One of the most powerful aspects of the Shaping NJ program is that it brings various organizations and volunteers together to create change that is bigger than any one group could produce alone. Throughout the duration of the “Walking Towards the Green” health impact and livability assessment in Camden’s Waterfront South neighborhood, our partnerships have continued to blossom, aiding in the implementation of this grant and spurring future collaborations.
We had the pleasure of interviewing one of our original project partners, New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s (NJCF) Olivia Glenn, who was able to expand on the assessment’s successes and to offer future strategies for continuing to enhance access to walking and biking routes in Waterfront South. Below are Olivia’s responses to our interview questions.
What do you see as the primary role of NJCF in the Shaping NJ Waterfront South Assessment? New Jersey Conservation Foundation takes great pride in preserving land statewide for the benefit of all. We know that there are clear health benefits in access and utilization of preserved lands and health outcomes. It was our great pleasure to participate in this assessment to work with Waterfront South neighborhood residents in safely accessing their locally preserved lands to prospectively improve their health outcomes.
In your opinion, what are the most essential follow-up steps to the walking assessment? I think it is imperative that we do all we can to ensure that the street corridors are safe. This can be achieved through enhancing ongoing efforts to reroute truck traffic outside of residential neighborhoods and improving major crosswalks with pedestrian friendly features. Examples include painting crosswalks, installing planters and improving lighting for residents.
What most surprised you about the assessment process, or what was the most interesting thing you discovered? Many of the items we discussed for improvements are “low hanging fruit.” By continuing to work together and bring in additional partners, many improvements can be installed in short order.
Going forward, who needs to be informed about the assessment results and how can additional outside partners help move us towards implementation of study recommendations? We should bring in additional transportation professionals to properly install proposed safety features on the roadways.
We are lucky to be able to work with such a strong and passionate group of local residents, non-profit groups and agency officials. Feedback from Olivia Glenn and all project partners will certainly aid in our efforts going forward to make Waterfront South a safer and more convenient place to walk, bicycle and incorporate exercise into people’s daily lives.