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:

It’s Time To Break Up With Cars

Americans didn’t immediately fall in love with cars.  It’s been a Machiavellian relationship for a century, so maybe we can break up now.

The Car Culture That’s Helping Destroy the Planet Was By No Means Inevitable

Jeff Sparrow

On the Relentless Campaign to Force Americans to Accept the Automobile

“In 1995, comedian Denis Leary recorded a track called “Asshole,” a song about an all-American guy who likes “football and porno and books about war.” It concludes with a monologue: 

I’m gonna get myself a 1967 Cadillac Eldorado convertible
Hot pink, with whale skin hubcaps

And all leather cow interior
And big brown baby seal eyes for head lights
And I’m gonna drive in that baby at 115 miles per hour
Gettin’ one mile per gallon
Sucking down Quarter Pounder cheese burgers from McDonald’s
In the old-fashioned, non-biodegradable styrofoam containers
And when I’m done sucking down those greaseball burgers
I’m gonna wipe my mouth with the American flag

And then I’m gonna toss the styrofoam containers right out the side

And there ain’t a goddamn thing anybody can do about it …

Yes, there is. Vote.

For those concerned about the environment, cars are an ecological catastrophe, while the current president celebrates car ownership as a true hallmark of freedom for blue blooded Americans, and the US remains the “spiritual home of car culture”.   Vote.

So are we doomed to live forever in a polarized country where there is a constant war for space on the road between people walking, on bikes, and driving, and over 40 thousand people die in automobile collisions each year?

Maybe there is hope.   Vote.

Cars don’t have to own us.

Here’s something to think about as American cities (and yes, we in Asbury Park) try to figure out how to keep people safe while social distancing by opening streets to people walking, riding bikes, skateboards, scooters…there could be one good thing that comes out of Covid-19.

The spaces between parked cars can be for people, not for car domination. It’s so in cities where drivers don’t rule the roads. As one Face Book commenter in the thread notes, when he drives into one of these streets he “immediately wonders whether he should be there, then sees the benefits to everyone, and drives slowly and cautiously to his destination”. With American car culture could this happen here, or would we continue to see angry, entitled drivers claiming their right to the road, endangering us all?

Here’s the link to Modacitylife FaceBook page, where you can enjoy beautiful city inspiration, listen to the audio book,  Building The Cycling City, and buy the book here.

NYC Bans Cars On 14th St – Safer Streets, More Space For People

Banning cars. This is BIG news. Cars banned on 14th St. NYC.  In the wake of 18 bicyclist deaths and thousand of pedestrian deaths, the city is finally following lead of cities all over the world where cars are being marginalized in favor of people in pedestrian plazas and on walkable streets.  Ever since the era of Robert Moses in the 1930’s we’ve been habituated to the belief that cars should own streets, roads, and highways.  But the tide is turning. Asbury Park gets it. #streetsforpeople #toomanycars #VISIONZERO

By Aug. 8, 2019

Major Traffic Experiment in N.Y.C.: Cars All but Banned on Major Street

The city takes its crackdown on cars to 14th Street, a crosstown route for 21,000 vehicles a day, which will be virtually off limits.

Read more…

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/08/nyregion/14th-street-busway.html

APCSC: A Safe And Healthy 2019 #SlowTheCars

Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition wishes everyone a safe and healthy 2019. Enjoy this collection of articles about what’s happening to make streets safe for people in cities all over the US and the world.

APCSC supports Strong Towns and has also adopted #SLOWTHECARS. We couldn’t have said it better:  Why Slow the Cars?

Strong Towns advocates for financial solvency and productive land use in American cities. Places that are built for people, using traditional development patterns, can help us achieve both of those goals. On the other hand, neighborhood streets with wide lanes, huge clearance zones and other dangerous design features cause thousands of pedestrian and car passenger deaths every year. Dangerous roads do not make productive use of our land or our lives. Furthermore, they depress investment in our cities by making our neighborhoods less pleasant places to be.

People are the indicator species of success. We know that pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods are more economically productive, healthier and safer.  We need to build places where people want to be.

THE BEST OF STRONG TOWNS 2018

Read more…

https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2018/12/7/why-we-need-to-talk-about-car-aggression

What is Tactical Urbanism? An International Movement

“Cities around the world are using flexible and short-term projects to advance long-term goals related to street safety, public space, and more.”

APCSC and other Complete Streets advocates believe that streets are for people. We know that even with best intentions cities sometimes miss opportunities, or are financially challenged to effect changes away from car-centric streets.  We can get creative to make streets into places for people: for health, for social well-being, for the environment, and for economic benefit.

Tactical Urbanism is all about action. Also known as DIY Urbanism, Planning-by-Doing, Urban Acupuncture, or Urban Prototyping, this approach refers to a city, organizational, and/or citizen-led approach to neighborhood building using short-term, low-cost, and scalable interventions to catalyze long-term change.

Learn about it:

http://tacticalurbanismguide.com/

Jaywalking Was Invented To Make Way For Cars

Streets were once considered public spaces, places for people, but have become dominated by cars, and streets designed for speedy traffic flow.  Now people are marginalized, called “pedestrians” and those walking outside of painted lines are demonized as “jaywalkers”, and blamed if they are injured or killed.

THE WEAPONIZATION OF JAYWALKING

by 

“Before the advent of the automobile, users of city streets were diverse and included children at play and pedestrians at large. By 1930, most streets were primarily motor thoroughfares where children did not belong and where pedestrians were condemned as ‘jaywalkers’.”

Read more…

https://m.connectsavannah.com/savannah/the-weaponization-of-jaywalking/Content?oid=9075499