The Bloomfield Avenue Corridor in Verona, Montclair, Glen Ridge and Bloomfield needs to go on a diet in order to be safer. This is based on one of the recommendations of a recent study from the New Jersey Health Impact Collaborative (NJHIC) in partnership with Together North Jersey. both run out of the Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University.
Together North Jersey’s study was a general overview of infrastructure and engineering, while the NJHIC study was more of a look at the impact of health (both physical and mental), safety and economic stability based on the current Bloomfield Corridor issues.
Bloomfield Avenue is “kind of a broken road for transportation,” says VTC Senior Researcher Leigh Ann Von Hagen, who participated in the study. Both Together North Jersey and NJHIC heard from a lot of residents that they were afraid to drive, bike or walk along Bloomfield Avenue.
The report recommends among other ideas, what is known as a “road diet:” the narrowing of the travel lanes on a street to encourage vehicles to slow down, or the reserving of one lane exclusively for mass transit, bicyclists and users other than private vehicles. “Because you’ve got the two lanes going in each direction, you’ve got drivers who weave a lot,” she said of Bloomfield Avenue’s current four-lane layout.
Von Hagen said that there were studies that indicated that a road diet, when applied to certain streets, reduced accidents and motor vehicle crashes by about 19 percent.
When asked if different parts of the street in different towns would need their own specific types of road diets, Von Hagen concurred, “It really does have to do with the land uses.” The study noted that Montclair and Bloomfield’s sections of Bloomfield Avenue are busier than the sections going through Glen Ridge and Verona; Montclair’s section, for example, is home to a lot of shops, eateries and museums, while Glen Ridge’s is mostly residential and municipal. But that aside, Von Hagen says there really weren’t a lot of town-by-town differences.
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