As we reach the halfway point of the Waterfront South health impact and livability assessment, it is a good idea to consider what we have accomplished so far and plan for the upcoming months.
On May 15 and 16, over twenty-five neighborhood residents, non-profit organizations, and institutional and community leaders analyzed local amenities, such as parks, schools, community gardens and sidewalks, and looked for ways connections between these amenities could be improved.
While some areas of Waterfront South had well maintained parks and community gardens and wide sidewalks that were in good condition, assessment participants noted a number of impediments to walking and bicycling throughout the neighborhood, including:
- High levels of truck traffic on local roads,
- A lack of bicycle lanes,
- The need for more crosswalks, median islands and pedestrian signals,
- Broken or cracked sidewalks with a high number of curb cuts that are not marked for those with visual impairments.
To move towards the goal of creating transportation improvements in Waterfront South that will promote healthy and active lifestyles, Tri-State Transportation Campaign is working with local partners to complete a toolkit that will incorporate feedback from local residents and provide recommendations for connecting local parks and open spaces with safer streets. The toolkit will demonstrate how changes such as better sidewalks, bicycle lanes and safer crosswalks would allow a greater number of area residents to walk or ride bicycles as a primary mode of transportation or for leisure purposes more safely.
In mid-July, we will be working with New Jersey Conversation Foundation, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership and the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids (along with countless other assessment participants) to hold the first of a number of follow-up meetings to discuss the toolkit and to create an action plan for working towards implementation of assessment recommendations. These sessions will focus on working with agency, government and business partners to seek planning and funding opportunities that advance the goal of improving conditions for walking and biking in and around Waterfront South.