Thursday, January 09, 2014

Bike Lanes vs Beautification - A False Choice In Haddonfield

A grassroots effort to install bike lanes on a critical connection between downtown Haddonfield and a major trail on the Circuit has been rejected by Haddonfield Borough officials and the Camden County Department of Public Works in favor of parking lanes and a center median.

Grove St - A good proposal for bike lanes

The street in question is Grove from Pardee Lane to Edge Park Drive. This section connects the Cooper River Trail into Haddonfield Borough. This section of Grove does not currently have bike facilities, but its generous width and the typically-empty 10-foot shoulders make it a popular bicycling route. Grove street has been designated as a bike route connecting the Hopkins Pond trail to the Cooper River.

"Where should the poor girl park for all tomorrow's parties?" Apparently on Grove Street.

Grove Street's wide profile tends to induce speeding to and from Route 70, so Haddonfield has proposed a makeover to calm traffic and reduce turning conflicts. Bike lanes were recommended by the Environmental Commission, other organization members and local cyclists, and the proposal was submitted to the Borough and County Engineer for review.

However, last month the County Engineering Department wrote a letter to Haddonfield Mayor Kasko stating that bike lanes were not compatible with parking and a center median, and Camden County's policy "preferred traffic calming and beautification over bike lanes." This letter seems to have formed the basis for Haddonfield Borough to drop the idea of bike lanes and instead plan for a center median with mountable curb sections so residents can turn left out of their driveways.
Grove Street - Haddonfield Borough's Preferred Alternative
This question of traffic calming over bike lanes is a false choice. Bike lanes are a known instrument in traffic calming. Furthermore, a similar arterial in nearby Cherry Hill, Kings Highway (NJ State Route 41), has an identical width and successfully-installed bike lanes. The proposal also forgoes sidewalk improvements and does not include new crosswalks or intersection "bump-outs" as the Environmental Commission requested in their proposal.

Haddonfield does not have a Complete Streets Policy to appeal to, but Camden County just passed one in December. The Borough is debating the possibility of a Complete Streets policy, but a policy development committee has not yet been formed. The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission has completed a Camden County Bicycle Trails Master Plan, but its adoption might not happen until this summer. State-wide, New Jersey communities are adopting the concept of Complete Streets, which implements best practices for making our streets safe and pleasant for all users.

If the proposed design is implemented, bicyclists will be left with a narrower shoulder periodically interrupted by parked cars. And as we have reported before, the NJ State Supreme Court has ruled that bicyclists do not have legal protections in the shoulder. So this street design is effectively not accommodating bicycles. Meanwhile, pedestrians are saved from trudging through mud in a couple places, but are not protected by best-practice infrastructure.

This project represents a lost opportunity for Haddonfield Borough to unify one of its suburban neighborhoods with the historic walkable core by creating a truly complete street. Haddonfield shouldn't have to settle for mediocrity.

UPDATE - Haddonfield Commissioner John Muscatelli has requested Camden County Public Works to revisit the design of Grove St. However earlier today Camden County Senior Planner Andrew Levecchia informed Haddonfield advocates that the project was conceived as beautification and traffic calming and it will be limited to that.


Kate-Declan/Aidan mom said...

Did anyone bring up the car door along the bike lane as an issue?

Erlton Bike Shop said...

Is there any chance to appeal this decision?

Bike Coalition said...

The Bicycle Coalition has not decided how to respond at this point. You can contact Public Works Commissioner John Moscatelli and ask hime to reconsider bike lanes.

Bike Coalition said...

Haddonfield officials have not considered bike lanes in the design, so there has been no discussion.

Bike lanes next to parking is an accepted design practice. While dooring is a concern in areas with dense parking and a high parking turnover this segment of road has neither factor.

Andrew J. Besold said...

New Jersey county governments and their engineers continue to be the biggest obstacles to constructing practical bicycle facilities to New Jersey and its communities. I think a big advocacy push needs to be placed on these 21 government agencies.

haddon cyclist said...

At this point, both the Borough the County need a nudge, call or email.

Andrew J. Besold said...

Uhhhh.... Errrrr....

The section of Grove Street you are referring to in this story is about 200 ft long. Why can't we have the median for that 200 feet and bike lanes instead of parking? No one parks on Grove is I recall (a close friend lived in town) but its been a while.

Would the median run the whole length of Grove or just in the location between the streets mentioned?

Emma said...

I had the same question, the section in question is quite small, would there be future plans to continue this through the whole stretch of Grove Street to Kings Highway? I live in town and bike down that road frequently to get into Westmont/Collingswood/Haddonfield.

Also, adding a bike lane to Grove Street and continuing the one recently built on Kings Highway would give two routes to the Haddonfield Patco station!

I do see people park on Grove street occasionally though, I can see why they would want to keep parking available to the homes on that street.

haddon cyclist said...

Borough seems open at this point. County has jurisdiction and final decision.

Emma said...

Who is the best person from the County to get in touch with to discuss this? With the complete street policy, how can they ignore the need for bike lanes in this area?

k2luvs said...

I've had 6 accidents near my house (that I know of), two crashing on my front lawn destroying my property, two drunk drivers last year driving up on the sidewalk after the goodwill store who couldn't make the turn... Something has got to give here. Safety of the people who live on this street should be #1. More attention should be put on the area between goodwill and kings highway where accidents occur, just one happened this morning. people need to SLOW DOWN!

Screech said...

As a Haddonfield resident and a frequent cyclist, I gotta say that I'd prefer it if they left the bike lane out. If they paint one there, it will be the only street in H-field with a bike lane. What message will that send to road users?

PS The bikelane that occupies what was once the shoulder on King's highway between the Cooper River and Rte 70 in CH has had absolutely zero effect on that stretch of road.