Today, Senator Robert Menendez, Congressman Rob Andrews and local leaders joined Camden residents to unveil the completion of three TIGER-funded projects in Camden County. The street improvement projects will transform parts of Downtown Camden with the addition of bike lanes, new lighting, signage and extensive street and sidewalk improvements. The completion of the TIGER projects was celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony, which included youth from CYCLE (Camden Youth Cycling, Learning and Exercising) who led a ceremonial ride to kick-off the day.
The completion of the three TIGER projects, located along Martin Luther King Boulevard, Pearl Street and Pine Street in Camden, continues the expansion of The Circuit, the region’s growing trail network. When complete, The Circuit will include 750 miles of trails, of which more than 250 miles have already been built. State Senator Donald Norcross, a Camden resident, praised the project and encouraged the Delaware River Port Authority to move ahead with building the Ben Franklin Bridge pedestrian and bicyclist ramp to further increase the utility of The Circuit.
Congressman Rob Andrews (D-NJ1) stressed the public safety and economic development implications of improving walking and biking infrastructure:
America’s cities with the greatest comebacks are places where people don’t just drive in to work in the morning and then drive out, they are places where people live. This project is a small piece in the larger puzzle of improving life for those who already live in Camden, [and it] will also attract new residents. People want to reach destinations without having to get in a car.
Senator Menendez, who was integral in bringing the TIGER funding to Camden, also stressed the importance of these projects in attracting economic development and helping to reduce congestion in Camden. “What makes this project nationally significant…is the positive impact [it] will have not just on our environment, but also on our economy. Pennsylvania residents will able to bike or walk into Camden, and then on into Collingswood or Cherry Hill. That means more visitors to our farmer’s markets and restaurants, more people to come to our parks and entertainment venues, providing a much needed boost to our small businesses and local economy. More importantly, each year the increased demand created by the project is expected to create recreational and economic activity worth $542 million,” said Menendez.
Today’s ceremony builds upon Camden’s growing momentum in promoting safer streets, including the recent passage of a municipal complete streets policy and the ongoing efforts by The Circuit Coalition to connect on-road pedestrian and bicyclist facilities with existing and planned multi-use trails, transit stations and the Ben Franklin Bridge. Camden Mayor Dana Redd noted that over 35 percent of the population of Camden does not have access to a car and said that “making streets more comfortable for walkers and bikers will ensure that Camden continues to develop in ways to promote healthy lifestyles.”