Cars Don’t Bring Business. People Do.

ReOpen Asbury Park Returns!

This is the way a city makes space for people, and enables businesses to expand and grow.  Cities all over the world have had plazas and open streets for people to gather, dine, and shop since long before the pandemic. Asbury Park is among these most beautiful and progressive cities.

To allow for the expansion of dining and retail and create a Downtown Pedestrian Zone, the following areas will be open to pedestrians, and closed to through traffic and parking on Friday 4/30 at 1pm:
  • Cookman Avenue from Bangs Avenue to Emory Street – will be open to pedestrians, and closed to through traffic and parking, 7 days a week beginning Friday, April 30, 2021 at 1pm through Monday, November 29, 2021 at 7am.
  • Cookman Avenue from Emory Street to Main Street – will be open to pedestrians and closed to through traffic and parking on weekends beginning Friday, April 30, 2021 at 1pm through Monday, November 29, 2021 at 7am. Parking and through traffic will be prohibited each week from Friday at 1pm through Monday at 7pm.

Goodbye 2020

There are no easy ways to describe 2020 as it comes to a close. In the past weeks writers have been philosophizing,  analyzing, probing for meaning and grasping for lessons going forward. In Asbury Park we can learn from the mistakes made during these months during the pandemic. We’ve had false starts, beginning with rolling out a neighborhood Slow Streets program without enough community input, and quickly dismantling it. We made the great step of prioritizing people by implementing an Open Streets plan on Cookman Ave (with the hope of making it permanent), allowing foot traffic, outdoor dining and retail on the street between Thursdays and Monday mornings. Then a we sent a conflicting message that cars rule, advertising free holiday parking and welcoming drivers back.  Asbury Park social justice advocates are working to limit police interaction in mental health calls and traffic enforcement. And Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition is continually working with city leaders to make city streets safer and more livable, especially for the most vulnerable. None of it will be easy, and we are grateful for community support.

Onward to 2021.

Goodbye to 2020, a Truly Unimaginable Year for Sustainable Transportation

Black Lives Matter Plaza, created by the Government of the District of Columbia, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. Photo: Ted Eytan via Creative Commons

Let’s pause for a second and imagine that we could go back in time to Dec. 31, 2019, and tell sustainable transportation advocates what this year held in store for our movement.

Imagine how those hypothetical advocates would react if you told them that, within a few months, roughly two-thirds of all car traffic would abruptly vanish from U.S. streets.

Imagine what our former selves would say you if you told them that such a rapture would prompt countless cities across the country to transform roadways that used to be dedicated exclusively to private vehicles into places to play, move, eat, shop, learn, and more.

Then imagine their faces if you told them that countless other cities would do nothing at all, even as those wide-empty streets encouraged the drivers who remained to speed out of control — forcing per-mile car crash rates to a terrifying, 15-year high.

Read this great article:

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/12/30/goodbye-to-2020-a-truly-unimaginable-year-for-sustainable-transportation/

A Great Conversation About Mobility In Asbury Park

The Newest Episode Of Asbury Pod: “Mobility”

Listen to the most recent episode of Asbury Pod, “Mobility” with hosts Deputy Mayor of Asbury Park,Amy Quinn, and Joe Walsh. A great interview with Mike Manzella, Asbury Park Transportation Manager and Deputy City Manager, and me, Polli Schildge!

A wonderful discussion about the evolution of Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition, the Main Street Rt 71 reconfiguration, open streets, bicycling, explaining road diets, bike lanes, sharrows, the history of trolleys, and how open streets are working in Asbury Park. Learn about the focus on accessibility, equity, and the future of mobility in AP.
Love feedback, so post your comments!

What is a Slow Street? NJDOT Doesn’t Get It.

NJDOT ignores need for social distancing, favoring 1950’s era policy

Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition has joined with NJ Bike & Walk Coalition and The Bicycle Coalition Of Greater Philadelphia, and advocates in other communities to sign a letter to tell Governor Murphy:

Allow Slow Streets for Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety.

