Planning board adopts bicycle and pedestrian master plan

A dense, 70-page plan nearly three years in the making was adopted by the planning board at the Feb. 19 meeting to allow for major enhancements to roadways in Cherry Hill.

The bicycle and pedestrian master plan promotes and enhances safety for residents along major roads, including Kresson Road, Lorissa Luciani, the township’s senior planner, said.

It also allows for the creation and installation of passageways for modes of transportation other than cars.

Grassroots efforts through the “Way to Go” committee brought the idea to fruition, she said.

“They approached the Department of Community Development to see if there were ways to enhance the safety and connectivity,” she said.

Baker Associates based in Princeton developed the plan and it has been funded through the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

“The plan is not static,” Luciani said. “It’s going to be ever-evolving.”

The local plan is part of a national initiative, she said.

Town council did not need to adopt the plan separately. The planning board’s adoption incorporated it as part of master planning, she said.

“We actually already have installed one recommendation of the plan,” she said.

A bike lane along Kings Highway, which was low in cost and done in conjunction with Camden County’s public works department, was created from south of Route 70 to the Haddonfield border.

As the plan moves forward, there will be discussions with property owners in regards to potential sidewalk developments, she said.

While there are many positives to the plan, there are also barriers, Luciani said.

With more bike paths and sidewalks in the township, more active behaviors will be fostered to encourage healthy lifestyles, she said.

In Cherry Hill, there are many areas of high traffic volumes and speeds, plus wide streets and intersections. A lack of sidewalks, too much congestion and a lack of visibility of pedestrians at intersections are all hindrances.

There are also an excessive number of curb cuts along roads, she said.

The goal is to bring together major destinations.

In particular, sidewalks are prioritized along Kresson Road.

“Where are the gaps? How can we fill those gaps?” Luciani said.

The majority of plan implementation will be done by budgetary capital improvement projects through the township, county and state.

Now, Cherry Hill will be in a better position for funding from the state, she said.

Improvements cyclists will see include dedicated bike lanes, paved shoulders, bike paths and shared lane markings.

Fifteen miles of new sidewalk are in priority locations in the plan, along with 35 miles of new bike paths along 22 roadways.

Through the adoption of a complete streets policy, the planning department will be able to delve into road issues deeper.

“It has been a long time in the making,” said resident John Berg, who is involved with the “Way to Go” committee.

View the full document, complete with several maps and analyses of specific intersections, at http://www.cherryhill-nj.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/842 or view it in the planning office, 820 Mercer St., Cherry Hill.