Bergen County Resolution establishing and adopting a “Complete Streets” Policy, updated from 2012
WHEREAS, a Complete Street is defined as a means to provide safe access for all users by designing and operating a comprehensive, integrated, connected multi-modal network of transportation options; and
WHEREAS, the benefit of having and implementing a Complete Streets Policy include:
- Ensuring roads are inclusive of all users; pedestrians, bicyclists, children, older citizens, non-drivers and the mobility-challenged, as well as those that cannot afford a car or choose to live car free; and
- Working towards “Vision Zero;” the goal of eliminating all traffic fatalities and severe injuries by taking a proactive, preventative approach that prioritizes traffic safety for all users; and
- Providing bicycling and walking connections to “Trip Generators;” destinations such as employment, education, residential, recreation, retail centers and public facilities, thereby creating more livable communities; and
- Helping residents to shop locally without use of a car and supporting the growth of bicycle tourism which further increase revenues to local businesses; and
- Bringing more transportation options to communities historically underserved by the transportation system and reducing travel costs as a percentage of household income; thus promoting transportation equity; and
- Enhancing access to County Parks, thereby increasing resident opportunities for exercise and recreation and increasing opportunities for exercise, thereby reducing healthcare costs
- Creating new cycling routes by aggregating existing on-road bike lanes, separated bike paths, low-intensity residential streets and industrial areas that get little traffic on weekends, thereby reducing the density on existing linear paths and lowering the potential for conflict between classes of users; and
- Facilitating first-and-last-mile access to mass transit, thereby increasing transit use , reducing vehicle miles traveled, and helping the region achieve greenhouse gas reduction targets; and
- Mitigating the impacts of transport outages resulting from construction, crashes, weather events, labor action and health crises; thus increasing redundancy in the transportation system; and
- Enhancing residents’ home values by increasing proximity to these valued amenities, thereby broadening the County’s tax base; and
- Reducing construction costs by incorporating sidewalks, bike lanes, safe crossings and transit amenities into the initial design of a roadway project, thus sparing the expense of retrofits later; and
- Increasing County eligibility for categories of State, regional and Federal funding designated to enhance tourism, public health, transportation equity, resilience, sustainability.
WHEREAS the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders, as well as 50 Bergen municipalities as well as the County Executive have broadly expressed support for cycling by calling for expanded bike access across the George Washington Bridge; and
WHEREAS 18 Bergen municipalities, as well as adjoining Counties of Hudson, Essex and Passaic, have each passed their own Complete Streets Resolutions; and
WHEREAS municipalities around the world are investing billions of dollars per year in cycling infrastructure and have made cycling an integral component of their transportation systems; and
WHEREAS the U.S. Department of Transportation counsels States and municipalities to accord biking and walking equal status to other modes of travel and to allocate as much as 20% of the total budget on major road and bridge projects towards bicycle-pedestrian improvements; and
WHEREAS, the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders wishes to implement a Complete Streets policy though the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of new and retrofit transportation facilities, enabling safe access and mobility of pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users of all ages and abilities; and
WHEREAS, it is the intent of the Board of Chosen Freeholders that Bergen County’s Complete Streets policy shall include all road, bridge, and building projects funded through Bergen County’s Capital Program and regional, State, and Federal transportation funds
NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders adopts the attached Complete Streets Policy.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a certified copy of this Resolution shall be sent to all departments, divisions, and agencies having a responsibility for or connection with projects covered by the Bergen County Complete Streets Policy.
Purpose and Definition
It is the policy of the County of Bergen to accommodate all users on its roadways and in its rights-of-way. The implementation of this policy, over time, will ensure that the public rights-of-way of County maintained roads and bridges become Complete Streets.
Complete Streets are defined as roads that safely accommodate all users along and across them, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities, as well as motorists and motor vehicles.
Complete Streets provide safe access for all users as part of a comprehensive, integrated, and connected multi-modal network of transportation options. They facilitate safe and appropriate connections to bicycle and walking trip generators, including but not limited to employment, education, residential, recreational and public facilities, as well as retail stores and transit stops and stations.
All agencies, departments, and employees of the County of Bergen, as well as all contractors and consultants employed by the County of Bergen, shall adhere to this policy in all planning, design, review, approval, and implementation processes for any construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, restriping, or retrofit of streets, bridges, or other portions of the County right-of-way, including traffic control devices.
This policy shall also apply where a municipality, or any other agency, is responsible for any of the above named activities in the rights-of-way of County maintained roads and bridges.
Projects shall be designed and constructed as Complete Streets in order to accommodate travel by pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and motorized vehicles and their passengers, with special priority given to their safety.
Designs shall address the need for bicyclists and pedestrians to cross corridors, as well as travel along them, in a safe, accessible, and convenient manner; therefore, the design of all roads, intersections, and bridges and other portions of the public right-of-way of County maintained roads shall anticipate use by bicyclists and pedestrians.
This policy requires that any and all bicycle and pedestrian facilities be designed and constructed to the best currently available standards and practices including the New Jersey Roadway Design Manual, the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, the AASHTO Guide for the Planning, Design and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities, the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide, the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Title VII Environmental Justice Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and others as related.
All planned improvements shall anticipate growth in use of walking and bicycling as a mode of travel. No design or construction in the public rights-of-way of County maintained roads shall preclude the provision of future improvements to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians.
Any exemptions to this Complete Streets policy must fall into the following categories and be documented in writing, to the County Engineer, Director of Planning & Engineering, and Division Director for Planning with supporting data that indicates the rationale for the decision.
This Complete Streets policy shall not apply to projects and activities where:
1. Non-motorized users are otherwise prohibited on the roadway.
2. Regular and routine maintenance such as snow removal, street sweeping, filling of potholes, and other minor repairs is performed.
3. Significant detrimental environmental or social impacts exist, or the safety of the traveling public may be compromised by such accommodations.
4. Cost of accommodations is excessively disproportionate to cost of project, or more than twenty percent (20%) of the total cost, as determined by engineering estimates.
Considerations to be taken into account when determining the appropriateness and feasibility of applying Complete Streets elements shall include, but not be limited to the following:
• Roadway function, width, lane arrangement, curvature, and grade
• Traffic volumes, speeds, and the behavior of bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists
• Right-of-way availability, ownership, and jurisdiction
• Abutting land uses and nearby trip generators, attractions, and destinations
• Safety, environmental, and community impacts and costs
Further, the County of Bergen shall refer to and incorporate this Complete Streets policy in the Site Plan and Subdivision Regulations and Review Process, and in all subsequent planning efforts conducted by the Department of Planning & Engineering.
Compiled by Neile Weissman, 2020