 

Asbury Park rolled out our Slow Streets plan quickly in an effort to enable people to walk, ride bikes, and move about in the city safely during the pandemic. It was a fast, but not so well-communicated effort. An explanation of Slow Streets was included at the end of the ReOPEN Asbury Park pilot for community and business recovery in June. It was disbanded in July.
Some businesses and residents didn’t understand it, and some were not fully invested in the idea. People driving into the city to do business were confused.
Plastic road barriers were utilized, and no actual signage to explain their meaning.
Slow Streets and Open Streets are intended to be welcoming to people, improve business, (not just during a pandemic but ALWAYS), and enable people to utilize city streets safely, without danger from motor vehicles. In almost every scenario all over the world Slow Streets  improve cities, by making livable streets, and improve businesses by creating walkable neighborhoods. It didn’t quite happen that way in AP,  so our Slow Streets were put on hold.
But NOW, even if AP were to re-evaluate and desire to reinstate our Slow Streets initiative, there is an effort on the part of NJDOT to shut down ALL Slow Streets in NJ based upon a 1955 AG formal opinion. Read on…
During the COVID-19 pandemic, New Jersey residents are increasingly accessing the streets as a means to safely get out of the house and exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. In urban neighborhoods bicycling and walking have been seen as viable alternatives to short transit trips.
But our roads are not safe for vulnerable road users — this year, while overall traffic fatalities are down slightly in New Jersey, bicycle and pedestrian fatalities are up and now represent 40% of all traffic deaths. In our urban areas sidewalks are too crowded for safe social distancing.
That’s why we are calling upon the Governor issue an executive order to allow communities to designate slow streets. Slow streets are designated to alert motorists that they are sharing the road space with cyclists, pedestrians, and children.
Read and sign the letter to NJ Governor Murphy.
If Governor Murphy responds and DOT reverses this decision, Hopefully AP will reinstate the Slow Streets program with community input and creative communication.
Examples of welcoming Slow Streets signage:

Open Streets RIGHT NOW

We’ve been urging people to get out of their cars for years. Right now when our physical, emotional, and mental health are at risk it would be a great time to consider opening streets to walkers, bicycle riders, and any other modes of transportation that would enable people to get around and get fresh air and exercise.  We can walk, jog, roll around our towns with 6′ between us, smile and wave, and remain a community.  We can prioritize people over cars right now.  **This photo is of a dead bollard at the corner in front of my house. It’s an intersection that kids use every everyday for school, and now for breakfast and lunch. Someone ran over it, then later another driver ran over it again and dragged it down the block. Let’s make streets for people NOW.

Guest opinion: We should open up neighborhood streets for social distancing

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 16th, 2020

**This article is by Sam Balto, a Weston Award Winner and Physical Education teacher at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in north Portland. We last heard from him when he launched a guerrilla safety campaign using red cups to protect bike lanes.**

During our time of social isolation, our community still needs physical activity and fresh air. Our network of neighborhood greenways should be carfree while we are in a State of Emergency. This would allow for ample open space for people not using cars. People could enjoy safe social distancing without the threat of being run over by drivers.

Read about it:

Guest opinion: We should open up neighborhood streets for social distancing

What is Ciclovia? Get Ready For Asbury Park ALIVE!

Asbury Park ALIVE scheduled for May 2019, is our version of this hugely popular event that started in Bogota, Columbia. A ciclovia (“cycleway”) every week brings residents out to ride bikes, walk, juggle or otherwise have fun on city streets. The cost is minimal making it relatively easy to implement weekly. In the US these events are becoming popular but usually are less frequent and more involved, with vendors, activities, music.  Asbury Park ALIVE will be an event not to be missed!  Stay tuned!

Asbury Park ALIVE!

How Bogotá’s Cycling Superhighway Shaped a Generation

For many families, the Ciclovía is often one of the very best things about living in Bogotá. And kids start very young.

A boy cycles along the Septima during Ciclovía. Normally a chokingly busy thoroughfare, half of the road is closed to traffic every Sunday and holiday. Laura Dixon/Madison McVeigh

“Since the 40s, when the automobile started becoming dominant, cities—or streets—have been designed for cars,” Montero said. “People have internalized that that is how cities look and so assume that’s normal, that the streets are dedicated to cars.

So, why don’t more cities adopt similar weekend cycle paths?

Hundreds of delegations have come to Bogotá to see how it works, and there are now Ciclovías across the Americas, though none as extensive or regular as here.

The big problem for most places, experts say, is the expense. In Bogotá, the district estimates the cost to be less than 10 U.S. cents per user each week. “That’s like nothing,” says Ramos. But U.S. cities like Los Angeles (which runs CicLAvia four times a year) and New York have seen costs skyrocket with organizers often liable for policing costs and insurance.”

Read more…

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/10/how-bogotas-cycling-superhighway-shaped-a-generation/571900/?utm_content=edit-promo&utm_medium=social&utm_term=2018-10-02T20%3A57%3A15&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=city-lab