberty Water Gap trail construction an example of
Complete Streets policy
(Newark) - Highlighting the type of work that is converting New Jersey’s award-winning Complete Streets policy into action, NJDOT officials today announced a project to improve pedestrian safety and mobility in Newark City, Essex County, along a section of the Liberty Water Gap Trail.
New Jersey’s Complete Streets policy requires all major NJDOT roadway projects in the future to include accommodations for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and the mobility impaired. It also encourages investment in such accommodations to existing transportation assets where practical. Together, these policy elements form a Complete Streets umbrella for a number of important NJDOT initiatives, programs and Local Aid grant opportunities.
“This project is an excellent example of the Department retrofitting a roadway to install sidewalks and other safe pedestrian measures along a road where they should have been built originally – decades ago,” said DOT Commissioner James Simpson.
NJDOT began preliminary construction operations on this section of the Liberty Water Gap Trail in September. Sidewalk and curb installation work is ongoing, requiring single lane closures on Raymond Boulevard in either direction near the PSE&G access road, located near the interchange with Route 1&9 just west of the Passaic River. One travel lane will be maintained at all times.
Improvements to be made in Newark include the installation of new sidewalks, ADA-compliant crosswalks, pedestrian countdown signal heads and various other pedestrian safety improvement features along sections of Doremus Avenue, Raymond Boulevard and along the ramps connecting these roadways with Route 1&9T from the Passaic River bridge. A new retaining wall will be constructed and guide rail will be installed along sections of the new sidewalk to protect and delineate the walkway.
These improvements will provide a continuous walking ‘trail’ through Newark benefitting local pedestrian mobility by connecting Jersey City with Newark’s industrial area near Raymond Boulevard.
NJDOT’s contractor, H&G Contractors Inc., will utilize temporary traffic control devices, such as concrete barrier, throughout the project limits to minimize the impact to the motoring public. The $1.3 million state-funded project is scheduled to be completed in summer 2012.
Motorists are encouraged to check NJDOT’s traffic information website for construction updates and real-time travel information.
The Liberty Water Gap trail is a 130-mile long pedestrian trail that connects two national landmarks at each end: the Delaware Water Gap and the Statue of Liberty. The trail is comprised of six individual, interlinked trails. The segment of the trail towards the eastern terminus that passes through the City of Newark, Kearny Town and into Jersey City is known as the Eastcoast Greenway. This project will provide improvements in the Newark section of the Eastcoast Greenway trail. Similar pedestrian improvements to the Jersey City and Kearny sections of the Trail have been completed. For more information on the Liberty Water Gap Trail please visit www.libertygap.org
Stephen Marano, a representative of the New York New Jersey Trail Conference who is coordinating a statewide effort to complete the Liberty Water Gap Trail states "We are thrilled to hear about this project,and we applaud Commissioner Simpson and the Department of Transportation for their commitment to support the completion of the Liberty Water Gap Trail. This project will effectively close the last significant remaining gap in the trail, and will dovetail perfectly with the riverfront improvement projects initiated by the city of Newark and Essex County along the Passaic River in downtown Newark. Together these efforts will establish a much-needed urban greenway and significantly improve walking, biking and outdoor recreation opportunities for residents of Newark."
NJDOT adopted its complete Streets policy in December 2009 and earlier this year it was ranked strongest in the nation by the National Complete Streets Coalition. It demonstrates New Jersey’s strong commitment going forward to ensure that the state highway system provides accommodations for all users.