In their last meeting of 2012, the Chatham Township Committee discussed possibly forming a subcommittee to discuss bringing Complete Streets to the township.
Committee Member Kathy Abbott proposed to the committee that they consider a Complete Streets resolution to add a plan for "complete streets" to the Master Plan.
Complete Streets, Abbott said, "does not mean putting a sidewalk on every street." Rather, it would create specific plans for certain streets or parts of town. Some ideas Abbott had were:
- a through street from Green Village Road around the back of the Chatham Mall
- bicycle parking at major shopping centers, such as Hickory Square Shopping Center and the Chatham Mall
- marked bike paths in popular cycling routes in town, where possible
The plan could also include exemptions for other streets in town, such as those with insufficient street widths or which do not see enough traffic to warrant attention.
Abbott used presentation materials on Complete Streets to the committee using material from the state Department of Transportation. A PDF is attached to this article.
The presentation included simulations of what a "complete street" might look like in urban, suburban and rural settings. In the most drastic cases in the presentation, a "complete street" make-over included new lighting fixtures, painting in bike lanes and wider pedestrian crossings, narrowing car lanes, constructing islands in the roadway to separate oncoming lanes and planting trees and bushes along the side of the road. In other cases, it could be as simple as a street sign reading "Share the road."
Abbott also said there were points to be gained through Sustainable Jersey by having a Complete Streets policy under the township's Master Plan. The policy, she said, could be tailored specifically to what would work in Chatham Township and what goals the committee and residents wants to reach.
Ideally, Abbott said, the subcommittee should be under the Planning Board since they update the Master Plan. The subcommittee, she said, should include membership from Safe Routes to School and Open Space committees, the engineer and a Complete Streets expert from the state named Charles Brown, whom Abbott said "is willing to work with us."
Mayor Nicole Hagner said she supported letting the Planning Board form a subcommittee for Complete Streets, but stopped short of issuing any directions for them to include other committees or voices.
The committee did not vote on a formal resolution, but may take action when they reconvene in 2013.