Safe STREETS to Transit
Walk, Don’t Drive to the Berkeley Heights
As you may be aware, the Township was awarded a significant grant from New Jersey’s Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Safe Streets to Transit Program. This grant is allowing the Township to expand the sidewalk network to run the length of Plainfield Avenue, between Mountain and Park avenues, in front of Columbia Middle School (CMS). The Township is so thankful to receive this prestigious award.
This sidewalk improvement project addresses existing gaps in the pedestrian network in this area. The goal is to safely connect different neighborhoods to the downtown, schools and train station. To that end, here’s what will happen in this area to make the sidewalks safer for students, commuters and the general public, beginning in June when school lets out:
- A degrading asphalt path on the west side of Plainfield Avenue will be replaced with a new concrete sidewalk.
- Some trees that are ruining the sidewalk and causing safety concerns will be removed.
- Existing crosswalks will be repaired and properly aligned to connect the appropriate sidewalks.
- We will install new concrete sidewalk on the east side of Plainfield Avenue (between Roosevelt Avenue and Hamilton Avenue).
- We will install new concrete sidewalk on the west side of Plainfield Avenue (full length of the project limits), creating new and repairing existing crosswalks.
Over the years, the Township has made investments in pedestrian safety around our schools, such as traffic calming devices, pedestrian walking signs, flashing pedestrian signs and stop signs. CMS, Mountain Park, Hughes and Woodruff schools all received Gold Status from NJ’s Safe Routes to School Program, which encourages safe routes for kids to walk, bike or use other wheeled devices to get to school. This project is the next investment in such safety improvements.
The Township would be happy to replace trees for those residents interested in a replanting. All trees are at least 7-8 feet tall at planting; they are not saplings. If you are one of the residents getting a tree removed in front or side of your property that is in the Township right of way, and would like a tree replanted on your property, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the number of trees you would like replaced.
The project entails installing 1,510 L.F. of sidewalk on the east side of Plainfield Avenue, 5,200 L.F. of sidewalk on the west side of Plainfield Avenue, and 1,205 L.F. of sidewalk along the north side of Roosevelt Avenue. The Township would also be creating new and repairing existing crosswalks along these routes. The Township’s goal is to increase the number of people walking instead of driving to the train station which is located downtown. There is currently a sidewalk network north of the train station, along Sherman, and Springfield Avenues which will connect upcoming redevelopment projects; however, there is very little connectivity to the south of the train station.
Berkeley Heights is undertaking multiple redevelopment projects, almost all of which include new sidewalks. Further, the Township has actively required that when properties make improvements, they also address the streetscape in front of their property in order to contribute to the walkability of its downtown. The attached map labels upcoming and completed streetscape improvements by private entities.
The Township is also making contributions of its own to increasing the walkability of the area surrounding the train station and downtown. Adjacent to the Train Station is the Township’s municipal building, which includes a new library and community center in addition to Township services. The project includes new sidewalks along Park Avenue. The Township has also installed new sidewalks along the frontage of Peppertown Park on Sherman Avenue.
Around Schools, Specifically...
The Township has also made investments in pedestrian safety around the areas of its schools in the form of traffic calming devices in order to slow traffic and draw attention to pedestrians. The Township installed pedestrian walking signs in the summer of 2015, then installed flashing pedestrian signs and stop signs in July of 2016. In Spring 2018, the Township also installed bollards/deliniators. Crossing guard posts which contain bollards/deliniators and stop for pedestrians in crosswalk signs are as follows:
- Mountain Avenue & Sherbrook Drive -Park Avenue & Brook Street
- Park Avenue & Forest Avenue
- Plainfield Avenue & Roosevelt Avenue
- Plainfield Avenue & Hamilton Avenue
- Snyder Avenue & Hamilton Avenue