Open Letter to Jersey City Mayor Fulop: Implement Approved Bike Lanes!

Posted on 07/22/2013

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Some day, maybe soon, bike lanes will come to this block of Coles Street. Mayor Fulop - please make this happen soon!

Some day, maybe soon, bike lanes will come to this block of Coles Street. Mayor Fulop – please make this happen soon!

Below is a letter I recently mailed to Jersey City’s new Mayor Steven Fulop.

I am glad to see new leadership in Jersey City. I expect that Fulop, whom I voted for, will be a lot better than his predecessor, whose administration was most notable for corruption charges. Fulop, according to his own website, is at least a recreational bicyclist, competing in triathlons, but it’s not clear how much of a champion he will be for livable multi-modal streets.

In December 2012, Fulop’s predecessor announced a bike facility program for Jersey City, including about 50 miles of on-street bike facilities. NJ.com published this article about it. Bikas editorialized about it briefly here. The approved facility plan is not ambitious, but I think it’s certainly a step in the right direction for Jersey City, which, right now, has only one 5-block long bike lane. I’ve posted the full plan, called the “Report of the Jersey City Bike Infrastructure Working Group,”here.

In December, Jersey City committed to implementing about 4 miles of on-street bike facilities, starting in June 2013 – coinciding with already-scheduled street re-surfacing. This is a good strategy, because it’s basically nearly free to put new striping and markings down during resurfacing. Jersey City also planned to seek additional funding from the state to implement the other 50 miles in the approved plan.

Well, June 2013 came and went, and I haven’t seen any new bike facilities as I bike around JC, so I figured it would be good to write a letter to the new mayor to see if he can get these bike lanes implemented.

One of my fears is that, with the transition, all previously announced initiatives are thrown into question. I personally expect that Fulop will want to be more bike-friendly than his predecessor… and will, hopefully, want to go further than what was in the 2012 approved plan. I hope that Fulop can see the worth in getting some of these low-hanging-fruit facilities implemented now, while his, hopefully-bigger-better-safer, livable streets initiatives take shape. There’s no need to put these non-ambitious projects on hold, while intending to go further someday soon.

Here’s my letter, mailed July 22nd 2013:

Honorable Mayor Steven Fulop
City of Jersey City
280 Grove Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302

Dear Mayor Fulop:

Congratulations on your election as Mayor of Jersey City. I am looking forward to seeing how your leadership can make Jersey City a healthier place, with a better quality of life for all its residents.

I wanted to bring to your attention a project that I and many other Jersey City residents are eager to see implemented: making Jersey City safer for bicycling. Incidentally, making streets safer for bicycling has been shown to make them safer for all road users: including pedestrians, drivers and passengers. Bicycling is great for improving health, enhancing the environment, spurring the economy, and for improving the quality of life for a diverse range of Jersey City residents.

In December 2012, your predecessor announced an adequate bicycle facility program for Jersey City, including nearly 55 miles of bike lanes and bike routes on Jersey City streets. Roughly 4 miles of bike lanes were due to be implemented during street resurfacing, announced to start in June 2013, with additional mileage pending the city seeking state funding. The 2012 Jersey City bike facility plan was neither controversial nor ambitious. It does not remove any car lanes nor any parking spaces. It works to re-allocate space on existing overly-wide streets.

While I hope that your administration’s safety goals will go further than what was previously¬† announced, I urge you to make sure that bike facilities already announced and scheduled continue to be implemented without delay. It’s late July, and new bike lanes were due to be implemented beginning in June. Though I haven’t personally ridden all the streets planned for bike lanes this summer, I’ve yet to come across any new bike lanes in Jersey City, other than the initial five blocks on Grove Street.

Bike facilities due to be implemented beginning in June 2013 include 2.1 miles of bike lanes and 1.5 miles of sharrow-ed bike routes :
Fulton (from Garfield to Ocean – 0.2-mile one-way bike lane)
Fulton (from MLK to Bergen – 0.1-mile one-way bike lane)
Woodlawn (from West Side to Kennedy – 0.4-mile one-way bike lane)
Hoboken (from Central to Oakland – 0.1-mile one-way bike lane)
Coles (from 2nd to 7th – 0.2-mile one-way bike lane)
Manila (from CC Drive to 6th – 0.4-mile one-way bike lane)
Bowers (from Ogden to Kennedy – 0.7-mile one-way bike lane)
Old Bergen Road (from MacAdoo to Merritt – 0.9-mile two-way sharrow bike route)
Bergen (from Communipaw to Montgomery – 0.6-mile two-way sharrow bike route)

(These facilities are listed in the December 6, 2012 Jersey City press release.)

While it’s possible that these new bike facilities are on the way and merely delayed as happens to many projects public and private, I fear that that this important initiative could fall between the cracks in the transition between administrations. I encourage you to make sure that this already-approved initiative remains on track. If the city cannot keep these relatively-simple uncontroversial bike projects on-track, it doesn’t bode well for continuing to do more ambitious livability projects in the future.

Please do all you can to make Jersey City streets safer for everyone. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

Joe Linton
[undisclosed location on] 7th Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302
linton.joe@gmail.com

I encourage all my Jersey City readers to write similar letters to Mayor Fulop and respectfully urge him to make Jersey City streets safer.