Last week, the City of Camden, New Jersey made a significant commitment to improving the safety of its roadways by adopting a complete streets policy. The policy was passed in a unanimous vote by the Camden City Council and had the support of a diverse collection of community groups that make up the Camden Green Team, of which TSTC is a participating organization.
Like most complete streets policies, Camden’s policy requires municipal road projects to accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, drivers and people of all ages and abilities. Camden’s policy also encourages collaboration with other agencies, such as Camden County, the Delaware River Port Authority and the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), with the goal of securing complete streets elements on roadways that fall within the boundaries of the City of Camden, but which are not under municipal control.
There has been a strong movement for complete streets in the Garden State, with NJDOT, five counties and over ten percent of municipalities in New Jersey now having passed complete streets policies. While these local governments and agencies must be praised for adopting policies outlining ways to accommodate all road users, the real benefit of a complete streets policy comes in implementation.
Similar to NJDOT’s Complete Streets Guide to Implementation and other municipal policies like Trenton’s and Morristown’s, Camden’s policy includes concrete steps to ensure that complete streets principles are institutionalized at all levels of planning, design and engineering. These include issuing a memo on the policy to all department heads and holding trainings with appropriate staff. Furthermore, the Public Works Director will oversee the policy and ensure that local roadway projects and development plans incorporate complete streets principles.
The complete streets policy will build upon Camden’s recent progress in enhancing pedestrian and bicyclist accommodations, including the TIGER-funded construction of new bicycle lanes, sidewalks and other streetscape improvements, as well as ongoing efforts by The Circuit Coalition to connect on-road active transportation facilities with current and planned multi-use trails, transit stations, centers of employment and the Ben Franklin Bridge.