NJDEP and NJDOT encourage public participation in upcoming bicycle trails plan
(Trenton) – Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson and Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Commissioner Kris Kolluri today encouraged residents to share their ideas about the future of New Jersey’s network of recreational trails by participating in several forums being held this month and in October.
"Whether they are hiking, biking, watching wildlife or enjoying scenic landscapes, the public values the quality recreational opportunities that New Jersey’s trails offer year round,” Commissioner Jackson said. “We invite residents to share their views and help us shape a comprehensive plan for New Jersey’s trails over the next 20 years.”
“Although investment in mass transit and roadway improvements is critical to improving New Jersey’s transportation system, we also must provide attractive recreation options and alternatives to increased use of our congested roadways,” said Commissioner Kolluri. “Bicycle trails are an integral part of our transportation network. Enhancing bicycle trails reduces congestion, improves safety and preserves air quality and the quality of life.”
Bicycle safety is a key component of the State of New Jersey’s transportation investment strategy. Approximately $20 million of NJDOT’s Fiscal Year 2007 Capital Program is dedicated to bicycle and pedestrian transportation enhancements. Separating bicycle and vehicular traffic through bicycle trails and paths improves safety and encourages the use of alternate means of transportation.
The public can learn about the New Jersey Trails Plan, last revised in 1996, and participate in updating the plan by sharing their perspectives at the following open houses:
• Tuesday, Sept. 12, 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Canale Training Center in Egg Harbor Township
• Tuesday, Sept. 19, 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morristown
• Tuesday, Sept. 26, 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Ellarslie Museum in Trenton
The updated New Jersey Trails Plan will address key issues related to trails development and the State Trails System, establish a vision for New Jersey’s trails, and recommend strategies for maintaining a comprehensive trails program that offers new and current trail users an adequate supply and variety of recreational opportunities.
In October, workshops will be offered for trail advocates, developers, managers and policy-makers to share their ideas and experiences with New Jersey trails.
Trail users also can complete an online survey, available at www.njtrailsplan.org, which aims to gauge public opinion on trail use patterns, issues, deficiencies and priorities.
Visit www.njtrailsplan.org for dates, times and locations.
Funded by the Federal Highway Administration, the update is a joint effort between DEP and DOT, and is being facilitated by The RBA Group of Morristown. A Trails Plan Advisory Committee has convened to guide the planning process with representatives from state, county and local government, as well as non-profit recreation and conservation organizations.
For more information on the New Jersey trails planning process and opportunities for public participation, visit the Web site or contact Annette Schultz at The RBA Group at (973) 898-0300.