2011: A Breakthrough Year for Active Transport

Posted on by Dodge

This is the final installment in this guest series from our friends at the East Coast Greenway Alliance. In case you missed the first two, you can see them here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).

3976 NCMA start (c) JMarkatos

A recent ride along the greenway further South brought together almost 200 participants. ECGA plans to attract even more in New Jersey this coming year (photo by Jerry Markatos)

Dennis Markatos-Soriano
Executive Director

Even after the outstanding recent progress of our greenway through New Jersey, a great deal of work lies ahead. We need to make bicycling and walking universally safe and accessible throughout the Garden State so that they move from the margins of our transportation system to center stage. For the health of our economy, our people and our environment, we aim to make 2011 a breakthrough year for active transport in New Jersey.

A recent study comparing the 50 states placed New Jersey as tied with California for second behind New York in terms of active transport mode share. But as the most densely populated state, our potential is much greater than the ~12% share of all trips done by bicycle and on foot. The population density of the Garden State is highest in the country at more than 1,100 people per square mile. This density is even higher than the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark who all have active mode shares above 30%.

Therefore, using our density as a guide for active transport potential, we can triple the number of trips by bicycle and on foot. The key obstacle to such progress is a current lack of safe continuous corridors. The East Coast Greenway Alliance will help change that in 2011 and beyond.

Soon, the majority of our New Jersey route will be off-road, separated from traffic. And for the rest, as Mike Oliva mentioned last week, we plan to integrate more sidewalks, bike lanes, and sharrows (arrows with bicyclist symbols that encourage drivers to share the road) for safety and accessibility.

ECG Big 50 Mile Walk-May 2010 004

Some of the walkers enjoying last May’s Big Walk from Iselin to New York City. Many group walks are in store for 2011

Then our focus can go fully to public outreach so that the millions of people living within the East Coast Greenway corridor of New Jersey know about this resource in their backyard. Once our route is fully complete with signage from the Delaware River to the Hudson River (within a matter of months), we plan extensive media outreach. We want to ensure everyone knows about this route that can help them lower their transportation costs, increase their fitness, and help foster a healthy local and global environment.

Working with our many partners throughout New Jersey, we can make 2011 a breakthrough year for the state to assert its active transportation leadership on the national stage. Let’s take this opportunity to forge even more partnerships and achieve our common goals in the New Year!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our friends, partners and colleagues. We are grateful every day for your contributions toward a society more humane and a world more livable.

The staff of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

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2 Responses to 2011: A Breakthrough Year for Active Transport

  1. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday I am reminded that The ECG is like the I-95 of shared use paths. The drive to DC along I-95, reminds me of all the more local trips that my family takes along a shorter section of the NJ Turnpike. This is just like the local trips taken along the ECG.

    This fall the NJ Department of Transportation built a few short sections of sidewalk along Truck Route 1&9 in Kearny. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is HUGE! The ECG current travel route can be moved off the PATH train to a sidewalk that connects Newark and Jersey City – two of NJ’s larges cities. Encouragement from the folks at the ECG helped to prioritize this construction.

    Through consistent support from the ECG planners, engineers and other advocates we really are helping to make the world a better place. The ECG is for all trips – great and small. That is one of the many things I am thankful for this year.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Silvia says:

    The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance has handed out many copies of the East Coast Greenway’s New Jersey map, and people are always first amazed and then delighted at the idea of such a greenway. We’re delighted to help get the word out!

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