Safe Streets and Road for All grants worth $817 million were given out by the U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday. Of these, $6.71 million was given to 22 cities and towns in New Jersey for projects and plans that could lead to projects that reduce deaths of pedestrians and cyclists.
With $1.04 million, Jersey City got the most money, followed by Newark with $800,000. The $2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure act signed into law in November 2021 paid for this second round of Safer Streets and Road funds.
Deputy U.S. Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg told the reporters on Wednesday, “This is our third round, and when you add them all up, they will give $1.7 billion to more than 1,000 communities across the country.” “In American history, it is one of the biggest investments made to improve road safety in the area.”
She said the U.S. DOT got 824 requests for grants worth a total of $2.7 billion. There were grants given to 385 towns and cities. Local governments share the funds with 20%.
“We’ll back projects and plans that come from people in the area telling us what works best for them,” Trottenberg said. “There is no one answer that works for everyone.” People who live and work in the area often have the most unique ideas; we in Washington don’t tell them what to do.
State Police data show that so far this year, 156 pedestrians and 21 cyclists have been killed in accidents in New Jersey. 183 people on foot and 16 people riding bikes were killed on state roads that year.
As part of the proposed projects, Vision Zero plans to cut down on traffic deaths could start in Red Bank, Edison, and South Orange. While others would look into safety issues and try to find answers as “demonstration programs,” they might test bike lanes, traffic-calming measures, and other types of infrastructure. It would be recorded how they cut down on accidents and deaths.
Jersey City is going to use its grant for several different projects, one of which is testing new bike safety features on Ocean Avenue. Several things will be looked at, such as lowering speeds, lighting streets and roads, maintaining sidewalks, controlling curb space and loading zones, and analyzing traffic signals, as stated in the application. The city will also test new ways to gather safety information.
With the grant, Newark will try out several safety and traffic-calming projects. These will include putting in temporary bike lanes, medians that pedestrians can use as an “area of refuge” when crossing wide or busy streets, and pedestrian crossing beacons that let drivers know when a pedestrian is crossing in a place with low visibility or a lot of traffic. Newark will also use the fund to combine several safety plans into a single, city-wide plan.
There has already been work done in the state to lower the number of accidents and deaths, which Trottenberg praised.
“I’d like to recognize Hoboken as a community that has had no traffic deaths in a while,” Trottenberg said. “This shows that a lot of good safety work is being done at the local level in New Jersey.” “I am sure that a lot of creative ideas will be shared.”
Many of the funds will be used to help 13 New Jersey cities and towns make new safety and action plans. Five more cities and towns will make plans and do a demonstration study.
She said that towns and cities will use the information to figure out what they need to do to make roads better. Trottenberg said, “We want to make sure you look at where the needs are.” “There could be deaths of cyclists and pedestrians. Then look at the design changes that make the most sense.” They need to work well and be put into place quickly.